Title race hots up as Harvey and Caine share Carrera Cup wins at Knockhill
Tim Harvey and Michael Caine took a win each in two action-packed rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at the Knockhill circuit, near Edinburgh in Scotland, on Sunday (5 September). Harvey had a big scare in race two when he slid off the track, but recovered to finish in fourth place and retain a 27-point Championship lead with four races to run.
With a packed grid of 23 examples of the 420 hp 911 GT3 Cup race cars, there was tremendous battling all the way down the field which led to double victories for Tony Gilham in Pro-Am1 and guest racer Rory Butcher in Pro-Am2.
Off the starting line, Caine (Newmarket) got the lead as Harvey (Oxford) settled into second place. Behind them, Glynn Geddie (Aberdeen) and his Team Parker Racing team mates Euan Hankey (Taunton) and Stephen Jelley (Leicester) battled for third, and initially Geddie went after the two leaders.
On lap four, the fierce battle between Hankey and Jelley came to a head as they dived into Duffus Dip bend and contact pitched Jelley onto the grass. “It was a wild ride trying to get it stopped on the grass,” said Jelley. While Hankey retired with a damaged radiator, Jelley rejoined well down the order and faced a tough race now that the car was missing its front splitter.
Up front, Harvey shadowed Caine for 15 laps and could easily have settled for a safe second place and important Championship points. But Harvey had other ideas and saw where Caine was struggling before attacking on the run out of the Hairpin to take the lead as they sprinted down the pits straight. Once ahead, Harvey steadily eased away for a very significant win. “That was about pride,” said Harvey. “It would have been easy to follow Michael but I wanted to win for the team. It was a special victory.”
Caine accepted that he did not have the pace to re-challenge Harvey. “Out of the hairpin was a real struggle and Tim just drove past me,” but he took a secure second place while Geddie bagged third position after a strong drive on his home track. “After a few laps I was struggling for traction,” he said, as Charlie Bateman (Boston) battled into fourth. “Hankey and Jelley made it easier for me, but I struggled in the last part of the race,” said Bateman.
A tremendous fifth overall went to Butcher (Kirkcaldy), who was the leading Pro-Am2 racer (although not eligible for points.) “I’m just delighted,” said the local ace. “The car was working so well.”
Michael Meadows (Banbury) and the recovering Jelley were next up before Pro-Am1 winner Gilham (Dartford), who dived ahead of Jonas Gelzinis (Lithuania) in the final two laps. “I had the pace all through the race and it was a ‘now or never’ move into the Hairpin,” said Gilham. Ollie Jackson (Attleborough) completed the Pro-Am1 podium, with Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman) right on his tail at the finish.
While Butcher dominated Pro-Am2, maximum points went to George Brewster (Edinburgh) after he fought ahead of George Richardson (Alderley Edge) as Glenn McMenamin (Milton Keynes) chased throughout. “Excellent,” said Brewster. “It worked out perfectly and George kept it absolutely clean.”
Caine won a dramatic round 16 while Harvey rescued a potentially disastrous non-finish to claim fourth place after a trip through the gravel and into the tyre wall. In Pro-Am1, Gilham completed a tremendous weekend double and guest racer Butcher also wrapped up a second win in Pro-Am2 as Brewster took maximum points.
There was action from the start when a multi-car tangle at Duffus Dip on the first lap delayed Jelley and sent Karl Leonard, Liam Griffin, Gelzinis and Tautvydas Barstys to the pits. Although none of the cars were left at Duffus, there was coolant dropped on the track and that was to provide more drama when the leading pack arrived on lap two. Caine scrambled through but Harvey slid wide at the following Scotsman Corner and ran across the gravel and nudged the tyre wall. He then scrabbled out of the gravel trap and bounced over the grass before rejoining, but lost his front splitter in the process. Meanwhile, Geddie followed Harvey through the gravel and the Safety Car was sent out to allow the marshals to treat the slippery track.
From the restart, Caine swept ahead as Bateman ran second from Hankey. While Caine pulled away to score a resounding win, Bateman and Hankey battled all the way to flag and Hankey took second after making the decisive move into Clark on the 13th lap. “I just got my head down after the Safety Car and looked after the car,” said Caine. “That was one for the team and a good birthday present for my mum,” he said.
Hankey was delighted to be back on the overall podium after a strong race, while Bateman earned the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award for his fighting third place. “It was a great result and I think I had the pace to beat him. But I made a small mistake and he got through,” he said.
Remarkably, Harvey claimed fourth after running with team mate Meadows on his tail. “It’s not often you go through the gravel, hit the wall, loose the splitter and flat spot the tyres and still finish fourth!” said Harvey after a vital recovery drive in title terms.
Into a great sixth overall and first in Pro-Am2 went Butcher, who had Geddie in pursuit over the closing laps. “It shows that Celtic run a great car,” said Butcher after a superb weekend, which earned Celtic Speed the ‘Team of the Weekend’ award. Into eighth, after a tough race with Jackson went Gilham to win pro-am1 for the second time in the day. “I struggled after the re-start to get the tyres working at their best, but it’s been a great weekend,” said Gilham.
Top scorer in Pro-Am2 was Brewster after a fine race, having had Richardson as a constant shadow over the first half of the race. “That might be a defining moment in the championship,” said Brewster after points’ leader McMenamin retired with a water leak after an early knock.
The next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship takes place at Donington Park, Leicestershire, on September 18/19.
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