Under sun-blessed Norfolk skies, Michael Caine and Tim Harvey shared the victories in rounds eleven and twelve of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Snetterton, near Norwich, on Sunday (8 August). In two action-packed encounters fought out between packed grids of identical examples of 420 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars , Ollie Jackson scooped a Pro-Am1 double, while Glenn McMenamin and Paul Mace shared Pro-Am2 success.
With eight races remaining, there is just 40 points between Harvey and Caine at the head of the Drivers’ Championship. Things are tighter still in the Teams’ title chase, with just a single point separating the leaders, Motorbase Performance, from Red Line Racing.
Starting from pole position, Caine (Newmarket) charged ahead from the start and was able to out-run title leader Harvey (Oxford) to score his second win of the season. Ollie Jackson (Attleborough) led Pro-Am1 until the final corner when an attack by Tony Gilham (Dartford) sent Jackson spinning. However, after the race a time penalty was applied to Gilham to reverse the finishing order and put Jackson back to the top of Pro-Am1. In some great battling down the field, Glenn McMenamin (Milton Keynes) emerged to win Pro-Am2 from Paul Mace (High Wycombe) and George Richardson (Alderley Edge).
“I got a cracking start,” said Caine. “I’ve not always started well this season, but I did today when it counted! The car was superb.”
“I owed it to everyone to start the second half of the season with a win,” he added, after steadily easing away from Harvey to score an emphatic victory.
Harvey always chased, but accepted that Caine had the better pace. “We set the car up so that its tyres would be at their optimum a bit later in the race and I pushed to get the point for fastest lap,” said Harvey , who narrowed the gap to Caine mid-race. “Michael was very quick, so second place with fastest lap is only a one-point loss in championship terms.”
A strong third throughout was Stephen Jelley (Leicester) and in the middle of the race he was able to match the pace of Caine and Harvey. “Then I flat-spotted a front tyre under braking going into the Esses and had to settle for third,” said Jelley. Glynn Geddie (Aberdeen) ran a strong but solitary fourth as Euan Hankey (Taunton) fended off Charles Bateman (Boston) in a race long battle for fifth.
Jackson ran as high as fourth overall in the early laps before losing a couple of places to the Pro-class drivers. His initial Pro-Am1 rival Jonas Gelzinis (Lithuania) went out after hitting Michael Meadows (Banbury) at Russell. That moment cost Meadows the chance of fourth place and put Gelzinis out with a damaged radiator.
Meanwhile, Jackson headed Pro-Am1 but in the final laps Gilham closed the gap and when Jackson was held up by a backmarker Gilham moved even closer heading into the final lap. “I was managing the gap and then a backmarker at Coram cost me a lot of time,” said Jackson. Into Russell for the final time, Gilham dived for the inside and the cars made contact, with Jackson spinning as Gilham’s car flicked up onto two wheels. Though Gilham got to the line before Jackson, the positions were later reversed when Gilham was award a time penalty.
McMenamin drove a fine race to claim Pro-Am2 victory, despite considerable pressure from Mace, Richardson and George Brewster (Edinburgh). A moment for Michael Leonard (Ireland) cost Richardson time and allowed McMenamin to build a decisive margin. “It was hard work leading from the front and I was just doing enough to keep ahead,” said McMenamin. Richardson, having run second for many laps, was edged back to third in the closing stages by Mace, as Mace recovered from a poor start.
Harvey made it 10 wins from 12 races in the second race at Snetterton today. However, a last lap moment left his margin of victory over Caine at just five-hundredths of a second. Jackson completed a fine weekend with a second Pro-Am1 victory, while Mace clinched the Pro-Am2 win. A second overall podium earned Jelley the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award, while Team Parker Racing took the ‘Team of the Weekend’ award.
Having saved his best set of tyres for the second race of the day when he started from pole position, Harvey got the jump at the start over Caine and led all the way. However, with both drivers at the top of their game, they were incredibly evenly matched and the gap was never more than two seconds. Then, in the closing stages, Harvey came up to lap a couple of slower cars and into Russell for the last time he ran wide over the kerbs. In an instant, Caine saw his chance and almost pulled up alongside on the sprint to the flag. The final margin was 0.054s, less than half a car’s length.
“That was cutting it a bit fine,” said a relieved Harvey. “I caught the back-markers at all the wrong times and I ended up on the kerb. I just sneaked across the line.” Caine thought Christmas had come early, but could not quite get level as they raced to the flag. “We were bang on the same pace,” he said of his on-going battle with Harvey.
Jelley completed a good weekend with another third place, but reckoned he would have been closer to Caine but for a handling problem that developed during the race. “To start with the car was fantastic, then I had a couple of big moments,” said Jelley.
A fine fourth went to Meadows who worked ahead of Geddie when the Scot put a wheel on the grass at Coram Curve. Behind Geddie was Pro-Am1 winner Jackson in sixth overall after a very strong drive. “The car was absolutely spot on,” said Jackson, who extended his Pro-Am1 title lead as Gilham battled ahead of Gelzinis late in the race. “We had to guess the set-up after the incident in the first race,” said Gilham. “I had understeer all race, but I managed to pressure Gelzinis into a mistake.”
Mace was always the class of Pro-Am2 and ran home a clear winner as McMenamin held off Richardson for second place. “I was staying with the Pro-Am1 cars, but decided to make sure of Pro-Am2 victory,” said Mace. Meanwhile, McMenamin drove a sterling race, having been forced to use the tyres that had completed the first race. A high-speed spin in qualifying had wrecked his other set of tyres; so second place was a damage limitation exercise. Richardson stalled on the line, but raced hard to catch McMenamin and attacked several times over the closing laps.
The next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship takes place at Silverstone, Northants, on August 21/22.
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