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Donington delivers dramatic Porsche Sprint Challenge GB double in soaking conditions

Cayman Islands Porsche Sprint Challenge GB, Porsche Motorsport GB’s second one-make championship, travelled to Donington Park for rounds three and four of the 2020 championship. A grid of mechanically identical 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport cars took part in two action-packed races in wet conditions on Sunday in support of British GT – Britain’s premier GT race series. Entertaining spectators at the circuit and via an online livestream, the weekend of Porsche racing established a gripping battle for top honours between Tom Jackson (Rob Boston Racing) and James Dorlin (IN2 Racing) – a contest that looks set to run all season long.

Qualifying
Saturday’s 20-minute qualifying session was conducted in dry conditions, 14 cars took to the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit in order to set the grid for the first of the weekend’s two races. Theo Edgerton (Total Control Racing) was the early pacesetter but, in the second half of the session, Jackson recorded a benchmark time which would not be beaten – he ended the day an impressive 0.454secs ahead of Edgerton, Archie Hamilton (Redline Racing) and Dorlin making up the second row of the grid. A closely contested Am battle was resolved in favour of Nigel Rice (Redline Racing) with Ian Humphris (Valluga) qualifying just behind – Humphris ultimately separated from Ambrogio Perfetti (IN2 Racing) by just 0.011secs. For recording the fastest times in their respective categories, Jackson – Pro and Rice – Am each received one championship point.

Race one
Conditions were wet for the first of Sunday’s two races – each 25-minutes in length. Due to the change of conditions from qualifying, two green flag laps were permitted to allow the drivers to familiarise themselves with the now slippery circuit – all 14 cars were shod with grooved Michelin wet weather tyres. At the start Jackson got away well, from row two Hamilton made a better getaway than Edgerton ahead, passing the teenager into the first corner for second position. Chris Car (Redline Racing) lined-up on the grid out of position and would receive a 10-second time penalty to be applied at the end of the race.

During the early part of the race Perfetti engaged in a battle with Humphris, the Am order being; Rice, Perfetti and Humphris. But by lap four Perfetti had taken the category lead. With Jackson pulling away at the front, the fight behind him began to intensify. On lap five Hamilton made a mistake at Fogarty Esses allowing Edgerton to get a run on him for second place into the Melbourne Hairpin. Now with clear air ahead, Edgerton immediately began to push, however, an error saw him take a trip through the gravel at Old Hairpin before he rejoined the circuit, this allowed Hamilton back through – Edgerton dropping to fifth behind Ethan Hawkey (Redline Racing). The order at the front was now; Jackson, Hamilton and Dorlin. In Am, Humphris found a way by Rice but could not make an impression on Perfetti ahead.

Having hounded him for a number of laps, Dorlin finally found a route by Hamilton on lap nine but soon ran wide at Goddards, his rival reclaimed the position as the pair crossed the line to start lap 10. A recovering Dorlin quickly got by Hamilton again, this time at Fogarty Esses, but with just a few minutes left on the clock, catching Jackson – who was now several seconds up the road – was too big a challenge. Jackson took the chequered flag to claim his maiden championship victory joined on the podium by Dorlin and Hamilton – the latter taking his third podium finish in as many races. Also taking his third category podium from the first three races was Perfetti, Humphris and Rice completed the top three in Am. Charging through the field from last on the grid was Alex Toth-Jones (IN2 Racing) – the Pro category driver crossed the finish line in P7 in a noteworthy comeback drive. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Jackson – Pro, and Perfetti – Am each received one additional championship point.

Race two
The grid for the day’s second race was decided by the finishing positions from Race One. Despite the continuing slippery conditions – similar to those of Race One – Jackson got away cleanly from the front row to lead into Redgate. Perfetti was slow away – falling to the very back of the pack. Having battled three abreast into the first corner, Dorlin emerged ahead of Edgerton and Hawkey to occupy second position overall, Edgerton and Hawkey then made contact on the exit of Redgate sending them both off onto the grass – they soon rejoined the race further down the order. In Am, Rice made the best start to lead Chambers from Humphris. Both recovering from their earlier incidents, by lap four Edgerton was up to sixth, Perfetti was P5 in the Am category and on a charge. Jackson’s early lead over Dorlin (1.3secs) would soon be demolished when the Safety Car was scrambled to allow for the car of Mike Price (Forelle Estates Racing) – stuck in the gravel at Old Hairpin – to be recovered by the marshals.

At the restart on lap eight there were 13 minutes remaining of the timed race. With his lead now completely eroded, Jackson came under increasing pressure from Dorlin, the pair trying differing lines to get the upper hand as the wet conditions deteriorated. In Am, a flying Perfetti overtook Humphris for third place in category, immediately setting after Rice and Chambers for the category lead – and he would soon make a pass on Rice, then Chambers through Hollywood, cementing an impressive recovery drive. With the Am drivers changing positions frequently that left the order on lap 12; Perfetti, Chambers and Rice. However, Perfetti soon undid all of his hard work by making a trip through the gravel at Coppice, this gave the Am lead back to Chambers, second spot would be claimed by an advancing Humphris, Rice would inherit third and that’s how things stayed in Am to the flag.

At the front of the race Dorlin finally mounted a successful challenge on Jackson as they entered the penultimate lap of the race, the pair ran side-by-side into Redgate, Dorlin got his nose ahead through Hollywood and there he would stay. At the chequered flag Dorlin clinched his third victory of the season, Jackson followed him home in second with Hamilton continuing his unbroken record of podium appearances in third. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Jackson – Pro, and Perfetti – Am each received one additional championship point.

Following the race Edgerton was docked two championship points as a result of his incident with Hawkey on the opening lap. During a post race investigation Dorlin was found to have exceeded track limits and as a result was handed a five-second penalty to applied at the end of the race, this reversed the positions of the top two finishers in Race Two making Jackson the winner – the decision was under appeal by IN2 Racing and has been referred for review meaning the final results are provisional.

Championship positions*

Pro:
James Dorlin IN2 Racing 38
Tom Jackson Rob Boston Racing 36
Archie Hamilton Redline Racing 24

Am:
Ambrogio Perfetti IN2 Racing 40
Ian Humphris Valluga 29
Nigel Rice Redline Racing 25

*results remain provisional

Source. Porsche

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