Donington Park 2006

Watts takes Carrera Cup pole at Donington

Media release: 29 July 2006

Danny Watts took pole position in a thrilling qualifying session for round 11 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Donington Park today (Saturday, 29 July). A mighty performance from Michael Caine took him to the top of the times mid-session, but Watts was able to go back out late in the session and reclaim pole by only 0.019s.

Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line) took pole early on, and then planned to stay in the pits and see if anyone could beat his time. "I knew that lap wasn't particularly good and that there was more to come," said Watts. "I sat there waiting and then went out and did the time. It's more satisfying to get pole under pressure."

Caine, meanwhile, was delighted to be challenging for pole with Motorbase Performance. "That's where I expected to be at start of the season," he admitted. "We've gone to basics with the car and I still feels there's more speed in it. It's a great result for the Motorbase team."

Right with the pace of Watts and Caine was Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance) as only 0.141s covered the top three cars. "That was a really exciting session and it could have been any of us on pole," said Harvey. "I'm really pleased for Michael," he added of his team mate. Championship leader Damien Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) was fourth fastest, four-tenths away from pole position and alongside his title rival Harvey on the grid. "I think we're praying for rain this afternoon," said Faulkner as the sky clouded over. "We haven't brought the best out of the cars yet," he added.

Richard Williams (IN2RACING) and Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) were fifth and sixth, both breaking the 1m10s barrier as the top seven drivers all lapped beneath the existing lap record.

Seventh, and leading the pro-am category drivers was Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance), with a slender 0.15s margin over Andy Purdie (Paragon). "I'm very happy to be on pro-am pole, but Andy Purdie's done an impressive time and Nigel Rice is close, so it's going to be tight between us," said Quaife.

Purdie set his best time in the early laps of the session before a spin into the gravel at Coppice. "I went in too quick and it just stopped in the gravel. But that's my best qualifying performance so far and I'm close to Phil Quaife so I'm pleased with that," said Purdie. He later rejoined the session, but couldn't improve any further.

Completing the top three pro-am racers was Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) after an excellent session, although his first set of tyres didn't feel particularly good. "The result was good in the end," said Rice, who was just ahead of a close pack of pro-am drivers including Mike Richards (IN2RACING), Alex Mortimer (Team RPM) and Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing).

Watts wins Carrera Cup at Donington

Media release: 29 July 2006

Danny Watts stormed to another victory in round 11 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Donington Park today (Saturday, 29 July). Despite a strong challenge from Damien Faulkner and Tim Harvey, Watts was able to edge away over the second half of the race to score an emphatic victory.

Over the opening laps, the leading three ran neck and neck as Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line) led from Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) and Harvey (Motorbase Performance). A fabulous start by Faulkner catapulted his car between those of Harvey and Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) into second and onto Watts' tail. "For once, my start was very good," said Faulkner after one of the best starts of the season.

Over the first ten laps, there was little to choose between the three cars. "Damien pushed me very hard but then he started to drop back," said Watts. Harvey, meanwhile, had run strongly over the opening laps but soon knew he was in trouble. "By lap seven or eight the car was really working its rear tyres," said Harvey. "In the closing laps I was having to be as careful as I could to get to the finish."

With his rivals dropping away, Watts was able to take the flag with an eight-second advantage over Faulkner. "That wasn't as easy as Croft, but the car was very consistent. This is my last weekend in the Carrera Cup, and I want to go out with a bang and win both races."

With Caine tumbling down the order after a first-lap moment, it was Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) who came through strongly to take a fine fourth and was closing on Harvey at the flag. Into fifth overall went Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance) to score another pro-am victory. Mid-race, Quaife worked ahead of Richard Williams (IN2RACING) and consolidated the place when Williams suffered a late race puncture. "The car has been fantastic this weekend; I'm very happy," said Quaife after extending his pro-am points lead.

The rest of the pro-am podium positions were the subject of some tremendous battling and it was Alex Mortimer (Team RPM) who emerged from the action to take sixth overall and second in pro-am. He had a mighty contest with Andy Purdie (Paragon) and Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) and it was Rice who ran in second for the first half of the race. Then, going into Redgate on a defensive line, Rice ran wide and dropped places to Mortimer and Purdie. "There was no grip and as I went wide they both went by me," said Rice. "My car was unbelievable from lap ten onwards," said Mortimer after a fine 2006 Carrera Cup debut.

Purdie's strong race came to an end with a puncture and instead it was Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing) who took third in pro-am from Rice and Mike Richards (IN2RACING). However, into ninth overall at the flag went Caine after a recovery drive that was hindered by another spin.

Watts takes Carrera Cup double at Donington

Media release: 30 July 2006

Danny Watts completed a perfect weekend by winning round 12 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Donington Park today (Sunday, 30 July). Once again Watts was able to break clear as title contenders Tim Harvey and Damien Faulkner battled for second place, while Alex Mortimer claimed pro-am spoils after an excellent drive.

There was drama on the run to the first corner as the car of Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing) was pitched into the air after contact with the car of Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance). Both cars were forced out and with Quaife's car stranded in the gravel at Redgate, the safety car was deployed while it was moved.

From the green flag, Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line) again took control and Harvey (Motorbase Performance) moved ahead of Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) into the Old Hairpin. The cars touched, and each driver had their own view of the incident. "Tim pushed me out of the way. It just messed up the whole race," said Faulkner. "He went very defensive down the Craner Curves and then moved across," countered Harvey. The outcome was that Harvey ran second to the flag, with Faulkner seldom more than half a second behind.

Up front, Watts reeled off the laps to score his sixth win on the trot. "That was pretty straightforward. The circuit was very slippery and dirty and I had to adapt to that," said Watts. "I was determined to win this weekend!"

Behind Harvey and Faulkner, Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) had a relatively lonely but strong run to fourth, staying clear of Mortimer (Team RPM) who took a fine fifth overall and won the pro-am category by a convincing margin. "I'd have liked to have a race with Phil Quaife," said Mortimer. "But it was just brilliant for the team to come back to Carrera Cup with this result," he said.

For many laps, Richard Williams (IN2RACING) chased Mortimer, but increasingly he hit tyre problems and fell back. First to go ahead was Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) who came through strongly from well down the grid. His fighting recovery drive earned Caine the driver of the weekend award. Then, on the final lap, Mike Richards (IN2RACING) was able to move into seventh and second in pro-am as the struggling Williams gave his team mate room into the chicane. "That was worth missing my flight for," said Richards of his result in a race delayed by incidents in earlier races.

Jason Young (Red Line Racing) had been right with Richards and Williams into the final corner but spun on the exit of the chicane as he tried to dive ahead of Williams. Young still recovered for third in pro-am before David Ashburn (Trackspeed) and Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) arrived. Rice had been badly delayed at the first corner when clipped into a spin by the spinning Quaife.

The results of this race remain provisional following a protest by Damien Faulkner over the incident with Tim Harvey, which will be heard during the next race weekend at Snetterton on 12/13 August.