Thruxton 2010

Harvey takes double Carrera Cup pole at Thruxton

Media release: April 3rd, 2010

Tim Harvey got his Porsche Carrera Cup GB season off to a perfect start with a double pole in qualifying at Thruxton today (Saturday 3 April). However, Tom Bradshaw and Michael Caine were right with the 2008 champion during a wet qualifying. In pro-am1, Ollie Jackson also bagged a double pole, while in pro-am2 Pace twice topped the grid sheets.

Rain just before the start of qualifying sent everyone out on wet tyres and many of the best times were set in the early laps. Initially, Bradshaw (JHR) held pole, but a big push by Harvey (Red Line Racing) grabbed the place by six-thousandths of a second. It was nearly as close for the grid for race two, decided by their second best laps, where Harvey was 26-hundredths of a second faster than Bradshaw. In both races, Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) and Euan Hankey (Team Parker Racing) completed the top four grid positions.

"It was tight," admitted Harvey. "I knocked the front splitter off on the first run and I was concerned about missing the best of the conditions. It's good that the grid is so close, but it's going to be a guess on set-up if the races are dry." For Bradshaw, it was his best Carrera Cup qualifying performance to date. "That's better," said Bradshaw. "It was that greasy that slicks were never an option." However, over the second half of the session, many drivers tried slicks rather than carrying on with wets. The slick times were well adrift of the best times on wet tyres.

Caine had started the session on worn wets and suggested that had been the wrong call for the best of the track conditions. "It probably should have been new wets," he said later. But with the top 10 for race one covered by six-tenths of a second, the top of the grid is extremely evenly matched.

Another great battle is in prospect in pro-am1, where Jackson (Addison Lee Motorbase) claimed pole for both races from the impressive newcomer Ahmad Al Harthy (Red Line Racing). "I'm a bit disappointed not to be further up overall," said Jackson, while Al Harthy continued his good progress as he gained more experience of the car. "I needed to repeat my performance from testing and I did," said the Oman racer. A tremendous performance to take third in pro-am1 for both races came from Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing), who belied his very limited experience of Thruxton to get faster and faster through the session. Archie Hamilton (Red Line Racing) and Tony Gilham (ReDesign PHB Racing) completed the top five in pro-am1.

Another double pole came in pro-am2 as Mace (GT Marques) headed the category. "I could see that the rain was easing, so I came in, cooled the tyres and went again," said Mace of the run that took him to both poles. Leading the chase of Mace was a closely matched trio comprising George Richardson (Motorbase Performance), Steve Parish (Addison Lee Motorbase) and Glenn McMenamin (Red Line Racing). "I'm over the moon with that," said teenager Richardson. "It's coming together every time I get in the car."

Harvey takes Carrera Cup GB round one at Thruxton

Media release: April 4 2010

Tim Harvey got the Porsche Carrera Cup GB season off in perfect style at Thruxton today (Sunday 4 April) as he fended off Michael Caine to take the first victory of the season. In a race that delivered great battles all the way down the 25-car field, Tony Gilham stormed through to pro-am1 victory while Mark Hazell drove a fine race to win pro-am2.

With the cars running on a dry track for the first time all weekend, the opening race was all about tyre management over 21 laps of the notoriously abrasive Thruxton circuit. Harvey (Red Line Racing) got the jump over Tom Bradshaw (JHR) off the line and was able to move clear over the first three laps as Euan Hankey (Team Parker Racing) and then Caine (Motorbase Performance) edged Bradshaw back to fourth. "I pushed early then eased back to conserve the tyres," said Harvey.

Caine had to battle ahead of Hankey to get into second and did it with a bold around the outside into the chicane on lap five. Caine then set off in pursuit of Harvey and closed the gap to less than a second. That was how it ran for many laps as the two most experienced drivers in the championship matched each other's pace. "I knew Michael would have to push his tyres to catch me," said Harvey, who crossed the line with eight-tenths of a second in hand. Caine had been close enough to try a move into the chicane, but Harvey was not about to let his lead slip. "It was important to finish that one," said Harvey of the first of the year's 20 races.

Hankey ran a safe third and was elated to score the first overall podium finish for a Carrera Cup GB Scholarship racer. "I'm absolutely ecstatic," said Hankey. "I didn't know what to expect and it was so challenging. I didn't fight Michael Caine as I knew he was faster than me."

Behind Hankey, a mighty battle raged for fourth as Bradshaw fended off Charles Bateman (Motorbase Performance), Stephen Jelley (Team Parker Racing) and Glynn Geddie (Team Parker Racing). As Jelley mounted constant attacks on Bateman, Bradshaw had some respite, but it was very close all the way to the flag. "After three laps I had the front splitter stuck under the car so it was a tough race, but good fun," said Bateman.

The contest for pro-am1 produced a great spectacle as Ahmad Al Harthy (Red Line Racing) made the early running with Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and Tony Gilham (ReDesign PHB Racing) right on his tail. Meanwhile, making up ground fast was Ollie Jackson (Addison Lee Motorbase) after a first corner knock left him with an ill-handling car. This made a tremendous battle until Gelzinis spun and that allowed Gilham to start attacking Al Harthy, just as Jackson lost his front splitter and dropped back. Gilham made his move with three laps to run and dived ahead under braking for the chicane. "I loved it," said Gilham after taking pro-am1 victory from fifth on the grid. "We'd not done any dry laps here and the car faded towards the end," added Gilham. Al Harthy was rightly pleased with his first Carrera Cup race. "I'm very proud to be on the podium in my first Porsche race. It was a tough challenge," said the Oman racer.

In pro-am2, the lead battle was just as entertaining as Hazell (JHR) and Steve Parish (Addison Lee Motorbase) ran wheel to wheel for many laps. Eventually, Hazell's experience told, and he edged away for a deserved win. "It's hard work when you're 50," joked Hazell. "I was just waiting for the chequered flag." Parish was never far adrift in second. "That was really hard, but it was brilliant. The best fun I've had in a racing car," he said as George Brewster (Celtic Speed) worked through to third.

Harvey completes Carrera Cup double at Thruxton

Media release: April 4 2010

Tim Harvey completed a superb double in round two of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Thruxton today (Sunday 4 April), but the victory came under constant pressure from championship newcomer Euan Hankey. Ollie Jackson claimed pro-am1 spoils, while Mark Hazell wrapped up a great weekend by winning pro-am2 for the second time.
After 21 laps of the high-speed Hampshire track, at an average speed of almost 110mph, each of the three categories was decided by less than three-quarters of a second.

"If that's the pace that Euan has at this stage of the season, it's going to be hard work," said Harvey (Red Line Racing) after a fiercely competitive race. With Hankey (Team Parker Racing) as a constant shadow and Michael Caine (Motorbase Performance) going with them, the lead was always in doubt even though Harvey led from lights to flag. "Euan was all over me and kept me honest," said Harvey.

For his part, Hankey was elated to run so strongly on his debut weekend in the Carrera Cup. "I was pushing my hardest and I'm still learning," said the Carrera Cup Scholarship driver. He also had to contend with muscle pump-up in his right arm over the closing laps and concentrated on keeping ahead of Caine. Having watched Hankey's race from close quarters, Caine joined Harvey in congratulating the championship newcomer. Hankey was declared 'driver of the weekend' for his performances.

Tom Bradshaw (JHR) completed a strong weekend with fourth place, despite early pressure from Glynn Geddie (Team Parker Racing) and Michael Meadows (Red Line Racing). "Our pace was not spot on in the dry, but that's two solid results at my least favourite circuit," said Bradshaw. Geddie claimed fifth, but Meadows dropped to seventh behind Charles Bateman (Motorbase Performance) after losing his front splitter later in the race.

The pro-am1 category once again delivered a great contest as Jackson (Addison Lee Motorbase) led from the start and battled with Bateman for overall position. However, in the closing stages Jackson was nearly caught by Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and Ahmad Al Harthy (Red Line Racing), who had been battling race-long. At the flag, less than a second covered the three cars. "That was really tough," said Jackson. Gelzinis' team of Juta Racing won the 'team of the weekend' award for it's first weekend in the Carrera Cup GB.

The battle in pro-am2 was another highlight of the race as Hazell (JHR) worked clear of Steve Parish (Addison Lee Motorbase). However, in the closing laps, Parish closed the gap once more as George Brewster (Celtic Speed) and Glenn McMenamin (Red Line Racing) made it a four-car train for the lead. At the flag, just 1.7s covered the quartet. "It's been good fun but very hard work," said Hazell after one of his best weekends of racing for several seasons.