Snettereton 2006

Watts takes Carrera Cup pole at Snetterton

Media release: 12 August 2006

Danny Watts took pole position for round 13 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Snetterton this morning (Saturday, 12 August) as just four tenths of a second cover the top six drivers.
 
Although rain is threatened for later in the day at the Norfolk track, qualifying was held in dry and blustery conditions. Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line) ran just eight laps and then sat in the pits to see if any of his rivals would challenge his time. "I knew that they'd get close, but it went to game plan. As always, I did the minimum laps and then parked it," confirmed Watts.
 
However, in the second half of the session he was almost toppled by Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) as Caine improved to be just 0.079s slower than Watts. "We had some understeer in the fast corners and that might have been down to the cross-wind at Riches and Coram. I still think there is a 1m7s lap in the car," he added after qualifying second.
 
Third fastest was Caine's Motorbase team mate Tim Harvey, but his session was curtailed by a high-speed spin at Coram after his throttle stuck open. "I thought I could go a bit quicker," he reckoned, after ending the session a quarter of a second slower than Watts. Fourth fastest was Rob Huff (Porsche Cars GB) after another excellent run in the Vertu-backed VIP car, while team mates Jason Templeman and Damien Faulkner were fifth and sixth fastest for Team Parker with SAS.
 
"It was just down to me," said Faulkner of his lowest qualifying position of the season to date. "We changed the car mid-session and made it worse. I probably drove better on my second run as I matched my time from the first run when the car was quicker.  I'm getting used to giving myself a bit of a challenge!" Faulkner goes into the race knowing he has ground to make up on title rival Harvey, but the poor weather forecast means that the track may well be wet for the 5pm race.
 
Despite feeling distinctly unwell, Richard Williams (IN2RACING) was seventh fastest, just ahead of the incredibly closely matched pro-am pack. Topping the pro-ams was Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance), but with only a quarter of a second covering the five leading pro-am drivers, the race is wide open. "I'm much happier to be back at the front of pro-am," said Quaife after a troubled test day on Friday. "But it's very tight."
 
Second in pro-am was Mike Richards (IN2RACING). "The cross wind was affecting the car, but it was the same for everyone. I'm pleased to be second, but I know there's a quicker time in there," he said. Right behind Richards was Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing), who knew he could have gone quicker. "I got baulked on my best lap; I'm sure I was on a better lap," he reported. As the top 12 cars all lapped inside the existing Carrera Cup lap record, Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing) and Andy Purdie (RH Motorsport with Paragon) were also right on the pro-am pace to set the scene for an excellent battle in the race.

Watts takes Carrera Cup at Snetterton

Media release: 12 August 2006

Danny Watts claimed his seventh win of the season during round 13 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Snetterton this afternoon (Saturday, 12 August). In a race run in treacherous conditions, Watts romped to victory from Michael Caine as Sam Edwards took pro-am victory.
 
With a very wet track and a lot of oil dropped in the previous race, the conditions were very tough as the Carrera Cup field lined up. Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line) didn't get a particularly good start, but was able to fend off Caine (Motorbase Performance) into the first corner. However, Damien Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) had a disastrous start when his car stalled on the grid and he finished the first lap in tenth place.
 
While Watts and Caine edged clear, guest racer Rob Huff (Porsche Cars GB) slotted into third ahead of Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance) as Faulkner started to battle back up the field. By setting the fastest laps of the race, Faulkner stormed through to fifth and quickly closed in on Huff and Harvey. Then, racing through Coram almost nose-to-tail on the fifth lap, Faulkner spun onto the grass. Moments later, Harvey launched an attack on Huff into Riches, but the cars touched and both drivers spun. Harvey was out on the spot, which was a devastating blow to his championship hopes, while Huff retired a lap later with a puncture.

For several laps, it was now Mike Richards (IN2RACING) holding a magnificent third overall and leading the pro-am category from Edwards (Team Parker Racing), but Faulkner was recovering fast and battled through to third on lap 10. That move delayed Richards enough for Edwards to dive ahead into Riches moments later.
 
With a strong wind blowing across the track, a hoarding at Sear Corner blew onto the track on lap 13 and forced the safety car out while the debris was cleared. That allowed the pack to bunch right up, but with only two racing laps to run when the safety car pulled off, Watts was still in control. "The car was good enough to pull away and that was that," said Watts after his seventh race win.
 
Meanwhile, Caine successfully fended off Faulkner around the final lap for a great second place. "The safety car hurt a bit, but second is a good place for the start of Sunday's race!" Faulkner was also pleased with his race. "I had to take a huge number of risks and had a couple of scary moments on the back straight through standing water. But this is the result that the team and I needed and the car was fantastic," he said after extending his championship lead by 17 points.
 
Jason Templeman also had a strong race for Team Parker with SAS, despite an early spin at Russell. "It was very tricky with the oil," admitted Jason, after fighting his way up to fourth ahead of pro-am winner Edwards. "I caught Mike Richards and went down the inside of him at Riches. But I only just missed Harvey when he was spinning," reported Edwards.
 
Richards was denied second in pro-am after spinning at the Esses on the penultimate lap as Richard Williams (IN2RACING) came through to sixth after starting from the pit road when his screen misted up on the parade lap. Seventh, and second in pro-am was Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance), while David Ashburn (Trackspeed) completed the pro-am podium. "I couldn't see a thing in the early laps," said Quaife. "I wasn't even able to use full throttle down the straight!" Fifth in pro-am, behind Pete Osbourne (Team O) was poor reward for Richards after a mighty performance.

Watts does Carrera Cup double at Snetterton

Media release: 13 August 2006

Danny Watts made it eight wins in his last eight races in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB during round 14 at Snetterton this afternoon (Sunday, 13 August). Watts stayed clear of Michael Caine and Damien Faulkner, while Phil Quaife added another pro-am victory to consolidate his championship advantage.
 
Although Watts (Team IRWIN with Red Line) led from start to finish, his victory was not as straightforward as it might have seemed. Initially, the gap to Caine (Motorbase Performance) and Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) went out to around two seconds, but over the second half of the race the gap reduced once more.
 
"I went out on brand new tyres for the race and they were good for the first 10 laps," explained Watts. "But after that they went away and the race was really tough. Michael and Damien were always there in my mirrors," said Watts, who allowed the gap to dwindle to just three-tenths of a second as he completed a cautious last lap.
 
To celebrate his birthday, Caine wrapped up easily his best weekend of the season by running a strong second. Although Faulkner was his constant shadow, Caine always had the situation under control as Faulkner resisted the temptation to make a lunge for second, preferring to consolidate his overall championship lead with a safe run to third.
 
"I'm happy with two second places this weekend," said Caine. "Damien was faster out of the Esses, but I was quicker through the Bomb Hole, so that maintained the gap," he said. "That was pretty straightforward," added Faulkner, having built his championship lead to 40 points. His major rival Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance) completed a torrid weekend by retiring on the second lap with a coil problem that left his engine running on five cylinders. "I could feel it on the parade lap, but I started the race to see what happened," explained Harvey. "But it was pointless carrying on."
 
A secure, if rather lonely, fourth place fell to Richard Williams (IN2RACING), who shrugged off illness to maintain his unique record of scoring points in every race this season. Initially, Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) chased Williams, but Templeman was forced into the pits to change a punctured rear tyre, so Williams was left on his own.
 
In the opening laps, Quaife (Motorbase Performance) went after Williams and Templeman, but later had to watch his mirrors for the chasing Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing). In the last quarter of the race, the chasing Rob Huff (Porsche Cars GB) was also catching Edwards and in the final three laps Edwards had to defend strongly from Huff. "Sam was always on my tail and later on I saw Huff's headlights in the background," said Quaife as only half a second covered the three cars at the flag.
 
Behind Huff, who started from the pit road after a power steering fuse blew on the parade lap, came Mike Richards (IN2RACING) to take the final pro-am podium position and earn the 'driver of the weekend' award for his efforts. However, Richards was nearly caught by Andy Purdie (RH Motorsport with Paragon) at the flag. "We went a bit wacky on set-up and it didn't really pay off. But all in all, it's been a good weekend," said Richards.