Brands Hatch 2006

Watts takes Carrera Cup pole at Brands

Media release: 23 September 2006

Danny Watts clinched pole position by just two-hundredths of a second during qualifying for round 17 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch today (Saturday, 23 September).

As less than a second covered the top eleven drivers, Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line Racing) headed the times in a very busy session, which was red flagged and then re-started for a final three minutes after Paul Hogarth (IN2RACING) spun into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend.

"Traffic management was the most important thing today," admitted Watts. "I made sure I got a clear run as getting pole is vital round here," he added of the 1.2-mile Indy circuit. Right behind Watts was Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance). "Two-hundredths off pole is okay, but the times are slower than when we were here in April. Maybe the track is still a bit green after all the rain yesterday," suggested Harvey.

Very close to the times of Watts and Harvey was championship leader Damien Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS). "We had the pace but were just unlucky," said Faulkner. "I came in for tyres just at the quickest point of the session." Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) was fourth fastest and like many, tried to improve further in the three-minute scramble when the session restarted. However, he remained fourth from Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) and IN2RACING pair Richard Williams and James Pickford. "It was a bit of a scrappy session," said Williams, while Pickford was busy gathering dry weather experience after the very wet conditions of Friday's test session.

Eighth overall and fastest in the pro-am category was Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing). "It's good to be on the class pole and I'll try and get ahead of a couple of the pro drivers at the start," he said. A late charge from Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance) took him up to second in the pro-am category at the expense of Mike Richards (IN2RACING). "We've got some understeer and we'll try and change that for the race. I didn't really get a lap I was happy with in qualifying," said Richards.

Andy Purdie (RH Motorsport with Paragon) was fourth in pro-am, but was also planning to make some changes to his car before the race. "The lack of dry testing yesterday cost us the chance to try out what we wanted," explained Purdie. David Ashburn (Trackspeed) and Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) completed the top six of the pro-am category.

Watts takes Carrera Cup round 17 at Brands

Media release: 23 September 2006

Danny Watts cinched another victory in round 17 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch today (Saturday, 23 September), but only after withstanding race-long pressure from Tim Harvey and Damien Faulkner as the leading trio ran nose-to-tail for much of the 34-lap race.

Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line) knew that if he could convert pole position into a first-corner lead, he would be difficult to beat and that set the tone for an absorbing race. With Harvey (Motorbase Performance) and Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) right on his tail, Watts knew it was going to be a tough 34-lap race. Meanwhile, in the opening laps, Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance), Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS), Mike Richards (IN2RACING with totalamber) and Richard Williams (IN2RACING) went with the leaders to make a stunning seven-car train.

Even after the first 15 laps, the top three were still running neck and neck as a small gap opened up to the rest. "It was really hard work! I had to look after the tyres over the first half of the race and it paid dividends," said Watts after managing to edge away over the second half of the race. But even at the end of 34 flat-out laps, the winning gap was still only 1.2 seconds.

"The first 15 or 20 laps was a bit of a status quo," said Harvey. "After that we lost a little bit of tyre performance," he added. However, in finishing ahead of Faulkner by a third of a second, Harvey pegged back two points in the title race against Faulkner. In truth, Faulkner had elected not to take any major chances in challenging Harvey for second. "I'm leading the championship and that's what I'm trying to preserve," he admitted. "Tim made the odd mistake, but nothing I could capitalise on."

Caine and Templeman both had strong runs to finish fourth and fifth, and were almost alongside over the line as Templeman launched a late attack. Meanwhile, Richards drove a mighty race to fend off team mate Williams and score a convincing pro-am category victory. "I had a bit of a moment at Druids and lost touch with Jason Templeman. So I just decided to hold station. Once these guys are gone, you won't get them back!" said a delighted Richards after one of his best Carrera Cup drives to date.

Behind Williams, Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing) had a relatively lonely run to eighth overall and second in pro-am, having lost a couple places off the start. Third in pro-am went to Andy Purdie (RH Motorsport with Paragon), who had to work ahead of Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) and David Ashburn (Trackspeed) after a slow start.

Behind Purdie, a four-way battle raged for the next pro-am places as Rice fended off Jason Young (Red Line Racing), Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance) and Ashburn. After a first-lap spin at Druids, Quaife fought back into contention and passed Ashburn only to suffer a late-race puncture. He finally limped over the line in thirteenth place to salvage important pro-am category points.

Watts takes win; Faulkner takes title

Media release: 24 September 2006

While Danny Watts cinched another victory in round 18 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch today (Sunday, 24 September), Damien Faulkner secured the overall championship title by finishing a close second.

The opening laps of the race really settled the season-long championship battle. Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line) again converted pole position into a first corner lead from Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance), but Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) then squeezed ahead of Harvey into Clearways. "I saw him make a lunge and gave him room," said Harvey. The cars made slight contact and half a lap later Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) edged Harvey back to fourth on the run up hill out of Paddock. Suddenly, things were not looking good for Harvey, but then came three laps behind the safety car after Maxi Jazz (Red Line Racing) spun into the gravel at Druids.

At the restart, Harvey ran wide onto the grass at Graham Hill Bend as a front puncture – a legacy of the contact with Faulkner – became apparent. Harvey limped to the pits for a wheel change, but his final championship hopes were gone. "The contact took the valve out of the tyre and also bent the steering. It's a shame; I wanted the championship to go down to the wire," added Harvey.

Now, it was Watts, Faulkner and Templeman clear at the front of the pack and they raced to the flag in close formation, with Watts scoring win number 10 and Faulkner clinching the title. "That's another perfect weekend," said Watts. "I wanted to bounce back from Knockhill with a couple of wins!"

Faulkner, too, had realized his ambition for the weekend. "Absolutely fantastic," he said. "It's just brilliant to wrap the title up here and I'm just overwhelmed. It'll take a day or two to sink in that we've won back-to-back titles," he said. "I was prepared to risk things a bit more today, but there was nothing I could do about Danny," he added.

Templeman had also enjoyed a strong race. "I got a good started and dispatched Tim nicely. Then it was a matter of staying behind Damien," said Jason. Behind the leading trio, Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) and Richard Williams (IN2RACING) battled for fourth and Caine was unlucky to lose the place at Paddock as the rejoining Harvey inadvertently held up his team mate. By the end of the race, Williams and Caine had been caught by James Pickford (IN2RACING) after a mighty charge up the field from the back of the grid.

Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing) was a dominant pro-am winner on the road, having run with Williams and Caine for much of the race. "I was glad to see the flag," explained Edwards. "I had a big vibration over the last two laps and I really had to slow down."

However, Edwards was later excluded from the results for a technical infringement and so Andy Purdie (RH Motorsport with Paragon) and Jason Young (Red Line Racing) moved up to first and second in pro-am after excellent races, while Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) raced hard to fend off Mike Richards (IN2RACING), Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance) and David Ashburn (Trackspeed) after a race-long battle. Richards recovered strongly from a first-lap spin at Druids, but could not depose the defiant Rice. However, after his fine pro-am win on Saturday, Richards earned the driver of the weekend award.