Brands Hatch (GP) 2008

Bridgman tops Carrera Cup qualifying at Brands

Media release: 29 March 2008

Tim Bridgman topped the times in qualifying at Brands Hatch today (Saturday 29 March) ahead of opening rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. The Team Parker Racing driver claimed pole position for both races; such was his pace in the half-hour qualifying session.

In a new qualifying system for 2008, each driver's fastest time in qualifying will count for the grid for the weekend's first race, while his second best time in qualifying will decide his grid position for the second race. So, the pressure is on the drivers to post at least two very strong laps in qualifying.

Bridgman was in tremendous form to take a double pole, with at least two laps faster than anyone else. "The car was consistent and I knew we were up there on the first set of tyres," said Bridgman. "The car was good and I just tried to put some disciplined laps together."

Second on both grids will be Michael Caine (Team Parker Racing), although his best laps were around three-tenths of a second shy of Bridgman's best. However, with the top two cars for both races, it is a great start to the season for Team Parker Racing.

Third for both races was Tim Harvey (Red Line Racing), but he was disappointed not to have been quicker. "I like Brands and usually go well here, but I feel that I should have been quicker," admitted Harvey as he considered making set-up changes before the opening race.

Jota Sport pairing Phil Quaife and Sam Hancock were fourth and fifth fastest respectively, while Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) headed the pro-am1 times for both races. "If we'd have some dry testing on Friday I think it would have come easier. I was driving a bit raggedly and it was quite late on when I got pole," said Rice.

Before Rice's late charge, Andy Britnell (Porsche Motorsport) had headed the pro-am1 times, but he was forced to pull off early in the session after picking up a rear puncture. "I thought I'd bank a couple of quick laps early on. Then I went out on the second set of tyres, but didn't get a time before the puncture," said Britnell.

Tony Gilham (ReDesign Racing) was third fastest in pro-am1, while Steve Rance set some impressive lap times in the pro-am2 entry from Porsche Motorsport. I'm pleased to be quick in the pro-am2 car and that was just awesome; fantastic," said Rance.

Caine wins Carrera Cup opener at Brands

Media release: 29 March 2008

Michael Caine scored a dramatic victory at Brands Hatch today (Saturday 29 March) in round one of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. In a race full of incident, Caine scored his first Carrera Cup victory after a fierce battle with Andy Britnell.

A damp track and the threat of more rain made tyre choice very difficult ahead of the race. Eventually, the Porsche Motorsport cars of Britnell and Steve Rance, along with Sam Hancock (Jota Sport), Tony Gilham (ReDesign Racing) and Fergus Campbell (Red Line Racing) elected to start on wet tyres, while the rest went for slicks.

Caine got a superb start to lead into Paddock Hill Bend, having dived ahead of poleman Tim Bridgman, his Team Parker Racing team mate. Unfortunately, Bridgman and Hancock then made contact and spun into the gravel and out of the race. Meanwhile, Britnell made a fine start and used the grip from his treaded tyres to dive through to second place from Tim Harvey (Red Line Racing).

After a safety car period while the cars of Bridgman and Hancock were moved, Caine resumed in the lead but was driving on a knife-edge on slicks in incredibly difficult conditions as Britnell challenged constantly. It was only after the race that Caine realised that he'd been battling with his friend and former team mate.

A second safety car period came after Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) spun out of fourth place at Paddock Hill Bend, and there were more anxious moments for Caine as the small lead he had built was wiped out. Now, Harvey was also able to move right up onto Britnell's tail. But Caine was driving superbly and was able to rebuild his lead over the final laps. "I was just wishing that race away," admitted Caine. "My first Carrera Cup win has been a long time coming and it's a great feeling."

Britnell could not quite hold Harvey off to the flag and into the final lap Harvey edged ahead to take second. "The conditions were really difficult and the cars on wets certainly had the advantage at the start. I'm just glad to have finished." Britnell was elated to have run in the thick of the lead battle, while Phil Quaife (Jota Sport) battled through to fourth after a tough fight with Rance. "That was an amazing race; we were battling all the time," said Rance who drove a fine race in the pro-am2 car to finish an eventual fifth overall.

In a big queue of cars fighting for fourth, Gilham took sixth from Charles Bateman (Team Parker Racing) and Campbell. Bateman drove a dogged chase of the cars on wets and finally nipped ahead of Campbell at the end of the race as the treaded tyres started to lose their grip.

Caine takes Carrera Cup double at Brands

Media release: 30 March 2008

Michael Caine completed a perfect double weekend victory at Brands Hatch today (Sunday 30 March) by winning round two of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB to give his title bid the very best start.

Caine repeated his victory from the previous day with another faultless drive, grabbing the lead away the grid and fending off an early challenge from Team Parker Racing team mate Tim Bridgman to sweep to victory. Unfortunately, the race was shortened after Bridgman later crashed at Paddock Hill Bend after suffering a puncture.

In the early laps Caine led from Bridgman as Tim Harvey (Red Line Racing) made it a three-way lead pack. Bridgman kept the pressure on Caine for many laps, but with Harvey working up into contention in third, Bridgman had to watch his mirrors for attacks from Harvey. Finally, through Surtees on lap 17, Harvey saw his chance and set up a classic passing move up the inside line into McLaren to grab second.

By now, Caine was clear and well on his way to his second win in two days. "I thought Tim Bridgman was going to come back at me in the early laps, but once he'd got Tim Harvey on his tail, I was able to go clear. It's been an unbelievable weekend!"

Once through to second place, Harvey was able to ease away from Bridgman. "It was good to pass Tim, but I honestly couldn't close Michael down. I'm happy with the result," said Harvey. Unfortunately things did not end so well for Bridgman, who spun heavily into the barriers at Paddock Hill Bend. Though unharmed, he was winded and the safety car was deployed and then the race was later halted with five laps left to run.

Chasing after Bridgman over the closing stages was Phil Quaife (Jota Sport), who had gradually eased clear of his team mate Sam Hancock. "Our pace isn't quite there yet, but towards the end of the race I had better pace than Tim Bridgman," said Quaife. Hancock struggled with a lack of grip at the front of the car, but took fourth while Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) fended off Charles Bateman (Team Parker Racing) to take a fine fifth and pro-am1 victory.

"I'd worked my tyres hard so I was pleased to see the red flag," admitted Rice, who had worked hard to fend off constant attacks from Bateman. "That makes up for not finishing yesterday," said Rice who had ended Saturday's race in the gravel trap.

Andy Britnell (Porsche Motorsport) took seventh, but accepted that the fierce pace at the head of the field was tough to match, while Fergus Campbell (Red Line Racing) took second in pro-am1 after Tony Gilham (ReDesign Racing) lost time with a trip through the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend and slipped to third.