Thruxton 2008

Caine takes double Carrera Cup pole at Thruxton

Media release: 17 May 2008

With a superb performance in qualifying, Michael Caine took two pole positions at Thruxton today (Saturday 17 May) for rounds seven and eight of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB this weekend.

Caine (Team Parker Racing) shot to the top of the time sheets with a best lap in 1m14.167s, nearly a third of a second faster than anyone else. He also set a second best lap in 1m14.447s to make certain of pole position for round eight. "It's good to be up there; that's the quickest time I've ever done round here," said the championship leader, who had spent time on Friday walking the Thruxton track. "It sets us up well for the races," said Caine.

Caine and pro-am1 leader Nigel Rice did the fewest laps of any drivers in the half-hour session, completing just 10 laps to leave themselves in the best possible position ahead of the races on a circuit that is notoriously hard on tyres. That limited running could serve them well as the races develop.

Second slot on the grid for round seven went to Sam Hancock (Jota Sport), with his best qualifying performance of the season to date. "We're getting there," said Sam. "But the edge was taken off a bit by that ‘uber' lap by Michael Caine," he added. "It does feel good to be back on the front row of the grid."

Third fastest went to Tim Harvey (Red Line Racing), who also jumped ahead of Harvey to take second slot for round eight. "That was a good session. I'm a little disappointed not to get pole after being quickest in testing, but fair play to Michael; that was a good lap," said Harvey.

Tim Bridgman (Team Parker Racing), winner of the last four races, will start from fourth place on both grids, but accepted that he hadn't got the best out of qualifying. A fifth of a second behind Bridgman to continue a good showing from Jota Sport was Phil Quaife, while Charles Bateman (Team Parker Racing) moved up to sixth fastest with a late push.

Duncan Tappy will start both races from seventh in the PCGB entry as the McLaren/Autosport/BRDC Young Driver of the Year finalist prepares for his first Carrera Cup race. Meanwhile, right on the pace of Bateman and Tappy was pro-am1 category leader Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) after another impressive performance. He lapped within a tenth of a second of both Bateman and Tappy.

Tony Gilham (ReDesign Racing) was ninth fastest and second in pro-am1, but was having to learn the track after missing most of the April test session after gearbox problems developed. Completing the field was Matt Blyth, making his Carrera Cup debut in the pro-am2 car from PCGB.

Hancock takes Carrera Cup win at Thruxton

Media release: 17 May 2008

Sam Hancock claimed his first win of the season in round seven of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (Saturday 17 May) as Tim Bridgman fended off Tim Harvey for second place. Nigel Rice topped the pro-am1 category after battling among the pro drivers.

Poleman Michael Caine (Team Parker Racing) led the opening lap but ran fractionally wide on the exit of the chicane and over a bump in the grass, which pitched his car into a spin in front of the pits. He avoided the pit wall, but dropped to eighth place before he could get going again.

That put Hancock (Jota Sport) ahead from Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) after they ran side-by-side on the opening lap. Hancock had grabbed second place as they raced through Church for the first time and then moved into the lead when Caine spun. With Harvey (Red Line Racing) shadowing Bridgman, Hancock was able to build his lead a little each lap and even a mid-race sprinkle of rain did not upset his rhythm.

"Luck was finally on my side today," said Hancock after a tyre went down as he cruised around on the slowing down lap. "Over the second half of the race I was nursing the car home and I had a little bit in hand if I had needed it," said Hancock after scoring the first Carrera Cup win for Jota Sport.

Bridgman had to race hard to hold off Harvey and only in the final three laps did the gap between them grow to more than a second. "Sam drove a great race and I was just trying to keep Tim at bay," said Bridgman. "I picked up a vibration about four laps from the end and just backed it off," said Harvey of his closing laps.

However, Harvey was able to get to the line ahead of Phil Quaife (Jota Sport) and the recovering Caine. For many laps Quaife had battled hard to fend off a determined challenge from Charles Bateman (Team Parker Racing) and two laps from the end Bateman made a bold move down the inside under braking for the chicane. "I could see Michael Caine coming up behind us, so I went for it," said Bateman. However, he spun across the grass and bumped the tyres, which put him out of the race.

That left Caine chasing Quaife through the final two laps and there was only half a second between them at the flag after a dogged recovery drive from Caine. In the early laps, Rice (Red Line Racing) ran strongly up with the pro drivers and ahead of Duncan Tappy (PCGB), but when Caine squeezed ahead of Rice into Allard it also allowed Tappy to move past the pro-am1 leader. Tappy duly took sixth place, with Rice seventh and Tony Gilham (ReDesign Racing) eighth and second in pro-am1.

Hancock completes Carrera Cup double at Thruxton

Media release: 17 May 2008

Sam Hancock completed a tremendous weekend double victory by winning round eight of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (Sunday 18 May). In a race full of action and drama, Hancock moved through to win after early leader Michael Caine hit trouble, while Tony Gilham took pro-am1 spoils.

Caine (Team Parker Racing) got ahead on the opening lap as Tim Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) and Hancock (Jota Sport) disputed ground into the first corner. Once ahead, Caine was able to control the gap to Hancock as Tim Harvey (Red Line Racing) battled ahead of Bridgman and moved in on Hancock.

Into Campbell for the eighth lap, Harvey touched the back of Hancock's car and that had a dramatic effect on the race outcome. Although the contact was slight, it damaged the radiator on Harvey's car and he immediately backed right off and limped back to the pits. Unfortunately, he was dropping coolant and that made the entry to the chicane especially slippery.

First to arrive at the chicane on his ninth lap was Caine and he had a big slide on the coolant. His car pitched up over the kerb and damaged the front splitter in the process, which immediately drastically upset the handling of his car. "It was looking so good," said Caine after the race. "You couldn't see the coolant on the track and I just tried to hold the slide."

Hancock was close behind Caine and also had a big slide, but managed to avoid the kerbs while the following cars all slithered through. "I thought we were all going off; it was one of those hairy moments," said Hancock. Now with an ill-handling car, Caine was powerless to fend off Hancock and started to fall back as Hancock settled into the lead from Bridgman.

Up into third came Duncan Tappy (PCGB) after a big battle with Charles Bateman (Team Parker Racing), but Tappy went out four laps from the flag when a tyre deflated and sent him into a spin at Church, which put Bateman into third on his way to a first overall podium finish in the Carrera Cup.

Up front, Hancock controlled the pace to the flag for his second win in two days. "Happy is an understatement; racing is all about winning," said Hancock. Bridgman was a close second and knew that it had been a good result for his title bid. "We didn't have the pace this weekend, but championships are all about being good on your bad days," he said.

"That was a tough old race," said Bateman after the best result of his career to date. "It's all about tyre management here." Caine salvaged fourth by fending off Phil Quaife (Jota Sport) to the flag, but was desperately frustrated about his weekend. "We've been fastest here all weekend and had a fourth and a fifth place," he said.

With Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) out after an early clash with Quaife, which also dropped Quaife to the tail of the field, it was Gilham (ReDesign Racing) who came through to sixth overall and pro-am1 victory. "I just kept my head down and kept going," said Gilham after upping his pace throughout the weekend.