Team Parker Racing got its Porsche Sprint Challenge GB campaign off to a good start as it claimed three podium finishes at the fastest circuit in the United Kingdom: Thruxton in Hampshire.
With weather making things difficult, especially on Saturday, the drivers were all tested as they qualified on a wet circuit, with rookies Matt Armstrong and Kurt Leimer having not driven the car in the wet previously, and Ethan Hawkey having to use all his knowledge and experience from last season.
The latter had a fantastic getaway off the line for the first race, held on a drying but damp track that afternoon, climbing from eighth to fourth, while Matt and Kurt both gained three places themselves, to eighth and ninth overall.
Ethan continued to press on, gaining third from Nigel Rice then passing Ian Humphris into Allard to secure second position. After sitting back in the mid stage of the contest he pressed on in the closing stages, reeling in Theo Edgerton ahead but just running out of time to get the lead before the flag.
Behind him, Matt ran a solid contest at just his second-ever race meeting to run in seventh overall and fifth in the Pro class, a position he would hold to the flag, while Kurt enjoyed a strong drive in the latter stages, having a good battle with Peter Chambers and clinching third place in Am and a maiden podium finish.
The second race of the weekend was held on Sunday, with drizzle in the air, and for this one Ethan made a good start to hold second position off the line, but struggling with grip and tyre degradation, found himself unable to defend from Jack Bartholomew behind, settling for third place and a second podium.
Matt once again had an assured contest, running somewhat lonely in sixth place overall and fourth in Pro, while Kurt had a harder time of it, finishing seventh in Am after a spin.
The Porsche Sprint Challenge GB returns to action in just two weeks’ time, racing alongside the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch in Kent, where Team Parker Racing will be back in action with Ethan, Matt, and Kurt hopefully joined by Charlie March who sadly had to miss Thruxton this time out.
Ethan Hawkey, #40 (Pro)
“Qualifying didn’t go to plan but that’s motorsport. There was so much I could improve on and when you look back you wonder ‘why did I do that?’, but we studied the data and improved.
“Race one was really good. I got a mega start with good traction off the line and by lap two I was into second place and chasing down Theo. Then more rain came so I backed off a little bit, but as I felt more confident in the car it started to dry up, so I was able to charge back towards the end of the race. I was setting fastest lap after fastest lap and I ended up a second quicker than the race winner, so that’s a positive to take away.
Race two was a bit tough. I had a good start and maintained my position, but the tyres started to wear so Theo crept away from me. I didn’t feel I was driving as well as I could and Jack did a good job to catch and pass me, so credit to him. I felt like a bit of a sitting duck so we have lots to work on, but Brands Hatch will be a lot more positive as it’s my home race. We’re second in the championship and seven points off Theo so we can work with that, especially after so long out of the seat, so I think in all it is positive.”
Matt Armstrong, #9 (Pro)
“Qualifying was difficult because I haven’t driven the car in the wet for even one day, so I struggled initially. I didn’t get the best out of the tyres and it’s challenging knowing the first session on track is quite important, so I was a bit anxious.
“For race one we were back on slicks, but it was spitting so the track wasn’t that grippy. Being inexperienced in those conditions I didn’t know how hard to push and where to push, so it took me quite a long time to get into a rhythm, and by then I was on my own. I had no one to gauge myself against, but it was a good learning experience.
“Race two was difficult again as I was on my own again so had no one to gauge myself against. I was a bit closer than yesterday but not as close as I’d like to be so I will have to find out where I can improve and move on to Brands Hatch, where I had a race recently and will be testing as well and hopefully will be a bit more competitive.”
Kurt Leimer, #88 (Am)
“Qualifying wasn’t easy with it being wet. It’s only my second time at Thruxton, the last time as a month ago, so I was basically starting from zero. The team helped me and Scott, my driving coach, really set me up for the race and it paid off.
“I’m really happy as I didn’t come into the race expecting anything but finished eighth overall and third in the Am class. It was a difficult race and was my first time in the wet, but I just dealt with what came to me. I had a good battle with Chambers and was trying to pick the moment to overtake. I made the move around the outside just before Church and realised there wasn’t much track left, but I couldn’t move back in because he was there, so I had to make it stick!
“Race two was a little bit disappointing. I based my driving too much on yesterday’s braking points and I was a bit slow and concentrating too hard on people behind me. I started well but I didn’t make the race mine and close off the corners. It’s disappointing but I am here in one piece and happy for Ethan with two podiums and Matt doing well, so it’s a win for us all overall. It just wasn’t my day today, but I still have a trophy with a 50% success rate! The more I drive the car the better I will be.”
Source. Torque/Photo. Porsche