Team Parker Racing claimed another three podium finishes in the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB at the weekend (May 22/23), as the series headed to Brands Hatch in Kent for races three and four of the season.
Ethan Hawkey maintained his record of four podiums in four races, taking second and third places finishes overall, while Charlie March, making his maiden appearance of the season, scored third in Am during race two.
With no official practice sessions taking place before the weekend, Charlie, Matt Armstrong, and Kurt Leimer only had a handful of tests on the shorter Indy circuit to get to grips with the track on Friday, having their first run on the full Grand Prix layout during qualifying on Saturday, where they were joined by Ethan. In that session, Ethan and Matt would finish fourth and fifth fastest, respectively, while Charlie ended seventh in Am, with Kurt two places behind him.
Ethan had a great start to race one but couldn’t quite get a clean move to claim second, settling into third position, while Matt also got off the line well, running fourth behind his team-mate. As rain began to fall, the Safety Car was brought out when Jack Bartholomew spun off, promoting Ethan to second and, when the race got back underway, mistakes by other Am drivers promoted Kurt up to fourth place in class, with Charlie sixth, positions all four drivers would hold to the flag.
With another sterling start, coupled with a stall for Theo Edgerton on pole position, Ethan shot into the race lead, but when passed by Bartholomew he lost momentum, also falling to third place where he would remain to the end of the contest. Matt, who ran second in the opening laps, settled into fourth place and despite constant pressure from Charles Clark behind, held firm to keep his position.
In Am Kurt had the better of Charlie in the opening laps but had a big slide out of Druids, falling behind his colleague. With other drivers again making errors or having contact with each other, Charlie climbed up to third place and scored his first podium, while Kurt crossed the line in fourth once again.
The team and drivers now have a bit of a pause before resuming action at Silverstone over the weekend of June 26/27, on the full Grand Prix circuit.
Ethan Hawkey, #40, Pro
Championship: 2 (29 points)
“We know where our pace is from previous tests, and we couldn’t get the setup right this weekend. We will go back to the drawing board, do more tests, and get the perfect setup which we can take to every track. I felt like a bit of a sitting duck. My race craft is there, and I proved that I have it from last year, so to fall back was tough. But it is a positive that we are scoring podiums even on tough weekends and I am still second in the championship, so once we get things sorted and get some race wins, we can contend for the title.”
Matt Armstrong, #9, Pro
Championship: 5 (19 points)
“Having been around Brands Hatch helps, so the first round at Thruxton showed me what to expect and now I can push harder, so I was a lot closer to the limit and now I am not that far away. I made a mistake which helped Jack get past me as I went too hard into turn one and then I had no grip as I had pickup on the tyre. Charles was probably faster than me overall but the corners I needed to be quicker in I was, so he couldn’t get past. It was nice to have the pressure for so long to see if I could cope with it and I coped pretty well.”
Charlie March, #7, Am
Championship: 7 (9 points)
“I haven’t been on the GP track before, so I found it hard to get the back sectors down and I lost a lot of time to everyone through there, but it was tough. I kept it on the asphalt and that was enough to secure me a podium. It was really tough to go out for the first time in qualifying and lot of it is blind, so you really have to trust where you’re going and when you don’t know where you are going it is hard to do that! It is one of those tracks where bum in seat time is valuable. I am beginning to feel a lot more at home in the car as I didn’t get as much testing as I wanted, but I feel better and hopefully my positions continue to reflect that.”
Kurt Leimer, #88, Am
Championship: 4 (18 points)
“I am happy that I am beginning to feel more comfortable with others on track as I started well and was in the middle of the pack. I just need to start to assert myself and say, ‘I am not budging, I am not getting out of the way, I am going to close the corner off, I am ahead of you, you are not getting past.’ It is difficult, but a friend of mine put it well. He said, ‘these are school fees.’ It is all about learning for the first few races, so two fourth place finishes are fine. There’s a lot to take in, but we are moving forward, and I am still enjoying myself.”