Hanafin in three-way Porsche title fight with one round to go

Donington Park weekend sends championship battles down to the wire

Porsche Carrera Cup GB – the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK – arrived at Donington Park for the penultimate weekend of the season. Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) and Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) were separated by just three points in what would prove a crucial weekend in deciding the 2021 championship. The weekend was also notable for the arrival of Am category newcomer Ian Humphris (Valluga Racing) who progresses up the Porsche Motorsport GB pyramid from Porsche Visit Cayman Islands Sprint Challenge GB.

Thursday’s practice sessions took place in dry conditions. The morning’s track time was interrupted by a red flag period but saw Porsche GB Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) emerge on top closely followed by Hanafin and Cammish. The battle to head Pro-Am was also a tight affair – Micah Stanley (Team Redline Racing) was the category pacesetter with Charles Rainford (CCK Motorsport) and Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) separated by just 0.061. David Shaw (G-Cat Racing) was quickest in Am. 

The weekend’s second Practice session took place on Thursday afternoon and was interrupted by two red flag periods. King continually improved throughout the session – his best lap of 1:06.019 the fastest of the day and enough to fend-off the advances of Hanafin and Cammish. Stanley and Nathan Harrison (Team HARD) traded quick times in Pro-Am but Stanley ended the session ahead once again. Am category championship leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) topped Am. 

Following Friday’s rest day, qualifying took place on Saturday afternoon in dry conditions. Hanafin was quick early on but King soon set the fastest time and then improved upon it to secure the eighth pole position of his Porsche racing career. Rookie Stanley emerged ahead in Pro-Am while a close fight in Am saw Sherwood beat newcomer Humphris – provisional Porsche Visit Cayman Islands Sprint Challenge GB Am category champion. 

Sunday’s first race saw King complete a lights-to-flag victory – his third of the season. Hanafin, Cammish and Jewiss all gave chase but a time penalty for Hanafin near the end of the race resulted in Cammish and Jewiss completing the Pro category podium. An exciting Pro-Am category battle involving four cars saw Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) take category victory on the road, but a post-race penalty put Stanley ahead. Sherwood secured his ninth Am win of the season.

The weekend’s second race was again packed with close and exciting racing in all three categories. Jewiss emerged ahead following a five-way fight for overall victory, joined on the Pro podium by Josh Malin (Richardson Racing) and Cammish. Stanley tasted the Pro-Am podium champagne once more with Stanton taking his second Am category win of 2021. With his strong points haul at Donington Park, Jewiss was crowned provisional Rookie champion.

Qualifying 
Saturday afternoon’s 30-minute qualifying session took place in dry conditions. Hanafin was the early leader with a benchmark time of 1:05.678, but Jewiss soon pipped him with a lap time of 1:05.608. In the Pro-Am category Harrison initially led Ratcliffe from Jake Rattenbury (Team Redline Racing), but by the halfway point of the session Stanley was ahead in the category battle. Justin Armstrong (Team Parker) was the fastest Am in the first half of the session with newcomer Humphris and teammate Lucky Khera (Valluga Racing) behind.

In the second half of qualifying King moved to the top of the timesheet with a 1:05.414, then soon improved with a 1:05.257 – enough to secure the eighth pole position of his Porsche racing career. King would be joined on the front row by teammate Jewiss with championship rivals Hanafin and Cammish just behind on row two. Stanley maintained his pace from Thursday to end the session ahead in Pro-Am with Sherwood top in Am.

Following the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format, King earned two championship points with his pole position, as did the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Stanley and Sherwood.

Race one
The first of the weekend’s two 23 lap races took place on Sunday morning in dry and sunny autumnal conditions. King and Hanafin made the best starts on the inside of the track, while Jewiss and Cammish were slow away from the outside of the grid, leaving King ahead of Hanafin from Jewiss into Redgate. In Pro-Am, Harrison emerged ahead on the opening lap with Stanley second and Pepe Massot (JTR) third in category. Sherwood maintained his advantage in Am with Armstrong and David Shaw (G-Cat Racing) giving chase. Jamie Orton (JTR) found himself on the grass on the opening lap, relegating him to the back of the pack.

During the early laps of the race a close Pro-Am category fight developed between a handful of drivers. Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) and Rainford initially dueled before Ratcliffe assumed third behind leaders Harrison and Stanley. Just behind, Rainford applied pressure to Massot while Josh Caygill (Team Redline Racing) and Rattenbury fought for fourth position in category. On lap eight a developing fight between Jewiss, Cammish and Will Martin (Richardson Racing) for third reached boiling point as Jewiss was forced to go defensive. Cammish found a way by while Martin – also in the mix – picked up damage that would ultimately cause his retirement from the race two laps later.

On lap 11 Stanley was still ahead in Pro-Am but coming under increasing pressure from Ratcliffe in second. Ratcliffe closed on Stanley as part of a five-car train running nose-to-tail; Stanley, Ratcliffe, Will Bratt (Comline Richardson Racing), Harrison and Rainford. On lap 14 Ratcliffe challenged Stanley into Redgate to grab the category lead, but one lap later he received notification of a start line infringement that would be investigated after the race.

On the final lap Hanafin received a five second penalty for track limits, that left the order at the front on corrected time King from Cammish and Jewiss. King’s victory was his third of the season, Cammish took his eighth podium result of 2021 while Jewiss stood on the podium for the sixth time in his Porsche racing career. Ratcliffe took the flag first in Pro-Am with his investigation pending, joined on the category podium by Stanley and Harrison. Sherwood, Armstrong and Khera formed the Am category podium. 

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, King (Pro), Ratcliffe (Pro-Am) and Stanton (Am) each received one additional championship point. As part of the 2021 podium procedure, winner King selected at random the number five ball, which reversed the grid positions of the top five overall race finishers from round 14.

Following the race Stanley was docked two championship points for an incident with Ratcliffe. Rainford was docked two championship points for an incident with Massot. Ratcliffe was handed a 10-second penalty for a false start – that made the Pro-Am category result Stanley from Harrison and Rainford with Ratcliffe relegated to fourth. 

Following the reversal of the top five overall race finishers from Round 13 that made the front row for Sunday’s second race Malin, Hanafin, Jewiss, Cammish and King.

Race two
Round 14 took place on Sunday afternoon in dry conditions. When the lights went out Cammish, Hanafin and King made good starts, though Malin maintained his lead into the first corner. At the exit of Redgate King got by Cammish for fourth and slotted in behind his teammate Jewiss who was running third. As the front runners jostled for position, Hanafin attacked Malin for the race lead at the Roberts chicane but to no avail.

As the drivers started their second lap Malin ran wide at Redgate which resulted in a three-way battle for first between Malin, Hanafin and Jewiss. Jewiss was able to capitalise – he got a run to snatch the lead with Malin now second and Hanafin third. The Pro-Am and Am category battles were equally intense. Stanley initially led Rainford from Harrison while in Am, Sherwood headed Armstrong from Khera. A multiple car battle in Pro-Am saw Ratcliffe and Caygill engaged in a very close fight for position, with Massot running wide at Redgate.

On lap five King mounted a challenge on Hanafin at the Roberts chicane but emerged onto the Wheatcroft Straight on the grass, allowing Cammish to pass him. The order was now Jewiss from Malin with Hanafin third, Cammish up to fourth and King fifth. When Am driver Armstrong ran wide at McLeans, Stanton was able overtake for second and Khera moved up to third in category as a result. 

A five-car train consisting of Jewiss, Malin, Hanafin, Cammish and King led the field. On lap 11 Cammish moved to the inside of Hanafin at Redgate and got by, King then went to the inside of Hanafin at Schwantz Curve, Hanafin got back alongside through King was ahead before the end of the lap. On lap 13 Sherwood spun at the hairpin ending his race, shortly followed by Caygill’s exit at Redgate. The order in Pro-Am was now Stanley from Ratcliffe and Harrison. 

In the closing stages of the race Malin produced a staunch defence of his position against Cammish. Try as he might, there was no way through for the former double champion. Jewiss took the flag to secure his fourth win of the season – giving the Rookie more race wins in 2021 than any other driver. Malin equaled his best ever finish in second with Cammish completing the Pro category podium in third. Stanley took Pro-Am honours, joined on the category podium by Ratcliffe and Harrison. Stanton, Khera and Armstrong comprised the Am category podium.

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Malin (Pro), Ratcliffe (Pro-Am) and Armstrong (Am) each received one additional championship point. Following the race Rattenbury was handed a 10-second penalty for contact with Rainford, reversing their finishing positions.

Following the penultimate weekend of the season Jewiss has now been crowned provisional Rookie champion for 2021 and Team Parker Racing provisional Teams champion. Cammish takes a narrow points advantage over Hanafin into the final weekend of the season with Jewiss not far behind and King the final driver in mathematical contention in fourth. It is similarly close in Am between championship leader Sherwood and Armstrong – just ten points separate the pair with dropped scores taken into account. The championship travels to its final weekend of the season at Brands Hatch in a fortnight. 

Championship positions*

Overall:
Dan Cammish Redline Racing 109
Lorcan Hanafin JTR 102 
Kiern Jewiss Team Parker Racing 95

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