Carrera Cup stalwart Tim Harvey overcame six challenging laps around the toughest race circuit in the world to take victory in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB segment of the Porsche Carrera World Cup race. In a race that saw 98 Carrera Cup race cars take on the iconic circuit, Harvey was the standout performer of the GB drivers to take thirteenth overall, with three Porsche GB drivers getting into the top twenty overall.
Qualifying saw Red Line Racing's James Sutton take the GB pole in seventeenth overall with a time of 8mins 45.249s, with Euan Hankey and Michael Meadows his closest challengers. Hankey's weekend was to be over in the session though, with a huge accident seeing him hitting the barriers at around 165mph and rolling three times, damaging the car beyond repair for the race. Jonas Gelzinis and George Brewster set the pace in Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 respectively, while Richard Plant suffered gearbox problems, leaving him 98th and last on the grid for the race.
Rain began to fall not long before the start of the six lap, 85 mile race, leaving the track very wet and slippery for the drivers. The start saw the grid split into three groups, taking a rolling start at staggered intervals, meaning the race results were determined on elapsed time.
The opening lap delivered many accidents and drama as the field battled with conditions and from the GB contingent, it was Red Line Racing who lost out most, with pole-sitter Sutton, Benji Hetherington, Ahmad Al Harthy and Keith Webster all crashing out on the opening lap, as did Celtic Speed's Brewster, who got knocked off at the first corner.
Starting at the front of the second grid proved beneficial for Harvey and also Stephen Jelley, the duo racing clear to lead the GB runners, blessed with clearer track ahead of them, while those behind suffered with spray. Jelley led the opening couple of laps before Harvey made his move and raced clear to take the win and a sensational thirteenth overall.
Harvey commented: “That's the one you want to win. This was the big one and it is a wonderful feeling. It was about being safe on the first lap because I'd never driven a racing lap here in the wet. The car from Motorbase was easy to drive and once I got past Stephen I was able to pull away. It's been a fantastic event and one of the best race meetings I can remember.”
Jelley chased hard, but was soon being caught by the ultra-impressive Rory Butcher. The Celtic Speed driver passed Jelley on the final lap, but later received a thirty second time penalty for a yellow frag infringement, dropping him to fourth, though he still won the Pro-Am1 class, finishing twenty-fourth overall.
Butcher said: “I love the way the car is in the wet and I don't think I could have asked for much more. I love this track and I just enjoyed the whole thing.”
Joining Harvey and Jelley, who finished fifteenth overall, on the GB podium after an awesome drive was Carrera Cup rookie Sam Tordoff, who took twentieth overall for Team Parker Racing. Fifth and second in Pro-Am1 was Derek Pierce, who just finished in the top thirty, just ahead of the battling Meadows and Gelzinis, the duo struggling early on in the spray at the back of the first group.
Finishing eighth and 35th overall after a stunning drive was Plant, who earned the 'driver of the weekend' award, while Team Parker Racing took the 'team of the weekend' honours after all five of their cars made the finish, the last of which Alex Martin took ninth. Taking the Pro-Am2 win, his first ever, after the drive of his life was Parr Motorsport's Richard Denny.
Denny commented: “It was unbelievable; crazy and amazing. There was almost zero visibility at the start. That's the toughest race I've done by a long way!”
- Tim Harvey – Nationwide/Motorbase- 13th Overall
- Stephen Jelley – Parker with Juta – 15th Overall
- Sam Tordoff – Team Parker – 20th Overall
- Rory Butcher – Celtic Speed – 24th Overall
- Derek Pierce – Dextra by Parker – 29th Overall
- Michael Meadows – SAS/Redline – 31st Overall
- Jonas Gelzinis – Juta Racing – 32nd Overall
- Richard Plant – Team Parker – 35th Overall
- Alex Martin – Dextra by Parker – 43rd Overall
- Richard Denny – Parr Motorsport – 55th Overall
Retirements – James Sutton (Lap 1), Euan Hankey (DNS), Ahmad Al Harthy (Lap 1), Tommy Dreelan (Lap 4) , Benji Hetherington (Lap 1), Keith Webster (Lap 1), George Brewster (Lap 1)