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Porsche GB Junior is ‘King’ of the hill

Porsche Carrera Cup GB – the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK – headed north to Scotland for Rounds Seven and Eight of the 2020 season. Friday’s Practice sessions were conducted in dry weather conditions on the short and challenging 1.26-mile Fife circuit. Porsche GB 2020 / 2021 Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) continued his impressive run to head both morning and afternoon sessions, championship rival Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) finished third in both. Pro category drivers Sam MacLeod (JTR) and Scott McKenna (Redline Racing) showed strong form, each finishing a session as the highest placed Rookie. Esmee Hawkey (Team Parker) was Friday’s fastest Pro-Am category driver, John Ferguson (Team Redline Racing) topped Am.

In overcast but dry conditions, Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying session saw two stoppages due to incidents. Matthew Graham (Redline Racing) was the early pacesetter with Webster and Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) in close company on the timesheet. Porsche GB Junior King soon jumped into provisional pole position with a time of 48.615. In Pro-Am Hawkey had the measure of teammate Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) with Aaron Mason (Brookspeed Connect IT) third. Am category championship leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) led Ferguson from Lee Frost (Simon Green Motorsport) before the cars pitted for fresh tyres. The second half of the session saw a stoppage due to an incident involving Hawkey – she would take no further part in the day’s running. Shortly after the restart with seven minutes left on the clock, a second red flag period occurred, this time due to an incident with local driver Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing). With just a few minutes remaining of the timed session, qualifying was called to a halt.

Porsche GB Junior King’s result was his fourth consecutive pole position of the season. In topping Pro-Am, Hawkey has secured four consecutive category pole positions, Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) was the highest ranking Am category driver.

Following the 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format, Porsche GB Junior King earned two championship points with his pole position, the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Hawkey and Sherwood – also received two points each.

Race one
The first of Sunday’s two races took place in dry conditions over a 32 lap distance. Porsche GB Junior King made a clean getaway, from the second row Graham got the jump on Webster into the first corner for second spot. Behind, Hanafin passed Mark Kimber (Brookspeed Connect IT) for fourth. Am driver Ferguson stalled his car as the lights went out, slipping to the back of the pack, though he soon began his recovery. By the end of the opening lap Porsche GB Junior King had pulled a gap of 1.6-seconds to the chasing Graham, Pro-Am leader Hawkey kept a pursuing Ratcliffe at bay in their battle for the category lead, tenth position overall. On lap six fluid was spotted leaking from the car of Porsche GB Junior King, the black and orange warning flag was shown to King summoning the leader into the pits due to the issue. Porsche GB Junior King soon retired from the race, Graham subsequently took the lead from Webster with Hanafin in close proximity.

On lap 14 Hanafin made an error at McIntyre causing him to spin, he ended his race in the gravel at Butcher’s – this promoted Wylie to third overall. The Safety Car was scrambled to enable Hanafin’s car to be safely recovered, racing restarted on lap 19. Martin quickly mounted an attack on Kimber for sixth, the pair getting side-by-side at the hairpin. As they reached the Chicane on the next lap Martin got a run on Kimber, contact between them put Kimber off the track – his race ended in the gravel trap. The incident resulted in a second Safety Car period, racing restarted with six laps to go. In their fight for sixth, Sam MacLeod (JTR) and Martin engaged in a battle at the hairpin, Martin ultimately staying ahead.

Having survived two Safety Car restarts while in the lead, Rookie Graham crossed the line to secure an impressive maiden victory, he was joined on the podium by Webster and Wylie – the Scotsman’s first podium result of 2020. Hawkey’s Pro-Am victory marks her fifth category win, Ratcliffe maintained his unbroken record of podium appearances by finishing second, Mason came home in third. In Am, Sherwood recorded his fourth category win of the season, Armstrong was second, Ferguson third.

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Porsche GB Junior King – Pro, Hawkey – Pro-Am and Sherwood – Am each received one additional championship point. As part of the 2020 podium procedure, winner Graham selected at random the number five ball, which reversed the grid positions of the top five overall race finishers from Round Seven. This made the front row for Round Eight McKenna and Dorian Mansilla (Team Redline Racing), with Wylie and Webster on row two, Graham on row three. Porsche GB Junior King would start Race Two in P10 – behind the last classified finisher in his category – Pro.

Race two
Sunday’s second race was also conducted in dry conditions and run to a 32 lap distance. At the start McKenna maintained the lead into the first corner, the order at the front remaining; McKenna, Mansilla and Wylie. Porsche GB Junior King immediately began gaining positions – passing Hanafin for P9 then Kimber for P8 before the end of the opening lap. On lap four a fight between Mansilla, Wylie, and Webster for third saw the positions shuffled, Webster gaining P3 from the battle and Wylie slipping down to P6. Porsche GB Junior King – now up to P7 – set after Martin who soon made a mistake allowing the Junior through for P5. On lap 9 Hawkey made a visit to the pits, she would later rejoin the race at the back of the field. That left the top two in Pro-Am as Ratcliffe and Mason.

A train of cars consisting of Mansilla, Webster, Graham and Porsche GB Junior King engaged in a close battle for second spot. As the first three cars in the train jostled for position at the hairpin, Mansilla spun off the track leaving Webster to grab P2, Graham, P3. Porsche GB Junior King soon dispatched Graham and set after his teammate Webster. The championship rivals got ever closer over a four lap period, but on lap 15 Porsche GB Junior King began mounting a pass at McIntyre and completed it through Butcher’s to lead before the chicane. Webster immediately tried to come back at his teammate but Porsche GB Junior King emerged from the hairpin ahead. The Porsche GB Junior’s next target was leader McKenna – 5.5secs up the road.

As Porsche GB Junior King eroded the gap to McKenna, a close fight in Am developed between Ferguson and Frost for second in category – Frost looking for a way by Ferguson who soon entered the pits allowing his rival by and giving Armstrong the final podium position. Back at the front of the race the leaders began to lap slower traffic, successfully navigating a route through without slowing their pace. As the cars began the final lap of the race McKenna’s lead was just 0.359secs to Porsche GB Junior King – McKenna forced to defend out of Duffus Dip and into McIntyre. As the leaders raced through the chicane McKenna ran wide through the gravel allowing Porsche GB Junior King through to lead – completing his storming drive through the field from tenth of the grid. Porsche GB Junior King’s victory was his sixth of the season. Ratcliffe’s Pro-Am victory marked his third visit to the top step in 2020, Sherwood’s Am win was his fifth category triumph of the season.

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, King – Pro, Ratcliffe – Pro-Am and Sherwood – Am each received one additional championship point. For his performance, Sherwood earned the Driver of the Weekend accolade, Redline Racing were awarded Team of the Weekend. Following the race, for his incident with Mansilla, Graham was deducted three championship points and handed a three place grid penalty at the next round.

Porsche Carrera Cup GB visits Thruxton – the fastest circuit on the calendar – for Rounds Nine and Ten of the championships on 19 / 20 September. At the midpoint of the season the exciting championship battle between Porsche GB Junior King and Webster has narrowed to 17 points – the Junior leading his experienced rival. Webster took two second placed finishes at the Hampshire circuit in 2019, Porsche GB Junior King tasted the winner’s champagne there in his junior career. Pro-Am championship leader Hawkey now has just a five point lead over teammate Ratcliffe, she recorded two category wins at Thruxton in 2019, John Ferguson secured two Am wins at the same weekend – both will want to replicate that success in 2020.

Championship positions*

Harry King Team Parker Racing 88
Josh Webster Team Parker Racing 71
Matthew Graham Redline Racing 46

Esmee Hawkey Team Parker 75
Ryan Ratcliffe Team Parker 70
Aaron Mason Brookspeed Connect IT 48

Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 83
Lee Frost Simon Green Motorsport 57
Justin Armstrong Team Redline Racing 40

*results remain provisional

Source. Porsche


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