Hanafin and Jewiss win as championship fight intensifies
Porsche Carrera Cup GB – the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK – traveled to Oulton Park for its third weekend of the 2021 season. The Cheshire circuit’s 2.2 mile Island configuration is a favourite with drivers in all three categories thanks to its undulating nature and mix of challenging corners with little room for error.
Following an ongoing investigation and judicial hearing by the Clerk of the Course, Colin Oakley, into two remaining incidents from the Brands Hatch weekend, Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) was docked a total of four championship points and four category points for his incidents with Porsche GB Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) and Jamie Orton (JTR) in round four. This promoted Rookie Kiern Jewiss (Team Parker Racing) to the Pro category championship lead as the grid arrived in Cheshire.
Friday’s first practice session was conducted in wet weather conditions, the day’s second session in dry conditions. Lewis Plato (Valluga Racing) was fastest during the morning’s wet session while the afternoon’s dry running saw a resumption of the fight for supremacy between King and Cammish. King emerged ahead in the day’s combined times by just 0.120secs from Cammish. Rookie Micah Stanley (Team Redline Racing) was the top Pro-Am category driver while Justin Sherwood (Team Parker) topped Am.
Saturday morning’s qualifying session took place in wet conditions, Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) coming out on top after posting a time narrowly ahead of Cammish with King starting seventh on the grid. Micah Stanley (Team Redline Racing) continued his practice form to emerge as the highest placed Pro-Am driver in qualifying just ahead of Jake Rattenbury (Team Redline Racing). Justin Armstrong (Team Parker) had the measure of Am category championship leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker) and would start the weekend’s first race ahead of his rival.
Hanafin produced a calm and controlled race to take a lights-to-flag victory in round five, in doing so becoming the first repeat winner of 2021. Drama came when Cammish was relegated down the order from second on the road via a time penalty which was later rescinded, while Will Martin (Richardson Racing), King and Plato engaged in a hard-fought battle for the remaining podium places. In the closely contested Pro-Am category, Stanley emerged ahead while in Am Justin Sherwood’s unbroken record of wins came to an end when Armstrong clinched category victory.
Sunday’s race was interrupted by an early Safety Car period, but when racing got underway again a thrilling fight developed between the top five drivers. Jewiss turned his reverse grid pole position into overall victory, but behind him an action-packed battle between Plato, Martin, King and Cammish raged for a number of laps to the delight of spectators. Ratcliffe triumphed over Stanley in Pro-Am while Sherwood retuned to his winning ways in Am.
In line with the latest government guidance, Oulton Park marked the return of a full capacity crowd for the first time at a TOCA event this season. In the paddock Porsche welcomed guests to its hospitality unit for the first time since 2019, displayed a range of Porsche road cars and conducted behind the scenes paddock tours providing unique insight into the championship.
Wet conditions for Saturday morning’s 30 minute qualifying session saw all 19 drivers take to the track on grooved wet weather Michelin tyres. Cammish was the early pacesetter fending off challenges from Lewis Plato (Valluga Racing), King, Martin and Hanafin. In tricky weather conditions the Pro-Am battle was led by Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) with Stanley and Nathan Harrison (Team HARD) giving chase. As the drivers approached the mid point of the session, Am was headed by Armstrong.
Rain persisted during the second half of the session. With 10 minutes left on the clock the drivers returned to the circuit on fresh wet weather tyres. Hanafin was the first to lay down a benchmark time (1:30.436) only for it to be beaten almost immediately by Cammish (1:30.300). With less than two minutes of the session remaining Hanafin improved, moving 0.027 secs clear of Cammish to secure his second pole position of the season. Stanley ended the morning ahead in Pro-Am qualifying just 0.048 secs ahead of category rival Jake Rattenbury (Team Redline Racing). Armstrong maintained good form throughout the session to end up ahead in the Am category battle.
Following the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format, Hanafin earned two championship points with his pole position, the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Stanley and Armstrong – also received two points each.
The weekend’s first race took place on Saturday afternoon in dry conditions. An even getaway at the start saw Hanafin lead Cammish into the first corner. Jewiss got ahead of Martin on the opening lap for third place while King made up two spots to sit fifth by the end of the first lap. In the Pro-Am fight, Rookie Stanley maintained his category lead from Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) and Rattenbury. In Am, the qualifying order remained at the start with Armstrong leading Sherwood from Josh Stanton (Team HARD). On the second lap King mounted a pass on Martin for fourth at Hilltop, but Martin would repass King on the following lap at Island bend to restore their original running order.
On lap five King moved to the outside of Martin through Old Hall Corner to retake fourth spot – this time making it stick – which allowed Plato to close in on the battling pair ahead, leaving King, Martin and Plato running in close formation. Shortly afterwards 10 second penalties were handed to Cammish and Charles Rainford (CCK Motorsport) for being out of position at the start of the race. Despite running second on the road, Cammish was therefore relegated to seventh on corrected time leaving the order at the front of the race as Hanafin, Jewiss and Martin. An off-track excursion at Lodge for Rattenbury saw him tumbling down the order and made the Pro-Am top three Stanley from Ratcliffe and Nathan Harrison (Team HARD).
On lap 16 Martin got ahead of Jewiss at the hairpin, King then closed onto the rear bumper of his teammate with just two laps to go. On the penultimate lap King made a dive up the inside of Jewiss at the hairpin for the final podium position making contact on his way through. Jewiss was soon under siege from Plato who got a run on the final lap through Deer Leap and just got a nose ahead at the line – the pair were separated by just 0.035 secs for a photo finish. Stanley crossed the line to take his second Pro-Am victory of 2021, joined on the category podium by Ratcliffe and Harrison. Armstrong was chased home by Sherwood, crossing the line 0.355 secs ahead of the category championship leader to take his maiden Am victory – bringing Sherwood’s unbroken winning streak to an end. Stanton completed the Am category podium.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Cammish (Pro), Rattenbury (Pro-Am) and Armstrong (Am) each received one additional championship point. As part of the 2021 podium procedure, winner Hanafin selected at random the number five ball, which reversed the grid positions of the top five overall race finishers from round five. Following the race Cammish had his 10 second time penalty rescinded, promoting him to second place. King was handed a two-place position penalty for his incident with Jewiss relegating him to sixth. Following the reversal of the top five overall race finishers from round five that made the front row for Sunday’s race Jewiss from Plato, Martin, Cammish, and Hanafin.
The weekend’s second race took place on Sunday afternoon in dry conditions, getting underway later than expected due to a delay in the day’s schedule. At the start of the race Jewiss maintained his position off the line to lead the cars into the first corner from Plato. Hanafin made a challenge but emerged from Old Hall on the grass, sliding down the hill and making contact with an innocent Will Bratt (Comline Richardson Racing) at Cascades – both drivers retired from the race. The two stranded cars called the Safety Car into action while their recovery was implemented.
At the restart 14 minutes of racing remained of the now time-limited race. A close battle soon developed between Pro-Am category leader Ratcliffe and challenger Stanley with Harrison running third. Am category leader Armstrong left the circuit at Island before rejoining, making the Am order Sherwood from Stanton and Armstrong. With nine minutes left on the clock Rainford slipped down the order, he rejoined but would later make a pit stop putting him at the back of the pack.
A thrilling fight at the front between the top five of Jewiss, Plato, Martin, King and Cammish soon reached boiling point. Martin looked to pass Plato at the hairpin which backed Cammish into the chasing King, allowing King to get to the outside of his rival at the Hislops chicane but to no avail. As the cars entered their next lap Plato defended from Martin into Old Hall Corner which slowed Martin, this gave Cammish a run on him to the outside at the hairpin. Sensing an opportunity, King moved alongside Cammish and Martin as the four cars squabbled for position. The fight was resolved at Clay Hill as King passed Cammish in a brave move before tucking in behind Martin in fourth place. With six minutes of racing remaining Cammish tried to come back at King with a move at the hairpin on the next lap, but King stayed ahead.
Taking advantage of the fighting behind, Jewiss found himself with a comfortable 2.2 second lead at the front with Plato and Martin settling into second and third places respectively. In the final minutes of the race the closest battle on track was between Stanton and Harrison for second in Pro-Am, Harrison closed on his rival but could not find a route through. On the final lap Martin challenged Plato at Lodge for second spot but Plato stayed ahead at the checkered flag.
Jewiss crossed the line to take the second victory of his Porsche racing career, Plato and Martin joined him on the Pro category podium. Ratcliffe clinched victory in Pro-Am from Stanley and Harrison. Sherwood retuned to the top step of the Am category podium with Stanton second and Armstrong third. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Cammish (Pro), Ratcliffe (Pro-Am) and Armstrong (Am) each received one additional championship point. Following the race Martin was deducted two championship points for an incident with King on lap 11.
Porsche Carrera Cup GB makes its annual trip north to Knockhill in Scotland on the weekend of 14-15 August for rounds seven and eight of the championship – the circuit a firm favourite with drivers and fans alike. As the half way point of the season approaches, the championship battles in all three categories are growing in intensity with everything to play for and little to choose between the drivers.
Kiern Jewiss Team Parker Racing 45
Lorcan Hanafin JTR 44
Dan Cammish Redline Racing 44
Ryan Ratcliffe Team Parker 55
Micah Stanley Team Redline Racing 47
Nathan Harrison Team HARD 38
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 65
Justin Armstrong Team Parker Racing 53
Josh Stanton Team HARD 37