Croft 2006

Watts takes Carrera Cup pole at Croft

Media release: 15 July 2006

Danny Watts set the pace in qualifying for round nine of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Saturday, 15 July), but only a third of a second covered the top five drivers, opening up the prospect of two excellent races at the North Yorkshire track.

Watts (Team Irwin with Red Line) ran just five laps on his first set of tyres to take pole position and then sat out the balance of the session as his rivals tried to match his time. "We've got two great sets of tyres for the races, so the plan worked," said Watts. "It's all down to me getting the car off the line now. All in all, it was a perfect session." 

However, his rivals were right with Watts by the end of the session, with Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance) lapping just 0.148s slower. "I'm quite happy with that," reported Harvey. "But I think the track got a bit slower on the second run," he added. Having headed the times in testing on Thursday, Damien Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) slipped to third in qualifying, but was still less than a fifth of a second away from Watts.

Making it two cars from Motorbase Performance in the top four was Michael Caine, who qualified fourth, while Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) was fifth. "I ran wide at Sunny on what would have been my best lap," reported Templeman, who may have been even quicker but for that error.

Richard Williams (IN2RACING) was sixth fastest as he rejoined the Carrera Cup after racing in the Porsche Michelin Supercup at Indianapolis, while seventh fastest was Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance), who topped the pro-am category.

Mark Cole (Tech 9 Motorsport) had run in fourth slot early on, but dropped back to eighth in the final times after spinning into the gravel at Clervaux after only four laps. "The car was great, I just broke too late and off I went," admitted Cole. "I definitely could have done a 1m22s lap and the car feels better every time we get in it," he added.

Andy Purdie (Paragon) was second in the pro-am times. "I'm very happy with that. It's nice to start pushing some of the pro drivers," he said. Meanwhile, wrapping up the top 10 was Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing), still only just over a second away from the pole position time.

Watts wins Carrera Cup round nine at Croft

Media release: 15 July 2006

Danny Watts drove a superbly judged race to win round nine of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Saturday, 15 July). Watts got away at the start and was never challenged as title rivals Damien Faulkner and Tim Harvey battled for second and Phil Quaife won the pro-am category.

"I wanted to get it off the line and into the first corner ahead," said Watts. "Then I knew I had the pace to stay ahead." Sure enough, Watts (Team Irwin with Red Line) led the field into Clervaux corner and was able to break away on the first lap as Harvey (Motorbase Performance) and Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) chased in second and third.

It was soon clear that Harvey's hands were full of Faulkner and for 13 laps Harvey withstood tremendous pressure as Faulkner kept his championship rival under intense pressure. But it was not until they braked for Tower on the 13th lap that Faulkner made the decisive move and dived down the inside. "I was very pleased with the move into Tower and Tim gave me the room," said Faulkner.

However, with Watts clear by eight seconds, Faulkner knew that second was the best he could achieve. "It's the championship we're after and Tim's the only one we're really concerned with." Faulkner's team mate Jason Templeman ran fourth in the early laps, but overshot going into the Complex and just nudged the tyre barrier. He resumed, but was down in eleventh place at the flag.

Making it two Motorbase Performance cars in the top four, Michael Caine chased Harvey and Faulkner throughout and almost got close enough to make it a three-way battle. But he was still a couple of seconds adrift of Harvey at the flag as Richard Williams (IN2RACING) also closed in on the leading pack over the final stages of the race.

Mark Cole (Tech 9 Motorsport), having started eighth after spinning into the gravel in qualifying, moved up to sixth at the flag, moving ahead of Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance) on lap 16. Quaife, however, was more concerned with scoring maximum pro-am points and didn't defend too hard when Cole closed in. "It was very hot out there and I had to work hard," said Quaife after extending his pro-am points' lead.

For the first half of the race, Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) ran second in pro-am, and was coming under increasing pressure from Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing). Unfortunately, Rice's race ended on lap 12 when he spun into the gravel at Clervaux. "I just lost it on my own," admitted Rice, as Edwards went through to take a clear second in pro-am. "The car was good and I'm definitely aiming to get Phil tomorrow," promised Edwards of the second race of the weekend. Andy Purdie (Paragon) took third in the pro-am category from David Ashburn (Trackspeed).

Watts completes Carrera Cup double at Croft

Media release: 16 July 2006

Danny Watts completed a fabulous weekend when he won round ten of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Sunday, 16 July). Watts scored his second win of the meeting and his fourth win of the season by leading from start to finish. "It's been the perfect weekend," said Watts. "The team gave me a fantastic car!"

In front of a packed BTCC crowd basking in glorious sunshine, Watts (Team Irwin with Red Line) got the start he wanted to lead into the first corner and in a repeat of the earlier race, moved steadily away from the chasing pack.

Once again, the battle for second place was all about title contenders Damien Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) and Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance). This time, however, Faulkner beat Harvey to the first corner and had to withstand pressure from his rival for many laps before edging away a little. Meanwhile, Harvey had to watch his mirrors for Richard Williams (IN2RACING), who was having a great race to match the pace of Faulkner and Harvey. "We didn't have the ultimate pace to win this weekend," said Faulkner. "But both Tim and I are clearly looking at the bigger picture," he said. With Watts only contesting four race weekends this season, he is not concerned with the season-long championship contest.

Harvey retained third as Williams shadowed him to the flag. "We were all so close together," said Harvey as less than two seconds covered the three cars at the flag. Williams was justifiably pleased to have matched the pace of the established championship front-runners, after tackling two rounds of the Porsche Michelin Supercup in recent weeks. "Doing the Supercup rounds has really paid dividends and we're there now!"

A fine fifth place overall assured Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance) of a pro-am double as he finished ahead of pro racers Mark Cole (Tech 9 Motorsport) and Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS). "I'm absolutely over the moon," said a jubilant Quaife. "I can't ask for much better than that."

When Cole ran wide at the Complex, Templeman was able to nip through to sixth after starting towards the tail of the grid. Once into his stride, Templeman made excellent progress to finish sixth after starting eleventh. Behind Edwards, Andy Purdie (Paragon) was ninth and third in pro-am, but had to withstand tremendous pressure from Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) over the closing laps. "I lost a lot of time when Jason Templeman came by," said Purdie. "But I'm really happy to get another podium result."

Rice, meanwhile, also battled his way up the order after starting 15th. He almost got ahead of Purdie at the Hairpin, but was just three-tenths of a second behind as they raced for the finish line. "I wish it had been a 20-lap race today," said Rice. Behind Rice, Pete Osbourne (Team O) had his best race to date in Carrera Cup and earned the ‘driver of the weekend' award after making a significant step forwards.