Michael Meadows left Donington Park on Saturday night having taken a dominant victory in race number three of the Porsche Carrera Cup of Great Britain and extended his already large championship lead. After Sunday’s race, he left the circuit with a slashed series lead and one gravel covered Porsche.
In the Saturday race, life was relatively simple for the Samsung UHD TV Racing driver, converting pole position into a fantastic victory. “The car was well-balanced and I could ease away from people. I just let the tyres come in and didn’t need to lean on it,” said the delighted championship leader.
Behind though, it was action all the way. Karl Leonard made a good start from second on the gird and held the position into Redgate. The following lap though, Josh Webster decided he didn’t particularly fancy spending the entire twenty three lap duration of the race in the third position he occupied on the grid, lunging at Leonard. Unfortunately, the result was Redline Racing entry Webster exploring some of the lovely green grass of Donington Park and losing considerable ground.
Over the next twelve laps the youngster valiantly fought back to the rear bumper of the second position man but he couldn’t do anything to break the Irishman’s defence. A second position overall was more than enough to guarantee Team Parker Racing entry Leonard Pro-Am1 victory, class rivals Justin Sherwood and series new boy Rob Smith finishing seventh and eighth on the road respectively. “I needed to push a bit harder when he (Webster) came up. We are getting there,” commented a happy Leonard.
Victor Jimenez and Paul Rees both gained one position from their grid slots to finish fourth and fifth. They were greatly assisted by Max Coates, who had a somewhat tougher race than he wanted, a bad start necessitating a charge back up the field to sixth position.
Peter Kyle-Henney was Pro-Am2 victor, Parr Motorsport’s entry beating Team Parker Racing’s Steven Liquorish to the spoils, after the latter endured an off at the chicane whilst leading the class. “I would not have put money on that result after testing on Thursday!” exclaimed Kyle-Henney.
The story of race four of the Porsche Carrera Cup of Great Britain is a lot more convoluted and dramatic than that of race three. First championship leader Meadows found himself spearing across the front of the car of Leonard on the run down to Redgate after the rolling start. As the Samsung liveried car slithered off into gravel trap, Webster made a break in a bid to take his first victory in GT racing.
However as the race continued, the skies turned ever darker and increasingly heavy rain pelted the Derbyshire asphalt. On lap sixteen youngster Webster made what may well be recorded as the boldest and certainly one of the smartest decisions in Carrera Cup GB history, pitting for wet tyres. The rest of the field, including Meadows who had re-joined following his lap one date with the gravel, struggled around the circuit in the increasingly inclement conditions on slick tyres. Meanwhile, Webster was lapping up to 10 seconds a lap faster than his rivals.
With two laps remaining, Jimenez was powerless to stop the charging ex-GP3 racer from stealing back the lead and storming to his first Porsche victory. The Spaniard himself would finish second. “I was hoping they would not red flag the race and it worked out. I think I called it perfectly, but it was more luck than anything. I am so happy for me and the team,” added a clearly ecstatic Webster.
Leonard had occupied first position after Webster pitted but as the rain increased, the Team Parker Racing driver found himself in real strife, much like the rest of the field. Having lost the lead to Jimenez, Leonard then slipped behind the charging Webster.
Approaching the chicane on the final tour, coming under increasing pressure from Rees, Leonard made a costly error. Initially he lost the rear of the car as he entered the corner, narrowly missing the gravel trap. Unfortunately, to re-join the circuit he had to throw the car over the savage sausage curbs, taking the poor Porsche on to two wheels. Leonard completed the spectacular sequence of events by slipping side-ways in front of Rees and then spinning. One had to feel sorry for the Irishman who had held the position valiantly but he would have to be content with his second Pro-Am1 victory. “That was the hardest race I have ever done and we all made mistakes,” said a relieved Leonard.
Meadows recovered and gained valuable points by finishing sixth, one place behind guest star Coates who also suffered driving a slick shod Porsche on a soaking wet track. In Pro-Am2 it was roles reversed, Liquorish besting Kyle-Henney. “It was tough, but I harked back to my Mini days when they used to chuck me out on slicks when the track was damp,” added the victor.
The teams and drivers of the Porsche Carrera Cup of Great Britain will no doubt be glad of the two week gap now until they head out for races five and six of the series at the spectacularly fast Thruxton circuit in Hampshire. With Meadow’s championship gap slashed after Donington Park, it feels like the real drama this season will deliver is only just beginning to emerge.