Rick Parfitt Jr. hailed Team Parker Racing‘s ‘perfect’ race strategy, as the #31 Bentley pairing of Parfitt Jr. and Seb Morris powered to victory and the championship lead at Brands Hatch last weekend.
With a 12-point deficit heading into the penultimate round at the Kent circuit, a difficult qualifying in treacherous conditions saw Parfitt Jr. and Morris claim a mediocre fifth on the grid, whilst title rivals Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen charged to a dominant pole position.
Scorching, sun-soaked whether on Sunday however boosted Team Parker Racing’s chances of salvaging their title hopes.
Despite a difficult start, a determined Parfitt Jr. soon scythed through the front-runners, with an astute strategy call that saw the #31 Bentley’s performance come into its own late in the first stint proving pivotal.
“What I needed to do was try and keep with everyone,” Parfitt Jr. said.
“I had an atrocious start, but luckily I passed a couple of people and then you could see the grip going with the Lamborghinis, and they started to struggle on their tyres.
“Our tyres however started to come into their operating window, and from then on all I needed to do was apply the pressure. We know the strengths and weaknesses of our car, so we set it up with very low tyre pressures, meaning the grip would come later into my stint.
“We made a tactical call, the team’s been great at strategy and this time it was perfect. Our car’s really good on its tyres, and our strategy helped us win today, so as long as the drivers can deliver what the engineers and strategists want then that’s the perfect combination.”
A determined Parfitt Jr. stormed up to third in the early goings, before being faced with championship adversary Minshaw’s struggling Lamborghini. Lights ablaze, Parfitt Jr.’s fervent pressure saw Minshaw slip wide onto the grass through Graham Hill Bend, with the former taking full advantage by swooping ahead down the Cooper Straight.
Knowing aggressive overtakes around the narrow and tight confines of Brands’ GP circuit can have disastrous consequences, Parfitt Jr. outlined that forcing a mistake from Minshaw was his best chance of pulling off the crucial pass.
“You can’t be impetuous at this circuit, so you have to pressure people into mistakes by making them defend and take different lines, and eventually I knew a mistake would come.”
Despite surging into the season finale next month at Donington Park with a 12.5 point advantage in the standings, a 20-second success penalty after claiming Brands Hatch honours means Parfitt Jr. isn’t taking anything for granted with one race remaining.
“Yes we have a championship lead, it’s very nice, but we still have to take it race-by-race. It doesn’t mean anything since we’ll have a 20 second success penalty, so we’ll just have to go and do the best we can.”