Cruel Luck at Porsche Carrera Cup GB R6 – Donington GP
The championship returned to Donington for R6 and the weather wasn’t much better than the opening round back in April, with heavy rain at various times during the weekend and cold when the sun wasn’t out. This time we were racing on the GP circuit which includes the Foggarty Esses, a chicane taken at high speed and the downhill hairpin part of the Melbourne loop, the first time the Porsches had used this track configuration. The Thursday practice day was fine and dry and I got some good time in the seat but ended up being classified 19th because we didn’t have new tyres to put on at the end of the day, but despite this I was happy with the car setup and knew I could improve in qualifying.
Saturday weather was showery and the radar showed heavy rain for qualifying. But the rain came early and the sun came out and dried the track. On my first qualifying run I only managed to set the 4th quickest Pro Am time, so I pitted, changed tyres and then waited until the track was less busy and went for a second run with just 8 minutes left which gave me time for 2 warmup laps and then 3 flying laps, I moved to 2nd Pro Am on the 1st flying lap and then was quicker on the 2nd when I ran slightly wide on the exit for the chicane, so I slowed and prepared for 1 final lap, I crossed the line with seconds to spare and went on to set my best time that moved me into 1st place in the Pro Am category and 6th overall.
Sunday weather was again very changeable and it rained from about 08:45 for just under an hour, so we lined up for the first race on wet tyres, but the rain had stopped. I made a good start from 6th on the grid gaining a place on the first lap before a safety car period. On the restart I made up another place, the track started to dry and I made a slight mistake into the final hairpin which dropped me to 8th and with my tyres going off I held that until 2 laps from the end when I dropped down to 9th and 2nd in Pro Am, which I was happy with.
For race 2 the weather was dry and starting from 9th, I made a good start but in the scramble at the first corner I got slightly baulked and let 2 of the Pro drivers who started behind me through. There was an immediate safety car to recover a car at turn 1 which lasted for a couple of laps. On the restart I was chasing hard the 3 cars in front of me and as we approached the Foggarty Esses, a chicane with tyre stacks on either side which we take at 100+ mph the car 2 in front of me hit the tyres on the right hand side of the track which dislodged them into the racing line for the car directly in front of me to hit and dislodge further and I had no chance of avoiding them. There was considerable damage to the right hand side of my car and I just managed to crawl back to the pits to retire, my first DNF of the year.
It was cruel luck for me at Donington, I was quick and definitely on for a second podium of the weekend before the incident, but at least I am still leading the Pro Am championship by a slightly increased margin with 4 races to go. Unfortunately because of the damage to the car I missed the Porsche official Silverstone test day on the 29th August, which put me on the back foot for the next round at Silverstone.
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