Tim Harvey takes Porsche Carrera Cup title at Brands
There was disaster for poleman Tim Bridgman (Stansted) in round 19 as the grid assembled when a broken driveshaft put him out. Instead, Harvey (Oxford) dived into the lead off the line as Caine (Newmarket) grabbed second from Sam Hancock (London) on the race to the first corner. Now Harvey faced 33 laps with his title rival filling his mirrors, and the gap ranged from around a second to just a few inches as they reeled off the laps, and started working through the slower traffic.
“I just got my head down and tried to win the race,” said Harvey. But mid-race, a problem developed, highlighted by a warning light, and he began to lose engine revs over the closing stages. Meanwhile, Caine started preparing for a last lap attack, recognising that his best chance was under braking for Clearways. “The car had good pace, but Michael would have got past,” said Harvey after the race. But, with seven laps to run, the race was red flagged when Ollie Jackson (Reigate) spun into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend.
“The red flag helped me a lot,” admitted Harvey. “It didn’t happen and it’s unfortunate,” countered Caine. “But we’re still here,” he said of the title race. Hancock ran third all the way, but could not challenge the leading pair. “We made a massive change to the car, but the gap to the guys in front was the same,” he said. Running right behind Hancock to the finish with an excellent drive was Jake Rosenzweig (London) after battling ahead of Phil Quaife (Tonbridge) early in the race.
Into a fighting sixth place, despite race-long pressure from Charles Bateman (Boston) came Rice (Beverley), with a performance that gives him a real shot of clinching the Pro-Am1 title in the final race. “We’re only one or two points behind now,” said Rice as his Pro-Am1 rival Tony Gilham (Dartford) fought through to eighth overall and second in Pro-Am1.
In the Pro-Am2 category, Michael Leonard (Ireland) had to work very hard for victory, having lost a lot of places when edged wide onto the grass at Druids as Gilham overtook. But with Glynn Geddie (Aberdeen) and Paul Hogarth (Knutsford) both spinning after contact at Clearways, Leonard was able to recover lost places to win the category from Geddie, Hogarth and Graeme Mundy (Salisbury).
“I’ve been very close to this title before,” said Harvey after winning the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship title on Sunday. “I haven’t enjoyed my racing as much in years; the Porsche 911 race cars are great and the competition is brilliant,” he added after seeing off the title challenge of Caine. Having finished championship runner-up three times in the previous four seasons, it was an emotional result for Harvey at the end of a tough season of racing.
Rice, meanwhile, retained the Pro-Am1 title in the final race after a fighting drive to seventh overall to finally overtake Gilham in the title contest. While Rice earned the ‘driver of the weekend’ award, Red Line Racing was announced as the ‘team of the weekend’.
Bridgman was the dominant race winner, converting pole position into a lead that he held for every lap of the race. With Harvey running second, and content to drive a measured race knowing that title rival Caine was behind, Bridgman was untroubled, even when his five-second lead was lost as the Safety Car came out.
The Safety Car was needed after Leonard spun at Clearways and the closely following Geddie and Pippa Mann (Ipswich) could not avoid the spinning car. Gilham was very lucky to avoid Leonard and escaped the incident with a damaged door. But with three cars damaged, the Safety Car came out while the track was cleared.
From the restart, Bridgman swept clear once more and rebuilt his lead to over three seconds at the flag. “I wanted to dominate this race; I feel that I deserve more than I’ve had this season and I really wanted to prove it,” said Bridgman after an emphatic victory.
Second place was more than enough for Harvey to be confirmed as Champion, while Caine was third and an ever-present shadow for Harvey. “The pace of the car has been good and the support I’ve had from my sponsors has been tremendous,” said Caine after a superb season. Jota Sport drivers Hancock and Quaife were fourth and fifth, but Quaife had to battle back in front of Rosenzweig later in the race after a long tussle.
Rice raced hard to take the Pro-Am1 crown after a dogged chase of Gilham in the points’ table and finally went narrowly ahead in the concluding race of the season. “I suppose I should concentrate a bit harder at the start of the season,” joked Rice after having to claw back a major points’ deficit. Gilham took second in Pro-Am1, while Ray MacDowell (Carlisle) joined them on the podium.
The incident that eliminated Leonard and Geddie left the Pro-Am2 category to Jackson after an excellent drive to fend off Hogarth and Mundy.