Rockingham 2009

Sutton heads Carrera Cup qualifying at Rockingham

Media release: 19 September 2009

James Sutton took a double pole position for rounds 17 and 18 of the 2009 Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Rockingham today (Saturday 19 September 2009). Although just seven-hundredths of a second covered the top three drivers for round 17, Sutton bagged both pole positions as well as two more championship points.

Robert Lawson narrowly headed pro-am1 for both races, while Glenn McMenamin topped the pro-am2 times for both races as the title battles head into the closing stages.

Sutton (Red Line Racing) was elated to take both poles and close the points' gap on Tim Bridgman and Tim Harvey. "I love this championship and wouldn't want to be anywhere else," he said. "The car was perfect and that's exactly what we needed to do." Harvey (Red Line Racing) was right behind his team mate on both grids. "We had a plan and worked together," said Harvey. "I'm glad to be in front of Tim Bridgman, who is my main championship rival."

For Bridgman (Team Parker Racing), it was a frustrating session although he took two third places despite a couple of early overshoots at Turn 2. "It just seemed low grip at Turn 2 and it just didn't stop," said Bridgman. "That spoilt the first run." Then, he was chasing a potential pole lap later in the session when he was forced to back off for yellow flags. "It was a bit of a scrappy session," he said.

Fourth and fifth places on the two grids were shared between Tom Bradshaw (Team Parker Racing) and Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance), with Bradshaw having his best qualifying run to date. "We're in the mix and certainly progressing," said Bradshaw.

Top of pro-am1 for both races was Robert Lawson (JHR), who came back strongly after a troubled day in testing. "The car was much better; I'm pleased with two poles," said Lawson, who trimmed two points from Glynn Geddie's pro-am1 lead as a result. Ollie Jackson (Motorbase Performance) and Geddie (Team Parker Racing) shared second and third places in pro-am1 with Tony Gilham (Red Line Racing) a very close fourth on both grids.

Glenn McMenamin (Parr Motorsport) topped the very competitive pro-am2 category, from Paul Hogarth (IN2Racing) and championship newcomer Ste

Sutton wins Carrera Cup round 17 at Rockingham

Media release: 19 September 2009

James Sutton made it three wins in a row in round 17 of the 2009 Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Rockingham today (Saturday 19 September 2009). Sutton held off his Red Line Racing team mate Tim Harvey to win as Harvey edged his title lead out to 10 points with three races remaining.

Robert Lawson swept back to the head of the pro-am1 standings with a category victory, while Steve Parish took pro-am2 victory on his debut race in the championship.

Sutton got the jump on Harvey off the grid as Tim Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) and Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) slotted into third and fourth. This quartet quickly went clear of the pack and ran nose-to-tail for much of the race. With the cars so evenly matched, the places did not change, but the result was always in doubt as Harvey shadowed Sutton and Caine challenged Bridgman.

"It was very hard work," admitted Sutton. "At one stage I thought I'd got the jump on Tim, but he came back at me." Harvey, however, had championship points uppermost in his mind. "I wasn't going to do anything silly," said Harvey. "We just needed to get our heads down and stay away." Over the second half of the race Caine was constantly looking for a chance to pass Bridgman, but that was how it stayed to the flag, although they ran side by side into Brook on one lap. "It was just an average race and I didn't get a great start," said Bridgman.

Fifth overall and a commanding pro-am1 victory went to Robert Lawson (JHR), who kept ahead of the class battling to score an important victory. "It was a case of watching the mirrors and monitoring the gap," said Lawson. His result became even more important when his key title rivals Glynn Geddie (Team Parker Racing) and Tony Gilham (Red Line Racing) both failed to finish. Initially, Gilham ran second from Ollie Jackson (Motorbase Performance) and Geddie. Then, under braking for Deene on lap seven, Geddie dived inside Jackson and unfortunately ran into the side of Gilham, who was out straightaway. Geddie tried to struggle on after a pit stop, but was later given the black and orange flag due to suspension damage. That ensured second place in pro-am1 for Jackson after a strong race to sixth overall. "That was hard work, but it couldn't have gone better," said Jackson.

Third in pro-am1 finally went to championship newcomer Alex Martin (GT Marques), despite a couple of first lap moments. He then thought he had a drive through penalty when he struggled to see the numbers being shown on the start gantry, so visited the pits as a precaution. He quickly rejoined and took third when Tommy Dreelan (Celtic Speed) picked up a puncture late in the race.

The pro-am2 result was heavily affected by the same drive through issue as early leader Glenn McMenamin (Parr Motorsport) also dived into the pits in error. With Paul Hogarth (IN2Racing) out after swiping the wall Turn 1, Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) scored a famous win, first time out. "I was just trying to take it easy," said Parish. "I just wanted to stay out of trouble and it paid off." A frustrated McMenamin rejoined and charged back through to second, passing Paul Mace (GT Marques) in the closing stages as Mace struggled without a front splitter. However, Mace was later excluded from the results over a flag infringement.

Sutton takes Carrera Cup double at Rockingham

Media release: 20 September 2009

James Sutton made it four wins in a row in round 18 of the 2009 Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Rockingham today (Sunday 20 September 2009). By leading Michael Caine, Tim Bridgman and Tim Harvey to the flag, Sutton set up a dramatic three-way title shoot out in the deciding races at Brands Hatch on 4 October.

Ollie Jackson drove a superb race to win the pro-am1 category victory, while Glenn McMenamin won pro-am2 to make himself favourite for the category crown. Jackson's performance earned him the 'driver of the weekend' award while the 'team of the weekend' award went to IN2Racing for rebuilding the car of Paul Hogarth overnight after a major accident in the opening race.

Sutton (Red Line Racing) got the jump off the grid and led into the race, but it nearly all went wrong as they braked for Deene on lap three. A lap earlier Robert Lawson (JHR) hit the wall at Turn 1 and dropped coolant at Deene as he limped into retirement. When Sutton led the pack around on the next lap, he was first to find the slippery track and overshot the corner. Harvey (Red Line Racing) followed suit, and flat-spotted his tyres as he tried to slow the car down. That allowed Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) and Caine (Motorbase Performance) to get ahead of Harvey as Sutton just managed to retain the lead.

While Sutton headed the quartet, Caine made the best progress and dived through to second when he got inside Bridgman into Tarzan on lap eight. Caine then moved in on Sutton and pushed the leader all the way to the flag as Bridgman and Harvey slipped away a little in third and fourth. "He was hounding me an awful lot," said Sutton of Caine. "I was just being cautious with the tyres," added Sutton after another fine victory.

"I think we had the car to win, but James did a good job," said Caine after taking second, while third place was significant for Bridgman as he finished ahead of Harvey. "We just didn't have the pace over a race distance," said Bridgman, while Harvey was relieved to salvage fourth place with his flat-spotted tyres.

Into a superb fifth overall went pro-am1 winner Ollie Jackson (Motorbase Performance), having stayed clear of class rival Tony Gilham (Red Line Racing) with a faultless drive. "I just locked onto the back of Tim Harvey and kept an eye on the mirrors now and again," said Jackson after his first pro-am1 victory. Gilham had strong early pace as he tigered through to sixth, but found his car's handling falling away as the race developed. With Lawson out, third in pro-am1 was an important finish for Glynn Geddie (Team Parker Racing), despite handling problems.

Seventh was scant reward for a tremendous drive from Tom Bradshaw (Team Parker Racing) who ran as high as third off the start, but spun at Yentwood when giving Bridgman room. Bradshaw then stormed back through the field and took overall fastest lap in the process.

Glenn McMenamin (Parr Motorsport) always had the measure of pro-am2, although mid-race Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) closed the gap. "It's harder than you think to stay out front, said McMenamin after a well-judged win. "It was about managing the tyres." With Parish out later with a puncture, Paul Hogarth (IN2Racing) took second in pro-am2 from Paul Mace (GT Marques).