– Richard Plant and Michael Meadows share overall victories in season-opener
– 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Scholar Daniel Lloyd takes first podium with second place in race two
– Derek Pierce and Oly Mortimer claim Pro-Am1 wins
– Will Goff and Tautvydas Barstys each take a Pro-Am2 victory
An impressive sight of 21 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars lined up for the first two rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship at Brands Hatch, Kent, at the weekend. The evocative flat-six, rear-engined 450 hp sports cars thrilled spectators around the 1.2 mile Indy circuit and set the scene for a thrilling season’s motor sport.
Richard Plant started his second season in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship with victory in round one at Brands Hatch on Saturday (31 March), after Michael Meadows was penalised five seconds for running wide at Graham Hill Bend. Both drivers turned in fine performances to head the field with Meadows staying just clear of his rival before his penalty dropped him to third in the final results behind Plant and Jonas Gelzinis. Derek Pierce shot into the lead of Pro-Am1 from the start and was never headed while Will Goff bagged Pro-Am2 after overhauling early leader Tania Mann.
Meadows (Banbury) converted pole into a first corner lead and that was where he stayed for 34 laps as Plant (Sheffield) chased relentlessly. The gap was never much more than a second, although Meadows jumped clear after an early Safety Car caution period. Plant battled back to chase the leader and ran within half a second all the way to the chequered flag.
For Plant, his first Carrera Cup victory was a landmark result. “I wanted to keep with Michael because he’s one of the fastest guys on the grid. It’s hard to come into such a challenging Championship and get your first win so I couldn’t ask for more,” said Plant. “Disappointing,” said Meadows afterwards with some understatement after an otherwise faultless drive. “I wasn’t in any trouble: I’ll just try again tomorrow.”
Gelzinis (Lithuania) had chased Meadows and Plant for lap after lap and took over second place when Meadows was penalised. Gelzinis was kept busy holding fourth-placed Sam Tordoff (Leeds) at bay, who in turn had moved up to fourth when Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield) suffered a puncture and spun out on lap 11. Ben Barker (Cambridge) wrapped up the top five from Glynn Geddie (Aberdeen).
Pierce (West Kilbride) shot into the Pro-Am1 lead with a strong start that put him ahead of Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman). When Michael Leonard (Ireland) dived ahead of Al Harthy into Clearways corner, Pierce was able to consolidate his advantage. “Job done! I made a mega start. Michael gave me a hard time for a few laps after the Safety Car, and then I just kept it clean,” said Pierce after finishing four seconds clear. Meanwhile, Al Harthy battled to find a way around Leonard, who defended vigorously to retain second. “I didn’t get one minute to chill out!” said Leonard.
Pro-Am1 boiled down to a battle between Goff (Dereham) and Mann (Shenfield) after an early clash between Tautvydas Barstys (Lithuania) and Jean Glorieux (Belgium). Mann led the early laps, but Goff then edged ahead and pulled clear for a debut victory. Mann finished second, despite a late pit stop when she thought she had picked up a puncture. “That was a good race,” said Goff after an excellent drive. Mann accumulated vital race experience on her Carrera Cup debut; “It was hard work, but I’m glad to get the first race under my belt.”
Round One results:
Pro category: 1 Richard Plant; 2 Jonas Gelzinis; 3 Michael Meadows
Pro-Am1 category: 1 Derek Pierce; 2 Michael Leonard; 3 Ahmad Al Harthy
Pro-Am2 category: 1 Will Goff; 2 Tania Mann
Meadows scored a resounding victory in round two of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB on Sunday (1 April) with a faultless drive, as Carrera Cup Scholarship driver Daniel Lloyd drove a great race to lead the pursuit and take second.
Meadows came back in style to win round two after leading from the starting lights to the chequered flag. Both Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 provided first time victories as Oly Mortimer (Edinburgh) and Barstys took advantage of other drivers’ problems to head their respective categories in an action-packed race.
Meadows swept ahead from the start, with Lloyd slotting into a second place position he would hold for the duration of the race. The gap between them was seldom more than a second, and Meadows had to deal with two Safety Car periods before finally taking the win. i
“It wasn’t easy, but it was comfortable,” said Meadows, after a drive that saw him take the Championship lead and underline his position as early season pacesetter. “Daniel was always there, but as long as I didn’t make a mistake I was okay.”
Lloyd starred with a great performance to take second on his debut race weekend in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. “It’s been an amazing weekend,” he said. “I’m just glad we came back strongly today,” he added. “34 laps round here is tough, so I’m very pleased.”
Gelzinis and Tordoff made up a close-knit leading quartet and were always ready to pounce if either Meadows or Lloyd made a mistake. Barker netted a superb fifth place after a mighty recovery drive following a first corner knock sent him down to 13th. However, out of luck was round one winner Plant who was given a drive through penalty for a false start, but he scythed back through the field to take seventh place behind Chris Dymond (Towcester).
With round one Pro-Am1 winner Pierce out at the first corner after a clash, Al Harthy fought ahead of Leonard and went on to win on the road. However, a five second penalty for running wide at Graham Hill Bend cost Al Harthy victory and dropped him to third. Consequently, Mortimer took over to win with George Brewster (Edinburgh) right behind.
“I didn’t expect that: I’m over the moon,” said Mortimer, who has stepped up to Carrera Cup this year after winning the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge in 2011. Meanwhile, Brewster won the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award for scoring his first Pro-Am1 podium after a trying weekend. Team Parker Racing earned the ‘Team of the Weekend’ award.
The contest for Pro-Am2 featured changing fortunes and included a clash at Druids when Goff and Mann touched and spun. Mann later ended her race in the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, and it was Glorieux who headed the pack over the line. But he was also penalised five seconds for running wide and dropped to third, leaving Barstys to claim victory after holding off the challenging Goff.
Round Two results:
Pro category: 1 Michael Meadows; 2 Daniel Lloyd; 3 Jonas Gelzinis
Pro-Am1 category: 1 Oly Mortimer; 2 George Brewster; 3 Ahmad Al Harthy
Pro-Am2 category: 1 Tautvydas Barstys; 2 Will Goff; 3 Jean Glorieux
Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship points after round two:
Pro category: 1 Michael Meadows, 39; 2 Jonas Gelzinis, 34; 3 Richard Plant 30
Pro-Am1 category: 1 Ahmad Al Harthy, 15; 2 Oly Mortimer, 12; 3 George Brewster, 10
Pro-Am2 category: 1 Will Goff, 20; 2 Tania Mann, 11; 3 Tautvydas Barstys 10
The next round of the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship is at Donington Park, Leicestershire, on April 14/15.