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Foster and Cavers triumph at exciting Porsche Sprint Challenge GB season finalé

Porsche Visit Cayman Islands Sprint Challenge GB arrived at Donington Park with the championship battles in both categories still to be decided. Four drivers entered the weekend with a chance of claiming overall glory, but it was Harry Foster (Team Parker Racing) who emerged ahead, securing the 2022 Pro category title at the penultimate race of the season. Meanwhile, Carl Cavers (Valluga) enjoyed a perfect weekend to take the Am category title in style.

Saturday morning’s qualifying session on the 2.4-mile Grand Prix circuit saw Foster master tricky wet weather conditions to take the third pole position of his Porsche racing career. Foster set two quick lap times, enough to overcome the efforts of Matthew Armstrong (Team Parker Racing) – he would start the weekend’s first two races from second on the grid. Fellow championship hopefuls, Charles Clark (Team Parker Racing) and Steve Roberts (Redline Racing), would line up on the second row. Cavers made the first strike in Am, topping the category to start his championship challenge ahead of title rival Rupert Laslett (Raceway Motorsport).

Foster led into Redgate at the start of the weekend’s first race on Saturday and pulled away from the chasing pack. Behind the leader an intense battle for second between Armstrong, Clark and Roberts developed. The trio swapped places several times, Roberts emerging ahead on the road but a time penalty promoted Clark to second and Armstrong to third. Taking the first blow in the Am fight was Cavers – he finished ahead of title rival Laslett, while Timothy Creswick (Parr Motorsport) completed the category podium.

Armstrong attacked Foster into the first corner at the start of round 14 before running wide, as did Clark so Roberts seized the opportunity and moved up to second. A dramatic incident between Armstrong and Toby Trice (SVG Motorsport) caused both to retire from the race, ending Armstrong’s championship challenge. Later, Roberts closed on Foster and even nosed ahead as they navigated a yellow flag zone.

Foster took the flag first but, following the race, he was stripped of his victory for overtaking under yellow flag conditions, resulting in Roberts securing a maiden win. Foster’s second-place finish was still enough to see him crowned provisional 2022 champion. In Am, Cavers led from lights to flag, making him provisional Am category champion with the final race of the season remaining.

The last race of the season revolved around a close battle between Foster, Roberts and Clark. All three fought for the overall lead but it was newly crowned provisional champion, Foster, who stayed ahead to claim the sixth win of his Porsche racing career. Completing his clean sweep of category pole position and three category wins at Donington Park was Cavers – he was joined on the Am podium by Laslett and Jason Pelosi (Redline Racing).

Saturday’s 20-minute qualifying session took place in damp weather conditions, calling for grooved wet-weather Michelin tyres. Armstrong was the early leader, posting a time of 1:47.413, while Clark was a fraction behind – his initial effort was just 0.006 seconds adrift while Foster gave chase. In Am, Cavers led Callum Davis (Valluga) from Creswick as all of the drivers searched for grip on the slippery track.

Championship leader Foster was the first to complete a representative lap time – he set a 1:45.847, then soon improved with a 1:45.447. By the midpoint of the session, Foster’s benchmark still stood. Armstrong was three tenths of a second adrift with Roberts next on the timing screen. In the final five minutes of the session, White became the pacesetting Am while Clark improved to sit third overall. However, Cavers made the biggest gain – he became in the fastest Am on his final tour of the circuit.

On triple-header weekends, a driver’s fastest and second-fastest laps are used to form the grid for races one and two, with the grid for race three determined by the finishing positions of race two. Following qualifying, Foster had done enough to take overall pole position for the weekend’s first two races, with Cavers the fastest Am.

Race one
The first of the weekend’s three races took place in dry and sunny conditions on Saturday afternoon. Foster got away cleanly when the lights changed, while Trice made an even better start from the third row – he got ahead of Roberts before the cars filed through Redgate for the first time. On the approach to Old Hairpin, Greenwood left the circuit ending his race, promoting Am leader Cavers to an impressive fifth overall. At the Melbourne Hairpin, Roberts passed Trice to regain his position, but shortly afterwards there was contact between Davis and John White (Team Parker Racing) at Goddards.

As Foster pulled away in the lead, Armstrong, Clark and Roberts engaged in a battle for second. Further back, returnee Creswick closed on Davis for second in Am. However, Davis soon overtook Pelosi for the position, relegating the latter to third in the category order. On lap five, Davis slipped back down the order as Pelosi and Creswick got through. However, Creswick soon had a moment at the Melbourne Hairpin causing him to drop back – Pelosi was now second in Am with Laslett third.

Pelosi, Laslett and Davis were soon fighting for position. Keen to catch his title rival – Am leader Cavers – ahead, Laslett shot to the inside of Pelosi at McLeans where there was contact, causing Pelosi to spin off to the inside of the circuit. Davis was caught up in the melee but he would continue, only to spin further into the lap at the Melbourne Hairpin. That left the Am order as Cavers, Laslett and Creswick.

At the front of the race, Foster pulled further clear of a developing fight for second. Clark mounted a challenge on Armstrong, getting alongside at the Melbourne Hairpin – there was contact between them but Roberts then leapt ahead of Clark at Goddards. The pair ran side-by-side in the run down the Wheatcroft Straight, Roberts emerging ahead in second. Still running together, the three arrived at McLeans. Roberts went to the inside but by Coppice the trio were inseparable. They ran three abreast in the run down to Fogarty Esses, making contact before Roberts came out ahead.

In the closing stages of the race, Roberts was handed a five-second penalty for track limits. That made the order on corrected time Foster from Armstrong and Clark. However, when Armstrong made a slight error, it allowed Clark to overtake for third on the road, second on corrected time. Already handed a five-second penalty for track limits, Trice saw his penalty extended to 10 seconds, while Roberts befell the same fate. Foster took the chequered flag to claim his fifth consecutive win, joined on the overall podium by Clark and Armstrong. Cavers took Am glory with Laslett second in category and Creswick third.

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Foster (Pro) and Laslett (Am) each received one additional championship point. Following the race, for his incident with Pelosi, Laslett was given a penalty of two championship points and two category points.

Race two
The weekend’s second race took place in dry and sunny conditions on Sunday morning. Foster got away cleanly but Armstrong made the better start of the two to gain ground on the approach to the first corner. With the inside line into Redgate, Foster stayed ahead while Armstrong and Clark ran wide at the exit losing places. Capitalising on the opportunity ahead, Roberts and Trice moved up the order, the former slotting into second with the latter third. In Am, Cavers was ahead of White and Laslett got by Pelosi for third in the category.

Recovering from his earlier error, Armstrong soon closed on Trice in the fight for the final podium position. Just behind, Clark began his own recovery drive, passing Cavers at the Melbourne Hairpin. On lap four, Armstrong attacked Trice at the final turn but there was contact between the pair, causing Armstrong’s damaged radiator to drop fluid on the circuit. Armstrong continued before making his retirement in the gravel trap at Redgate. Trice limped back to the pits with a left rear puncture while Pelosi spun on Armstrong’s fluid at Goddards before continuing.

Roberts soon began to close the gap to the leader, Foster, with the exit of Armstrong and Trice. Matt Greenwood (Race-Lab) was promoted to third overall with Clark giving chase in fourth. In Am, Cavers remained ahead with title rival Laslett sitting second, and Creswick third. Contact between Laslett and Creswick at the exit of Redgate caused both to retire from the race, leaving Cavers in a position to take the championship with one race still remaining. White was promoted to second in Am with newcomer David Stirling (Redline Racing) now third.

At half race distance, Roberts was closer than ever to the leader. He had his nose ahead of Foster as they navigated the Wheatcroft Straight. However, as they entered a yellow flag zone, Roberts backed off and Foster retook the lead of the race. On lap seven, Greenwood overtook Clark for third overall but attentions returned to the fight at the front. Roberts got alongside Foster at the Melbourne Hairpin but he outbraked himself leaving the order unchanged. In the closing stages of the race, Stirling and White engaged in a scrap for second in Am, but contact between them at Coppice ended Stirling’s race.

Foster took the flag, and with his result he was crowned provisional 2022 champion. He was joined on the Pro category podium by Roberts and Clark. Cavers took another win in Am, finishing an impressive fifth overall – the result was enough to see him named as provisional Am category champion. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Roberts (Pro) and Cavers (Am) each received one additional championship point. The finishing positions from the weekend’s second race formed the grid for the final later in the day.

Following the race, Foster lost his win for overtaking under yellow flag conditions, promoting Roberts to his maiden victory. Creswick was disqualified from the meeting for overtaking under yellow flag conditions during his incident with Laslett. Armstrong received a penalty of two championship points and two category points for his incident with Trice.

Race three
The last race of the season took place late on Sunday afternoon in dry conditions. Roberts got away well but it was Foster who made the better start from the outside of the front row. As the cars tackled Redgate for the first time, Foster was in the lead with Roberts second and Clark fighting with Trice for third. Clark and Trice drove side-by-side in the run to Coppice, Clark getting ahead. In Am, Cavers maintained his lead with White second and Laslett third in category.

On the second lap of the race White dropped back, this promoted Laslett to second in Am, and Pelosi to third. Roberts initially attacked Foster but soon fell back into the clutches of Clark. Clark got a run through the Fogarty Esses but the move did not come off. Slightly further back, Armstrong mounted a challenge on Trice for fifth, gaining him the position before an opportunistic Cavers followed him through. Trice was relegated to seventh.

Foster began to increase his margin at the front while Clark closed on Roberts once more. In the closing stages of the race, the gap between the trio reduced significantly, and by lap nine 1.2 seconds covered the three drivers. On the penultimate lap of the race, Am leader Cavers came under increasing pressure from Trice, but the order would remain the same. On the final lap, Roberts was closer than ever to Foster – he shaped up for a move into the Melbourne Hairpin and again into Goddards, but Foster maintained his position to the flag.

Foster recorded the sixth win of his Porsche racing career, joined on the Pro category podium by Roberts and Clark. The Am category podium was formed by Cavers, Laslett and Pelosi, making it the eighth category win of 2022 for Cavers. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Clark (Pro) and Cavers (Am) each received one additional championship point.

The final Porsche Visit Cayman Islands Sprint Challenge GB weekend brings its exciting third season to a close. Provisional Pro category champion Foster follows in the footsteps of previous champions James Dorlin and Theo Edgerton.

Foster, and provisional Am category champion Cavers, will be crowned at an end of season awards ceremony in December. Each receive their share of a healthy prize pot and a holiday for two to the Cayman Islands.

During the Donington Park weekend, Porsche Motorsport GB revealed plans for a series of exciting evolutions to the championship for next season. Starting in 2023 as part of a three-year agreement, Sprint Challenge GB will race exclusively on the TOCA package. On six weekends, the championship will race in support of the British Touring Car Championship, four of those also alongside Carrera Cup GB.

The 2023 championship begins at Donington Park in April and concludes at Brands Hatch in October, with a full season of racing taking place across 18 rounds, each weekend hosting three races. The season will also see the championship return to Snetterton for the first time since 2020 ,as well as make its debut on the Donington Park National and Silverstone National circuits.

Championship positions*

Harry Foster – Team Parker Racing – 181
Charles Clark – Team Parker – 165
Steve Roberts – Redline Racing – 160

Carl Cavers – Valluga – 191
Rupert Laslett – Raceway Motorsport – 171
Jason Pelosi – Redline Racing – 132

*results remain provisional

Source. Porsche


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