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Porsche Sprint Challenge GB championship lead changes as Jackson does the double at Donington

Cayman Islands Porsche Sprint Challenge GB, Porsche Motorsport GB’s second one-make championship, returned to Donington Park for rounds seven and eight, once again alongside the British GT Championship. James Dorlin (IN2 Racing) and Tom Jackson (Rob Boston Racing) arrived separated by just two points at the top of the championship standings, while in the Am category Ambrogio Perfetti (IN2 Racing) held a slim four-point margin over Ian Humphris (Valluga).

Making her championship debut at Donington Park was former W Series competitor Sarah Moore, appropriately for Le Mans weekend racing the number 23 car of IN2 Racing, liveried in a tribute to the 1970 Le Mans-winning Porsche 917.

Getting the weekend off to a good start was Am category competitor Nigel Rice (Redline Racing) who received a set of Michelin racing tyres as winner of the Michelin tyre raffle. The championship once again provided two close races around the full Grand Prix circuit, with the top four drivers covered by less than five seconds at the flag in both races.

However, it was Tom Jackson who came closest to the perfect weekend, victory in both races giving him the championship lead over Dorlin for the first time in 2020. In the Am category, Perfetti made up for his disappointment last time out at Brands Hatch with his own double victory, making more comfortable what had been a narrow points lead at the top of the category table.

Qualifying

The morning’s 20-minute qualifying session saw 14 mechanically-identical 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport cars take to a dry track. Making the early running were the Am category competitors, headed in turn by Peter Chambers (Jordan Racing Team), Mike Price (Forelle Estates Racing) then former Porsche Carrera Cup GB competitor Nigel Rice ((Redline Racing). However, by the flag it was Perfetti who would claim pole from Humphris, although a three-place grid penalty from the previous round dropped Humphris to fourth and promoted Price to second.

The Pro category runners, with tyres warmed up, took up their places at the top of the time sheets with Jackson making his intentions for the weekend clear by setting the early pace. Ethan Hawkey (Redline Racing) was quick to spoil Jackson’s plans though with a time 0.141 seconds ahead of the Rob Boston Racing machine. Although Jackson responded by closing to within just 0.073 seconds, Hawkey claimed his first pole position. Archie Hamilton (Redline Racing) lined up on the second row in third, alongside championship leader Dorlin in fourth.

For recording the fastest times in their respective categories, Hawkey (Pro) and Perfetti (Am) each received one championship point.

Race one

Despite grey skies, the track remained dry – if cool – for the start of race one. Finding the best traction off the line was second-placed Jackson, moving inside pole-sitter Hawkey to take a lead he would keep for the rest of the race. A fast-starting Hamilton followed Jackson through for second while, with the inside of Redgate fully occupied, Dorlin moved to the outside. This allowed Edgerton to slip past for fourth, demoting Dorlin to fifth and setting up a battle between the group that was to last the full 25-minute duration of the race.

Jackson made an early break, while championship leader Dorlin recovered one place from Edgerton on the opening lap then another when he passed Hawkey for third on the inside of Redgate at the start of the second lap. As the leading group of five settled into their race, so Moore was settling into her first race sixth in category. The gaps fluctuated, but the deadlock was broken by Hawkey running wide on the exit of the chicane which allowed Edgerton through at the Esses for fourth. Hamilton made a charge to close down Jackson, narrowing the gap to just 1.6 seconds, but was never able to mount a challenge for the lead. Jackson came through to take his third win of the season, with Hamilton beating his previous best result in second and Dorlin rounding out the podium in third – the top five separated by under five seconds.

In the Am category, Perfetti completed a flawless race to convert his pole position into a win, marking his return from the previous weekend which – through no fault of his own – had netted no points. Behind, the battle for second was to be the focus, Rice fending off Humphris as the Valluga driver recovered from his three-place grid penalty following the previous weekend. Despite never being much more than a second ahead of Humphris for most of the race, the experienced Rice held second to the flag with Humphris banking the points for third.

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, giving Jackson the Pro category pole position from Hamilton, and Perfetti the Am category pole from Rice.

Leading the championship for the first time in 2020, Jackson made the perfect start and, despite a strong challenge over the opening laps, had an untroubled run to his fourth win of the season and a points advantage over fellow championship contender Dorlin. For his part, a charging Dorlin demoted Hamilton to third on the run into the first corner before firmly turning his attentions to leader Jackson. Behind, Edgerton passed Hamilton with 20 minutes still to run, his momentum taking him onto the back of Dorlin in second. Now having to defend as well as attack, Dorlin released Jackson, which left the new championship leader to extend his lead steadily until it reached just over three seconds at the flag.

Dorlin held a solid second place, although Edgerton had to defend his third podium of the season from a flying Hawkey who had made a late-race charge past Hamilton for fourth, the 18-year-old and race one pole-sitter taking one point for fastest lap on his way.

In the Am category, Perfetti looked to be repeating his untroubled run from pole to first past the flag. Rice had settled into second before a battle developed with Moore, the championship newcomer getting to grips with the 718 Cayman GT4 and finding more pace every lap. As the two diced for position into the Melbourne Hairpin, Humphris passed the pair with a perfectly timed move and set after Perfetti. The clock having ticked to zero, Humphris ran out of time and on the last lap could close to no nearer than just under one second of Perfetti, claiming his sixth podium of the season. Not one to be left behind, Rice took one point for fastest lap as he rounded out the Am category podium, his fifth of 2020.

Jackson’s double victory has taken him to four wins over the course of the season – matching Dorlin’s haul and leaving the Rob Boston Racing driver with a championship lead of five points after arriving at Donington with a deficit of two points. The next stage for the championship duel with be Croft on 10 and 11 October, when Cayman Islands Porsche Sprint Challenge GB will run alongside the British Touring Car Championship for the first time.

Championship positions

Pro:

Tom Jackson – Rob Boston Racing – 75

James Dorlin – IN2 Racing – 70

Theo Edgerton – TCR – 40

Am:

Ambrogio Perfetti – IN2 Racing – 63

Ian Humphris – Valluga – 51

Nigel Rice – Redline Racing – 46

Source. Porsche

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