Team Parker Racing sits atop the Porsche Carrera Cup GB standings after Kiern Jewiss enjoyed a successful weekend at his local circuit, Brands Hatch, claiming a win and second place in tricky weather conditions.
Heading to the short and relentless Indy circuit configuration at the Kent venue, the team struggled with initial pace in free practice on Friday before making gains through the day. After a busy qualifying session in the sunshine on Saturday it was all change on Sunday as damp, wet, overcast conditions tested team and drivers.
At the front of the field, Kiern had a strong start, moving up to fourth from eighth on the grid, before title rival Adam Smalley made an error, handing him third, while Seb Morris began a recovery drive after contact put him out in qualifying. In Pro-Am, Will Aspin started well and moved up to second with team-mate Ryan Ratcliffe third and Charles Bateman seventh, while reigning Am champion Justin Sherwood had to recover from a spin at Surtees.
However, with light rain increasing in intensity with 24 of the planned 34 laps complete, cars began to slide off the track and the red flag was shown, halting the race, and allowing teams to switch to wet Michelins, before a five-minute race to the flag when action resumed.
Kiern again started well, getting past Matty Graham for second, but wasn’t quite able to muscle past Will Martin for the win, crossing the line just 0.3s away from victory. Seb continued his recovery, finishing ninth of the Pro drivers, while Will Aspin drove superbly to finish sixth overall (which became fifth after a post-race penalty for Graham) and Pro-Am glory, with Ryan third in class and Charles fifth. In Am, Justin put heavy pressure on Josh Stanton, but was just unable to squeeze past, finishing 0.067s behind at the flag.
With rain fully set in for the second race on Sunday afternoon, everyone had to be on their toes once again. Kiern had another exceptional start, jumping from fifth to second and then the lead as Theo Edgerton went off on the opening lap. Fellow Pro class racer Seb had a tougher time, stalling on the line and falling to the back of the field, before mounting a brilliant recovery drive, climbing from 24th overall to ninth at the end of the race.
In Pro-Am, Will had a good opening few laps, but lost a little time while mixing with a Pro class car which brought Ryan and Charles Rainford into the mix. As Rainford made his way past, unfortunately there was minor contact between Ryan and Will, sending the latter off into the gravel and causing a Safety Car. That meant Kiern’s lead would disappear, but a good restart gave him just enough breathing space to secure an impressive victory and leave him atop the points.
In Pro-Am, Ryan claimed second and Charles fourth, while in Am Justin recovered from two trips across the grass at Surtees to snatch third place from Nigel Rice to keep himself in contention for a fourth-straight class title.
The Porsche Carrera Cup GB now pauses for almost a month before resuming action at Oulton Park over the weekend of June 11/12. However, Team Parker Racing will be on double duty before then, as the British GT Championship heads to Donington Park and the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB travels to Thruxton alongside the BTCC, on May 28/29.
Kiern Jewiss, #26, Pro
G1 – 8, R1 – 2
G2 – 5, R2 – 1
Championship: 1 (28 points)
“The weekend started terribly, but luckily, I used my experience in getting a good start in both races and picked my way through. In race one I went from eighth to fourth at the start and then Adam [Smalley] made a mistake, so we capitalised on that. The rain came and we managed to get [Matty] Graham at the restart but didn’t quite have enough to get Will [Martin] because he was putting the car in the right places.
“In race two I had a lightning start off the line and got up to second. Theo cut the track so then I took his position for the lead and pushed really hard to get a seven second gap. The Safety Car came out and I thought it was all over as I’d used the tyres at the start to get that gap and I was then going to manage it, but the Safety Car put a pin in that balloon. I had to get my head back in the game again and try and get a bit of tyre life back to go once more. Luckily, we had enough left, and I was able to take the win.”
Seb Morris, #30, Pro
G1 – 11, R1 – 9
G2 – 9, R2 – 8
Championship: 8 (9 points)
“It was a fairly challenging weekend. In qualifying I got hit by an amateur and there was nothing I could do about that. From there, it was always going to be a difficult weekend. I’m glad it rained in the first race, and we managed to get up to 12th, but the Safety Car period and red flag was so long, we just didn’t have enough time to get up the field.
“Ahead of race two we found something with the car, and we were as quick as anyone, so I was really happy with that. I got hit by a driver just before the Safety Car and it knocked all my alignment out, so I struggled after that. I was still as quick as everyone, but I would have been at Kiern’s sort of pace otherwise.
“We’ve found something massive that we’ve been doing wrong with the car – it’s actually from my side, and I think we’ll unlock some serious pace at Oulton Park now. I’ve still only had two days testing, I’d never driven the car in the wet, and I’ve done all right. I think I made up 15 positions, from stone dead last up to eighth, so I was happy with that.”
Will Aspin, #9, Pro-Am
G1 – 4, R1 – 1
G2 – 1, R2 – DNF
Championship: 2 (26 points)
“I think we showed our overall pace was really good, but we were still lacking a bit here and there. We wanted to sort it out going into Saturday qualifying, but a mistake from my side caused us to be a bit further back than what we should have been going into race one.
“The first two laps we made up five places, which helped a lot. Unfortunately, the weather started to turn later in the race and going into Surtees we had a spin but luckily for us a red flag came out. I was eighth for the restart and then two people threw it off in front of me, so I finished P6, which gave me pole for race two until Matty was penalised.
“We were good the first couple of laps of race two, but then struggled with the car and trying to get the power down out of the corners. It ended in a DNF for some contact with another driver, but in the end, it is how it is, it’s going to happen once or twice – that’s racing. To be honest I think I’ve had a good weekend, I’m not too flustered by it, and we can go on to Oulton knowing that we’re good and we have pace.”
Ryan Ratcliffe, #33, Pro-Am
G1 – 3, R1 – 3
G2 – 3, R2 – 2
Championship: 3 (24 points)
“The consistency was good this weekend, with two podiums and good points. Qualifying was super close. On my second set of tyres, I made a mistake as soon as I went out and locked the fronts, which was frustrating, because if I’d found a tenth and a half, I would have been sixth on the grid. We were two and a half tenths off pole, and we were 12th. The grid is so close this year we’ve just got to keep working on it and building on it.
“I think there’s a little bit of pace to be had and we all suffered with the same issue towards the end of the race with oversteer. I had some really good battles in both races, and fair; that’s the thing I like about this championship. It’s fair, clean racing, but hard racing as well. I really enjoyed it and it’s just so close, it’s great. [Nathan] Harrison had a monster start at Donington and he didn’t do terribly well at Brands. It’s good for the championship fight going into round three. I think we’ll be up there at Oulton Park.”
Charles Bateman, #77, Pro-Am
G1 – 7, R1 – 5
G2 – 5, R2 – 4
Championship: 6 (17 points)
“It’s been a trying weekend. It’s been very competitive across the whole grid. I didn’t really get the pace I wanted to, but it’s my second race weekend in eight years and the car is in one piece so I’ll take that.
“Qualifying wasn’t good for me. There’s certainly more pace in the car I just didn’t get it out of it. The race was interesting being wet, the car was good in some places and not in others. Overall, a bit of an up and down one, but I am happy. I’m aiming for a top ten and we’re going step by step to get there.”
Justin Sherwood, #7, Am
G1 – 4, R1 – 2
G2 – 2, R2 – 3
Championship: 2 (31 points)
“First race I had a great start; I was trying to hang on to Josh [Stanton] but there were two Pro-Ams between us. He started pulling away and then the rain came down a bit heavier. It’s the first time I’ve driven the car in the wet, so it was an experience and we had good pace. We were pushing Josh but then I made a mistake at Surtees, went across the grass, came back on with Peter Kyle-Henney side by side but managed to hold him off and pull away. We had great pace and I was catching Josh, got a run on him out of Clearways, and it was like half a tenth across the line. If I hadn’t made that mistake, well, who knows?
“I had reasonable pace in the second race which was fully wet. I was able to run at Josh’s pace and I was just pacing myself, started to push on a bit, made a mistake at Surtees again, because it was really slippy, spun, and that put me to the back. Peter Mangion spun, and I managed to get past Peter Kyle-Henney and Nigel [Rice]. I’ve made too many mistakes this weekend, but we scored a few points. Josh is pulling away a bit now, so I need to try and stem the flow at Oulton Park and claw some points back.”