Donington Park 2009

Bridgman takes double Carrera Cup pole at Donington

Media release: 16 May 2009

Tim Bridgman continued his unbroken run of pole positions this season when he took a double pole position at Donington Park today (Saturday 16 May 2009) ahead of rounds five and six of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. In pro-am1, Glynn Geddie claimed a double pole while championship newcomer Glenn McMenamin was impressive on his way to a double pole in the pro-am2 category.

In a session interrupted by two brief rain showers, Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) headed the grid for both races to make it six poles from six races this season. "It was a messy session with traffic, and I aborted a couple of good laps," said Bridgman. "The car is stronger than the times show."

Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) will start second for both races, but when the first rain shower came early in the session things looked bad for Caine. "We made the decision not to go out hard on the tyres," he explained, but that left him only 19th when the rain halted any quick laps. Fortunately, the track dried quickly and Caine set some quick laps to leap up the grid, although an even better lap was lost when the rain returned with five minutes of the session remaining.

James Sutton and Tim Harvey claimed third and fourth places for both races for Red Line Racing, but neither was entirely happy with their session. "I didn't get the best out of the car," said Sutton, while Harvey said that he'd been in the wrong place at the wrong time, notably when Robert Lawson (JHR) spun at McLeans.

Tom Bradshaw (Team Parker Racing) took fifth for both races, recognising that he is continuing to make good progress but still has a little bit more to find in order to join the top four. Meanwhile, his team mate Geddie ran strongly to top pro-am1 for both races. "It was a strange session, but it's good to be back up there," said the young Scot.

Second in pro-am1 for round five was Tony Gilham (Red Line Racing). "That was frustrating. I was four-tenths of a second up on my last lap when the rain came at Coppice," said Gilham, while Michael Leonard (Team Parker Racing) was second fastest for round six. Gilham will start third in pro-am1 for round six, while Robert Lawson (JHR) was third fastest for round five.

In pro-am2, McMenamin (Parr Motorsport) was hugely impressive to take two category pole positions on his debut in the Carrera Cup GB. "I'm very, very pleased with that," he said; before adding that he lacks experience of the car in the wet should Sunday prove to be a wet day. Pushing McMenamin close on both grids for pro-am2 were Paul Hogarth (IN2Racing) and Bob Lyons (Celtic Speed).

So, with an excellent 20-car grid and the prospect of close battles in all three categories, the stage is set for some fine racing on Sunday, with round five starting at 9.10am and round six scheduled for 3pm.

Caine takes Carrera Cup round five at Donington

Media release: 17 May 2009

Michael Caine scored a tremendous victory after a grandstand finish to round five of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Donington Park today (Sunday 17 May 2009). Caine beat Tim Harvey and James Sutton in a dramatic scramble to the line, with 14-hundredths of a second covering the three cars. In pro-am1, Robert Lawson raced to a fine win while Paul Hogarth claimed pro-am2 after a long battle with Bob Lyons.

There was disaster at the start for Tim Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) who lost his pole position when a driveshaft failed on the green flag lap. That left Caine (Motorbase Performance) to head the pack into Redgate, with Sutton and Harvey, both from Red Line Racing, chasing hard. Initially, Tom Bradshaw (Team Parker Racing) went with the leading trio, but a moment under braking at Redgate dropped him a few seconds.

Up front, Caine led lap after lap with Sutton his ever-present shadow and Harvey just a few lengths back. "I got a little gap on James, but as soon as I pushed I started losing grip," said Caine. Under braking for Redgate, Sutton would close right up, but Caine could rebuild his slender lead on the exit of the Old Hairpin. "It was stalemate for a long time as we were all looking after our tyres," said Harvey.

Meanwhile, Lawson (JHR) had battled clear of the rest of the pro-am1 pack to go clear in fifth overall, as Michael Leonard (Team Parker Racing), Tony Gilham (Red Line Racing) and Derek Pierce (JHR) battled with VIP racer Aaron Steele (Porsche Motorsport). In pro-am2, Hogarth (IN2Racing) and Lyons (Celtic Speed) were nose-to-tail for lap after lap.

The contest at the head of the race came down the final corner of the last lap and Sutton saw a chance as they braked for the chicane. He got partly alongside Caine and they touched, which sent Caine over the grass and slowed them both. Out of the corner, Caine had to defend from Sutton, but Harvey had got a run on both of them and the cars were virtually three abreast as they crossed the line, with Harvey grabbing second from Sutton in a blanket finish. "I thought there was room and I was later on the brakes; I had to go for it," said Sutton. "It was a great finish and I managed to pick up a place," said Harvey after a thrilling climax to a superb race.

Bradshaw was a clear fourth from Lawson, who became the first driver to take a second pro-am1 victory this season. "I made things a bit difficult for myself in qualifying, so I'm very pleased with the result," said Lawson. When Leonard spun at the chicane, Gilham moved through to second in pro-am1, but losing three places on the opening lap when Steele dived through cost Gilham any chance of taking the battle to Lawson. Never far behind Gilham to make it a good race for JHR was Pierce, who duly completed the pro-am1 podium.

In pro-am2, the fine battle between Hogarth and Lyons ran for lap after lap, although early on Glenn McMenamin (Parr Motorsport) ran between them in an impressive debut until gearbox dramas sent him to the pits. Now it was Hogarth fending off Lyons and only in the final stages did the gap start to grow. "Excellent," said Hogarth. "Bob pushed me hard but I managed to keep him at bay." "I just asked too much of my tyres, but he wasn't giving anything up easily," countered Lyons.

Sutton takes Carrera Cup round six at Donington

Media release: 17 May 2009

James Sutton made it four race winners from six races when he won round six of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Donington Park today (Sunday 17 May 2009). In pro-am1, Glynn Geddie mastered some tough conditions to take a fine win, while Paul Hogarth completed a pro-am2 double win.

Sutton (Red Line Racing) tracked early leader Tim Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) as rain made conditions really challenging. Finally, on lap 14 Sutton dived ahead with a tremendous move at the Old Hairpin as Bridgman struggled for grip. Tim Harvey (Red Line Racing) completed the top three, while title contender Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) slithered home sixth after gambling on running worn wet tyres rather than new wets.

The rain arrived just before the start and all the cars switched to wet tyres. However, the Motorbase team sent Caine out on worn wets, thinking it would be the right choice on a track that was still not too wet. But more rain soon came and Caine and his team mate Ollie Jackson were in trouble.

Up front, Bridgman led the field away and, with Sutton in tow, quickly went clear. But Bridgman knew he was in trouble as the team had not been able to re-set the tyre pressures on the grid. "It cost me dear, but it wasn't the team's fault," said Bridgman. "By mid-race I was struggling." Meanwhile, Sutton was getting stronger and stronger and finally went through by slicing down the inside into the Old Hairpin. "The car was fantastic; if the car hadn't been that good I wouldn't have been able to pull off the move," said Sutton. Once ahead, Sutton went clear for an emphatic victory.

Tom Bradshaw (Team Parker Racing) ran a strong third over the first half of the race, having passed Harvey on the second lap as the reigning champion struggled with a major vibration. However, as the race developed, Bradshaw found his tyres overheating and Harvey was eventually able to move back ahead and take the final podium position.

Glynn Geddie (Team Parker Racing) ran a good race to take pro-am1 victory and fifth overall behind Bradshaw. "I like those conditions," said Geddie, who went well clear of the struggling Caine. "I've never driven with so little grip," admitted Caine. He was nearly caught later in the race by Robert Lawson (JHR) who completed a good weekend with second in pro-am1 from Michael Leonard (Team Parker Racing). However, Leonard had been running behind Caine until a trip over the grass at Starkey's Bridge removed the front splitter from his car and left him struggling.

Paul Hogarth (IN2Racing) wrapped up a great weekend with another pro-am2 victory, this time going well clear of Bob Lyons (Celtic Speed) as Glenn McMenamin (Parr Motorsport) battled with Lyons in the early laps before a spin into the gravel at Coppice.