Thruxton 2006

Faulkner takes Carrera Cup pole at Thruxton

Media release: 3 June 2006

Damien Faulkner and Richard Westbrook set a fierce pace to head qualifying for round seven of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (Saturday, 3 June), with Faulkner taking pole by just six-hundredths of a second.
 
In warm sunshine, Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) set the fastest ever Carrera Cup lap of the Hampshire track to claim pole position with a stunning performance as the new 997-model 911GT3 Cup cars obliterated the existing lap record. The first 15 cars all qualified inside the year-old lap record, while Faulkner was over three seconds faster than the previous standard.
 
Though Westbrook (Team Irwin with Red Line Racing) challenged hard, Faulkner's second flying lap of the session was good enough for pole. "The team has given me a great car," said Faulkner. "The lap could have been even better as I had to pass a car at Church, but I'm just delighted."
 
Westbrook also knew that he could have gone quicker. "I don't want to take anything away from Damien; he's very quick and it was always going to be tight," said Westbrook. However, a vibration on his second qualifying run sent him to the pits believing he had a puncture. In fact, one of his tyres had picked up a big stone and that caused the vibration. Westbrook's lap analysis showed that a 1m13s lap had been possible.
 
Mark Cole set third fastest time for Tech 9 Motorsport, but was later put to the back of the grid after his car was deemed to be underweight after qualifying. It was a major blow to Cole, who had run well on the pace throughout testing and qualifying.
 
Next up was Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance), who ran fewer laps in qualifying than just about anyone else. "I'm absolutely happy. We're concentrating on the race set-up and so a top four start is fine for us. The race really starts at 10 laps," added Harvey of the 21-lap race where tyre performance in the later stages will be a critical factor in the final results.
 
Up to fourth in the amended times went Sascha Maassen in the Vertu-backed VIP car from Porsche Cars GB. "It's getting better, but the guys in front are really pushing. There are still some corners where I haven't quite found the right line," he added.
 
Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) and Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) completed a very competitive top six and were within a second of pole position, while seventh fastest and top of the pro-am class was Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing). "Hopefully I'll get my first pro-am win this afternoon," said Edwards. However, close behind was his first pro-am rival, Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) after an excellent session that left him only 15-hundredths of a second behind Edwards. Also showing well in pro-am was Andy Purdie (Paragon), while category leader Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance) was fourth fastest from Jason Young (Red Line Racing) and David Ashburn (Trackspeed).

Faulkner takes Carrera Cup win at Thruxton

Media release: 4 June 2006

Damien Faulkner won round seven of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (Saturday, 3 June) as a puncture put Richard Westbrook out of the lead of an action-packed race.
 
Starting second on the grid, Westbrook (Team Irwin with Red Line Racing) got the jump on Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) to lead the pack into Allard as Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance) slotted into third. Further back, a first corner tangle eliminated David Ashburn (Trackspeed) and delayed Jason Young (Red Line Racing) and Mike Richards (IN2RACING).
 
Up front, Westbrook soon started to edge away and stretched his lead to two seconds by lap eight. Meanwhile, Harvey was running a safe, if rather lonely, third and Sascha Maassen (Porsche Cars GB) was holding off Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) for fourth.
 
Into the second half of the race, however, Westbrook's lead started to reduce as Faulkner closed in once more. Then, on lap 14, Westbrook knew he had a problem. "I hit something really hard, I think it was debris on the track," reported Westbrook. "I took the risk to stay out, but two laps later the tyre went bang at Allard."
 
While Westbrook limped back to the pits, Faulkner was left with a useful margin over Harvey and took the flag three seconds clear of his chief championship rival. "We badly needed that and the team really deserves the win," said Faulkner. "This is my first win at Thruxton, so it's really special." Harvey ran a consistent race to take second, and was joined on the podium by team mate Caine after a last lap move took him ahead of Maassen.
 
"I knew that team boss David Bartrum would kill me if I threw it off trying to get second," admitted Caine. "But I decided to have a go over the last two laps and on the last lap I carried a lot more speed through Church and got by on the straight! It's just the result we needed."
 
Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) had to work hard to get ahead of Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) and then Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing) before taking fifth, while sixth overall was enough to secure pro-am victory for Edwards after a fine performance. "At the start my car was really good, but the track got very slippery later. I'm well pleased with the win," said Edwards after his first pro-am victory.
 
Rice could well have run Edwards close for pro-am spoils, but spun out on ninth lap when a rear tyre punctured at Village. He had been tucked in behind the Edwards/Templeman battle at the time. Also out with tyre dramas after the first corner clash went Young, while Mark Cole's impressive charge from the back of the grid took him to seventh before a rear tyre went down at Church on his Tech 9 Motorsport car. "Seventh was okay and I was driving within myself," said a disappointed Cole.
 
Phil Quaife (Motorbase Performance) ran a solid race to seventh and second in pro-am, while Mark Hazell (Team Parker Racing) had his best race of the season to complete the pro-am podium, despite being involved in the first corner incident. "I stuck at it, but that was hard work. It's good to be on the podium!"

Westbrook takes Carrera Cup win at Thruxton

Media release: 4 June 2006

Richard Westbrook came through from the back of the grid to win round eight of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (Sunday, 4 June).
 
It was Tim Harvey (Motorbase Performance) who got the best start to head Damien Faulkner (Team Parker with SAS) into the first corner as Westbrook set about making up ground from near the back of the grid. By the end of the first lap, Westbrook was up to eleventh, but everything was about to change.
 
Under braking for the Complex on the second lap, Faulkner clipped the back of Harvey's car and both spun. As Harvey tried to continue, a chain reaction accident was triggered that eliminated Harvey and his team mates Michael Caine and Phil Quaife as well as Jason Templeman (Team Parker with SAS) and Sam Edwards (Team Parker Racing). Meanwhile, Faulkner and Mike Richards (IN2RACING) both limped to the pits to retire as a result of damage sustained. Faulkner was later fined and awarded three penalty points on his racing licence.
 
The safety car was soon out while the damaged cars were moved and it was Sascha Maassen (Porsche Cars GB) who led the pack around from Andy Purdie (Paragon), Richard Williams (IN2RACING) and Westbrook, who had picked his way through the incident to move up to fourth.
 
Williams quickly moved ahead of Purdie, who was leading the pro-am category for the first time, but it was Westbrook who was soon through to second and chasing after Maassen. By lap 12, Westbrook had caught the VIP racer and their battle over the next three laps was a highlight of the race as they fought wheel to wheel. Into Campbell on lap 14, Maassen went fractionally too deep on the brakes and Westbrook seized his chance to dive ahead.
 
Once ahead, Westbrook was able to edge clear although Maassen never stopped chasing as Williams claimed a fine third, never too far adrift of the leading pair. "I had a really good fight with Sascha and he's very clever," said Westbrook. "I was hoping for a podium from 15th on the grid, but I never thought I'd win!"
 
Maassen, too, had enjoyed the battle. "It was a great fight. Richard is the best driver in these cars at the moment, so to come here for the first time and race with him was very good." Behind Williams, Purdie lost a place to Mark Cole (Tech 9 Motorsport) but still won the pro-am category for the first time. Cole had also battled his way up from near the back of the grid and had earned his podium visit. "I'm pleased enough; we're getting there," said Cole.
 
Despite a spin after contact with Cole, Purdie was an impressive pro-am winner after a fine drive, which included fending off Jason Young (Red Line Racing) after his spin. "That's just amazing," said an elated Purdie. "It's a great result and I'm very, very happy. But the race seemed to go on so long that I thought they'd lost the chequered flag!"
 
Young took second in the pro-am category, while Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) fended off David Ashburn (Trackspeed) to take the final podium slot. Meanwhile, Maxi Jazz (Red Line Racing) earned the driver of the weekend award for his consistent pace and a top 10 finish at one of the most daunting tracks on the schedule. "What can I say? I've never been on the podium before," said an elated Maxi.

Maassen applauds Carrera Cup GB racers

American Le Mans Series racer Sascha Maassen Sascha Maassen claimed a fighting second place on his Porsche Carrera Cup GB debut at Thruxton over the weekend (3/4 June) and rated the pace of the championship front-runners as extremely high.

Maassen is one of the most experienced Porsche racers in the world and is currently racing the Porsche RS Spyder in the ALMS. However, he took time out of his schedule to race the Vertu-backed VIP car of Porsche Cars GB for his first experience of the high-speed Hampshire track

Having built his pace through the weekend, Maassen had a crowd-pleasing battle with Richard Westbrook for the lead before finishing second in Sunday's race. After the race, he congratulated Westbrook on a fine battle and acknowledged the high standard of driver in the Carrera Cup GB.

"The guys in front are really pushing and the pace is very fast," said Maassen. "Richard is the best driver in these cars at the moment, so to come here and race with him was very good. I really enjoyed it, it was a great fight and I didn't make it too easy for him!"

Maassen had his first sight of Thruxton during testing on Friday and found improvements to his lap times every time he went out. "When I came here I had no idea what to expect. It's so quick and very difficult," he said of the high speed Hampshire track. "It's the kind of circuit that could also exist in the USA, with a lot of fifth gear corners."