Porsche Carrera Cup GB – the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK – headed north for its annual trip to Knockhill in Scotland. The rollercoaster 1.2-mile circuit is a firm favourite with drivers and fans alike as it frequently delivers thrilling racing. In line with the latest Scottish government guidance Knockhill welcomed a capacity crowd to the British Touring Car Championship weekend which witnessed two exciting Porsche races that brought the 2021 championship fight closer than ever.
Both of Friday’s practice sessions took place in dry and overcast conditions with the threat of rain in the air. Following the majority of the grid taking part in a Porsche exclusive test on Wednesday, the drivers completed further laps on Friday though both sessions were interrupted by red flag periods. Porsche GB Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) topped both practice sessions but he was run close by Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) – just 0.062 secs split the pair in second practice. The Pro-Am category was headed by Nathan Harrison (Team HARD) who was closely matched by Jake Rattenbury (Team Redline Racing). Rookie Josh Stanton (Team HARD) was the quickest Am driver.
Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session was an equally closely contested affair. Will Martin (Richardson Racing) claimed the maiden pole position of his Porsche racing career, joined on the front row of the grid by Hanafin with King third. Charles Rainford (CCK Motorsport) topped Pro-Am, narrowly beating Harrison and Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker). Justin Sherwood (Team Parker) would start round seven as the highest placed Am category driver.
On Sunday, Hanafin snatched the lead of the weekend’s first race on the opening lap, maintaining a comfortable cushion ahead of a chasing King to claim his third win of the 2021 season – assuming the lead in the Pro category championship at the same time. Rainford continued his good form from qualifying to take the second Pro-Am category victory of his Porsche racing career. Sherwood recorded his sixth Am category win to extend his points advantage, rivals Justin Armstrong (Team Parker) and Stanton engaged in a closely fought battle for the remaining podium places.
Sunday’s second race was interrupted by two Safety Car periods allowing King to race to the front of the pack for his first win of the 2021 season. King was joined on the podium by Rookies Josh Malin (Richardson Racing) and Dan Cammish (Redline Racing). A maiden Pro-Am category win for Jake Rattenbury (Team Redline Racing) delighted the Welshman while Sherwood added another Am category victory to his impressive tally.
Saturday afternoon’s 30 minute qualifying session took place in sunny, dry conditions. Martin was the early pacesetter with Lewis Plato (Valluga Racing) and Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) keeping him honest at the top of the timesheet. Rainford had the measure of Pro-Am category rivals Harrison and Micah Stanley (Team Redline Racing), while Sherwood initially lapped quicker than fellow Am drivers Stanton and Armstrong. With 15 minutes of the session remaining, Stanton returned to the pits with damage to his car which ended his qualifying session early.
In the second half of the session Kiern Jewiss (Team Parker Racing) recorded the fastest lap of the session, his time was quickly beaten by Porsche GB Junior King before Martin leapt back up the order setting a benchmark time of 48.519. As the drivers competed their final runs, Hanafin improved to second splitting Martin and King, with championship leader Jewiss joining his teammate on the second row of the grid. Rainford cemented his position as the quickest Pro-Am driver by qualifying just ahead of Harrison and Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) – less than one tenth of a second covered the trio at the flag. Sherwood headed the Am category drivers.
Following the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format, Martin earned two championship points with his pole position, the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Rainford and Sherwood – also received two points each.
The first of the weekend’s two races took place on Sunday afternoon in dry, overcast conditions. Polesitter Martin was slightly slow away, allowing Hanafin to overtake him before the first corner while King attempted to replicate the move but was forced to tuck in behind. Josh Caygill (Team Redline Racing) did not get off the grid and was pushed back into the pits. Micah Stanley (Team Redline Racing) made contact with Harrison, the latter spinning into retirement. Further into the opening lap King made side-to-side contact with Martin on his way to snatching second place. Before the end of the first lap Plato found a way by Jewiss for fourth. Plato continued his advance passing Martin for third.
In Pro-Am Rainford maintained his advantage to lead Rattcliffe and Rattenbury. Sherwood heading the Am category fight from Armstrong and Stanton. Up front, a close battle soon developed for fourth between Martin, Jewiss and Cammish, Jewiss coming under increasing pressure from the former double champion. When Martin dipped his wheels on the grass on lap eight he slipped back to seventh – allowing Jewiss and Cammish each to gain a place. Cammish would eventually mount a successful pass on Jewiss on lap 15 and on lap 19 Martin would repass him at McIntyres for fifth spot. However, later in the lap Martin received a five-second penalty for track limits which dropped him back to seventh on corrected time.
At the front of the race King pushed to close the 3.5 second gap to Hanafin, however the race leader quickly responded by upping his pace to maintain a comfortable gap. In the closing stages of the race an exciting dice between Am runners Stanton and Armstrong grew in intensity. Stanton looked to pass several times but the fight was finally resolved when the pair were lapped by the leaders causing them to separate. On lap 26 Martin received a further five-second penalty for track limits dropping him to tenth on corrected time.
Hanafin’s victory was his third of the season, joined on the podium by King and Plato. Pro-Am victory went the way of delighted Rookie Rainford – his second category win of 2021 – with Ratcliffe second and Rattenbury third. Sherwood took his sixth Am category win of the year with Armstrong and Stanton completing the category podium.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Hanafin (Pro), Rainford (Pro-Am) and Sherwood (Am) each received one additional championship point. As part of the 2021 podium procedure, winner Hanafin selected at random the number six ball, which reversed the grid positions of the top six overall race finishers from round seven. Following the race King was handed a penalty of two category points and two championship points for his contact with Martin. Stanley was handed a penalty of two category points and two championship points for his incident with Harrison. Following the reversal of the top six overall race finishers from round seven that made the front row for Sunday’s second race Josh Malin (Richardson Racing) from Jewiss, Cammish, Plato, King and Hanafin.
Round eight took place on Sunday afternoon in dry conditions. The front row starters got away evenly when the lights went out, Malin maintaining his advantage to lead Jewiss and Cammish through Duffus Dip. Ratcliffe ran wide through McIntyre but rejoined down the order at Butchers. That left the Pro-Am category order as Rainford from Rattenbury and Stanley. In Am, Sherwood led Armstrong from Stanton.
As Cammish attacked Jewiss for third he was backed into those behind which gave Plato a run on him across the start line as they began lap four – a move Plato made stick. In unison, Martin got by Hanafin for sixth spot on the approach to the first corner. King was the next driver on the move, he soon mounted a successful challenge on Cammish, the pair running side-by-side before the Junior completed his pass at the hairpin.
On lap six Harrison made a dramatic exit from the race after damaging his car on the run through the chicane. While his stricken car was recovered – and the track cleaned – the Safety Car was scrambled. Under Safety Car conditions Jewiss retired to the pits with an issue, that made the order at the front of the race Malin from Plato and King. At the restart King got by Plato for second position before the Junior began looking for a way by leader Malin, a move he completed through Duffus Dip on lap 14.
On lap 15 the Safety Car was called into action again to recover the stricken cars of Rainford and Armstrong – both had left the circuit in separate incidents. Rainford’s exit made the Pro-Am category order Rattenbury from Stanley and Caygill. In Am, Sherwood led Stanton. At the restart of what would now be a time-limited race, seven minutes remained on the clock. King pulled away at the front while a recovering Ratcliffe passed Caygill for the final Pro-Am category podium spot through Duffus Dip.
In the battle for second place overall Malin came under increasing pressure from Plato, but it was Cammish making up ground, overtaking Plato for third at the final corner and soon afterwards Hanafin got by Martin for fifth. King crossed the line to take his first victory of 2021, followed home by an equally jubilant Malin, Cammish completing the Pro category podium. Rattenbury took his maiden Pro-Am category win, joined on the category podium by Stanley and Ratcliffe. Sherwood and Stanton made up the Am category podium.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Plato (Pro), Rainford (Pro-Am) and Sherwood (Am) each received one additional championship point.
The second half of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB season begins at Croft in North Yorkshire on the weekend of 18-19 September for rounds nine and ten. Hanafin has now assumed the lead of the overall championship, but with little to choose between the top six drivers in the standings the title is very much all to play for.
Lorcan Hanafin JTR 61
Dan Cammish Redline Racing 56
Kiern Jewiss Team Parker Racing 49
Ryan Ratcliffe Team Parker 69
Micah Stanley Team Redline Racing 58
Jake Rattenbury Team Redline Racing 44
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 89
Justin Armstrong Team Parker Racing 61
Josh Stanton Team HARD 51
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