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Hawkey and Graham crowned as Porsche GB Junior King wins at Carrera Cup GB championship finale

Porsche Carrera Cup GB – the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK – returned to Kent for the championship finale, this time taking place on the short and challenging Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) emerged as the fastest driver following Friday’s two Free Practice sessions which took place in mixed conditions. Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) entered the weekend with a slim mathematical chance of Pro-Am title glory, he ended Friday as the fastest driver in the category, Am was topped by newly crowned 2020 category champion Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing). 

Alongside the resolution of the Pro-Am category title fight, the closely contested Rookie category battle would also be decided at the Brands Hatch weekend. Four drivers stood a chance of winning top honours and taking a £32,000 prize fund; Matthew Graham (Redline Racing), Lorcan Hanafin (JTR), Scott McKenna (Redline Racing) and Will Martin (Richardson Racing). 

Qualifying 
Saturday’s 20-minute qualifying session was conducted in slippery wet weather conditions. Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) was the driver to beat early in the session, but Hanafin soon challenged the 2014 champion at the top of the timesheet. Seeking to take every pole position of 2020, Junior King set the quickest time of the session with approximately 10 minutes remaining on the clock, however he was immediately usurped by Scott McKenna (Redline Racing) – the Junior quickly improved to within 0.002secs of the Rookie.

Keen to stay in the hunt for the Pro-Am title, Ratcliffe led the category throughout the session to qualify ahead of newcomer Jake Rattenbury (Team Redline Racing) and title rival Esmee Hawkey (Team Parker). Am category drivers Sherwood, Justin Armstrong (Team Parker Racing) and Lucky Khera (Simon Green Motorsport) traded fastest times, Armstrong came out on top while Khera ended his session in the gravel trap at Druids. 

McKenna’s result was his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup GB pole position – the first time this season that Junior King has not taken the top spot. Following the 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format, Rookie McKenna earned two championship points with his pole position, the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Ratcliffe and Armstrong – also received two points each. Following the qualifying session, Martin was deemed to have set his fastest three lap times under yellow flag conditions, with these times deleted he would start Round 15 in tenth position. 

Race one
The first of the weekend’s two races took place on Saturday in wet conditions. At the start newcomer Rattenbury was slow away from the fifth row of the grid, those behind managed to dart around his stationary car before he finally got away at the back of the pack. At the front Junior King made a good start to challenge for the lead of the race with a move around the outside of McKenna into Paddock Hill, when this proved ineffective the Junior switched to the inside for Druids successfully snatching the position to lead. Just behind, Rookie Graham got by Hanafin for third on the opening lap to sit behind his teammate – McKenna – and on lap 12 Graham would find a way by for second.

As heavier rain fell in the first half of the race a close fight for seventh began to intensify in the first half of the race, Pro-Am category driver Ratcliffe was running ahead of a tight Pro category battle between Martin and Sam MacLeod (JTR). MacLeod drew alongside Martin before the former found a way by Ratcliffe on lap 13 – MacLeod followed him though almost immediately. This pushed Ratcliffe back into the sights of his category rival – Hawkey, who only needed one championship point to secure Pro-Am category honours. With Junior King maintaining a healthy gap back to Graham and McKenna behind, McKenna came under pressure from Hanafin for third. In Am Armstrong led Khera from Sherwood. 

On lap 27 the battle between McKenna and Hanafin came to a close when Hanafin ran wide out of Paddock Hill, spinning onto the infield and beaching his car in the gravel at Hailwoods Hill as he attempted to recover to the track. This called the Safety Car into action to allow Hanafin’s stricken car to be recovered. At the restart just four minutes remained on the clock, when racing resumed Webster pounced on Kimber for fourth, though Kimber soon retook the position in a dice that lasted several corners with Martin sitting behind waiting to capitalise. The fight was finally resolved at Clearways in favour of Kimber, Webster slipped behind Martin leaving him in sixth. 

In fading light on lap 30 Junior King came under attack from Graham, King maintained his lead by the narrowest of margins but he was struggling for grip. At Druids on the following lap Graham and teammate McKenna made contact, McKenna ending up on the grass – both cars dropped to the back of the field. The incident promoted Kimber to second position, Martin to third and gave Junior King the breathing space he required to take his 11th win of the season. Ratcliffe crossed the line to record his fifth Pro-Am category win, however with second place in the category Hawkey’s result was enough to secure her the Pro-Am category title with one round to spare. In Am Khera took his first win of the season, he was joined on the category podium by Armstrong and Sherwood. 

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Porsche GB Junior King – Pro, Ratcliffe – Pro-Am and Armstrong – Am each received one additional championship point. As part of the 2020 podium procedure, winner Porsche GB Junior King selected at random the number five ball, which reversed the grid positions of the top five overall race finishers from Round 15. Following the race Kimber was handed a 1.4sec penalty for gaining an unfair advantage during his battle with Webster. This promoted Martin to second and Webster to third with Kimber relegated to fourth. 

Race two
Sunday’s race was conducted in dry conditions. When the lights went out all 18 cars got away cleanly, MacLeod and Kimber maintained their positions at the front but Martin was the driver on the move – he overtook Webster on the opening lap for third. On the second lap, Junior King pulled a decisive pass on the inside of Paddock Hill to get by Webster for fourth and then immediately set after Kimber, MacLeod and Martin ahead. In Pro-Am Mason (Brookspeed Connect IT) led Ratcliffe from Hawkey while in Am Armstrong headed Sherwood from Frost (Simon Green Motorsport). 

On lap five Junior King repeated his signature move at Paddock Hill on Martin for third, however the order was soon restored at Graham Hill as the pair engaged in a close battle. Junior King finally mounted a successful challenge on lap nine and next passed MacLeod at Clearways for second – seeing an opportunity Martin followed him through making the new order at the front; Kimber, Junior King, Martin and Macleod. On lap 12 Junior King completed his charge to the race lead from fifth on the grid by overtaking Kimber – again using his confidence on the brakes to pass at the first corner. On lap 12 MacLeod ended his weekend in the gravel trap at Druids resulting in a Safety Car period. 

Following the restart Kimber made a slight error allowing Martin to overtake him for second. Renewing their close dice from Race One, Graham and McKenna shuffled their order in a fight that also involved Hanafin, Ratcliffe and Hawkey. Graham emerged on top in seventh but on lap 26 as Hanafin attempted a move to the outside at Druids they made contact – this saw Hanafin’s race end in the gravel with damage to his car. As Ratcliffe dropped down the order, Pro-Am was led by Mason and Hawkey from Ratcliffe. In Am Sherwood was running head of Armstrong and Frost. On the track Graham had McKenna for company – the latter soon incurred a five second penalty for abusing track limits to be applied after the race. 

At the flag Junior King took his 12th win of the season, he was joined on the Pro category podium by Martin and Kimber. Mason’s result marked his first Pro-Am category win, Hawkey was second with newcomer Rattenbury in third. Am victory was taken by Sherwood with Armstrong second and Frost third. Graham’s result was enough to provisionally secure the Rookie title and its £32,000 prize fund. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Hanafin – Pro, Mason – Pro-Am and Sherwood – Am each received one additional championship point. For his performance, Mason earned the Driver of the Weekend accolade, Brookspeed Connect IT were awarded Team of the Weekend.

Championship positions*

Overall:
Harry King Team Parker Racing 167
Josh Webster Team Parker Racing 121
Matthew Graham Redline Racing 80

Pro-Am:
Esmee Hawkey Team Parker 156
Ryan Ratcliffe Team Parker 136
Aaron Mason Brookspeed Connect IT 91 

Am:
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 158
Lee Frost Simon Green Motorsport 97
Justin Armstrong Team Parker Racing 92

*results remain provisional

Source. Porsche

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