The Circuit - June 23/24 2012

Croft Circuit, West Lane, Dalton-on-Tees, North Yorkshire DL2 2PN

Location: Off the A167 Nr. Darlington, from J58, A1M 

Tel: 01325 721815

Website: Croft Circuit

Weekend Timetable: PDF Download here

Yorkshire trio set for Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft

Media release: 18th June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain
After a year’s absence in 2011, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB returns to the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire this weekend (23/24 June) and, while Michael Meadows heads the overall title race, three talented young drivers from Yorkshire all want to challenge for victory at their home track.
Daniel Lloyd, Richard Plant and Sam Tordoff have much in common. Aside from being three of the brightest young stars in the Carrera Cup GB, they are all Yorkshiremen, they raced against each other in karts and they now all race for Team Parker Racing. In addition, they have each scored a debut Porsche win this season and are the three winners of the races not won by championship leader Meadows.
Now comes their home weekend at Croft, yet their knowledge of the North Yorkshire track is not particularly extensive. Plant (22) comes from Sheffield, but has not raced at Croft for five years. “Croft is a bit of an unknown circuit to me,” he admits. “I’ve not raced there since 2007 and I’ve only been there twice with Formula Palmer Audi,” said the driver who won at Brands Hatch at the start of the season.
Meanwhile, Leeds-based Tordoff (23) cannot rate himself as a Croft expert. “I’ve raced there twice in Clios,” he said. “But even with that and track days, I’ve done no more than 10 days there. Croft is a fantastic circuit with a really good mix of corners,” said the Oulton Park winner.
The third of the trio is Lloyd, the 2012 Carrera Cup GB Scholarship winner. He’s got the most Croft racing experience and showed at Thruxton in April just what an emerging talent he really is. The 20-year old from Huddersfield scored his first car racing victory there, so Croft already has a special significance for him. “Croft is my home track and I always enjoy racing there,” said Lloyd. “I’ve raced there in Ginetta Juniors and Clios and I also did a one-off BTCC weekend there.”
Each of the Yorkshiremen knows that Meadows is the driver they have to beat this weekend if they are to stop him going into the summer recess with an increased points’ lead. Across eight races to date, Meadows has been incredibly impressive as he spearheads the multi-car squad from local Redline Racing. Based just down the road at Thornaby, Redline is very much on home ground at Croft and will want nothing less than two more wins for Meadows.
Joining the Yorkshire trio in the chase of Meadows is Lithuanian racer Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing), who is surely getting ever closer to a debut overall win, British racer Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) and Scotsmen Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) and Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing).
In Pro-Am1, Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) is the benchmark and heads to the mid-point of the season with a very useful 32-point lead. But the Omani racer needs to keep pushing hard as Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Parker), Oly Mortimer (GT Marques) and Victor Jimenez (Redline/Marque 1) are all determined to close down the points’ gap. Mortimer and Jimenez each took a win last time out at Oulton Park, while Pierce was a winner at Brands Hatch at the start of the season.
Tania Mann (sibsport performance), Will Goff (Goff Racing) and Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) are the contenders in Pro-Am2, although Mann missed Oulton Park due to budget shortfall.
After qualifying at 13.30 on Saturday, round nine will start at 16.15 on Saturday, with round ten at 13.50 on Sunday. Round ten will be broadcast live on ITV4 during the extensive BTCC programme which runs from 11.30 on Sunday.

Lloyd heads Carrera Cup GB testing at Croft

Media release: 8th June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain
Daniel Lloyd continued his impressive form to head the times in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Friday 22 June) during two very wet test sessions ahead of rounds nine and ten of the championship.
As track conditions improved slightly during the afternoon session, the Carrera Cup GB Scholarship driver headed Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) by a tenth of a second as Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing) also excelled in tough conditions to be third fastest. Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) arrived from a business meeting in Edinburgh in time for the second session and went fastest in Pro-Am1, while Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) set the standard in Pro-Am2.
The first session ran in very wet conditions, with standing water all round the track. Among the first to find the puddles was Pro-Am1 points’ leader Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) who spun off and inflicted some damage to his car. Gelzinis went overall fastest from Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport), with Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) third. For Barker, this was his first experience of Croft. “I’ve never even been to Yorkshire before,” admitted Barker after learning the circuit.
However, it was the afternoon session that counted for the best times and Lloyd turned in a fine performance in the conditions to go fastest overall. “That’s been a very good day’s work,” said Lloyd. “It was getting more and more greasy towards the end of the session, but the car felt very food. It was a perfect session.”
Gelzinis was equally happy with his day’s work. “I think I’ve improved in the wet since Thruxton and if it rains tomorrow, I’m ready,” said the Lithuanian racer. Geddie was strong in third, just three-tenths of a second down on Lloyd while his Redline Racing team mate Michael Meadows was fourth despite a troubled end to the day. Late in the session, a problem on the downshift sent him wide into the complex and he just nudged the tyre wall. “I tried to run wide, but the grass was more slippery than I thought,” said Meadows. “It’s just badly parked.”
Barker and Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) completed the top six overall before Pierce headed Pro-Am1 with seventh fastest overall. “The guys did a great job and the car was really good,” said Pierce as Al Harthy bounced back from his morning shunt to be second in Pro-Am1 ahead of Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air) and Oly Mortimer (GT Marques). Barstys headed Will Goff (Goff Racing) to top Pro-Am2 as Goff started his first weekend running under the wing of IN2 Racing.

Team Reaction

“Another shockingly wet session” was a very apt description of the opening practice session at Croft today from team boss Paul Robe. Whilst it was damp and overcast it was wasn’t raining when we arrived at the track this morning. Sure enough though, by ten past ten, the moisture started to fall from the sky and continue to intensify until we had a fully wet track. “The conditions were almost wetter than Thruxton,” said lead drive Ben Barker. “The track doesn’t drain very well so it’s very wet. You’ve got to be very controlled and build it up as you’re going into the corners as you’re aquaplaning,” he added.

At the start of the session we had to bed in new brakes on the car so Ben was not able to do any meaningful running for the first seven laps whilst he was doing this. Luckily the rain was fairly consistent in coming down so it was not a massive lose. Pro-Am 1 driver Ahmed Al Harthy had an off which brought out the red flag, temporarily halting the session. When the cars returned to the track Ben was able to start challenging and putting in good times.  Whilst the best had been taken out of the new rubber in the early laps, the rain eased towards the end of the session. More water was being cleared by the cars with every lap so the fastest times were going to be set on the last laps to the chequered flag.

Ben was one of those drivers and crossed the line to finish the session second overall, just behind Lithuanian driver Jonas Gelzinis. “It was a positive start, I’ve never been here before so still learning the track,” said Ben.  “Ben hooked it up in the end and got a great lap,” said Paul Robe. “It bodes well really but it would be nice if we can have a dry session next.” Ben added “I feel okay in the wet

Butcher takes double Carrera Cup GB pole at Croft

Media release: 9th June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

Rory Butcher stormed to the top of the qualifying times to take two pole positions in a dramatic qualifying session for rounds nine and ten of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Saturday 23 June).
Butcher (Celtic Speed) claimed his first overall Carrera Cup pole position and then two laps later made it a double by posting the fastest second-best time to complete a perfect session. “It’s such a good feeling,” said Rory as he celebrated with his team and received congratulations from other teams. “Celtic Speed has worked so hard for this,” he said after the dry session. But with the threat of rain later in the afternoon for round nine, Butcher was confident of a strong race no matter what the weather did. “I’ll just drive to whatever conditions come today,” he said.
Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and Michael Meadows (Redline Racing) each took a second and third place on the two grids, but their sessions ended in very different style. Gelzinis ran strongly throughout, but Meadows had a session that started superbly and ended in disaster.
In his first four laps, Meadows posted two laps good enough for the early poles. Then, as others improved, Meadows went back out with 10 minutes to go in a bid to regain both poles. Meanwhile, his team mate Glynn Geddie, on a lap that could have been pole, slid off a Sunny. Meadows backed off but there was contact as Yucel Ozbek in another of the Redline Racing cars. In the space of 60 seconds, three of the Redline cars were damaged and the team had barely two hours to get them repaired in time for round nine. “It was all working quite nicely until then,” said Meadows.
Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) was fourth fastest for both races, while Geddie and Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) shared fifth and sixth places. For Geddie, it was a frustrating end to a session that could have netted a pole.
Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) topped Pro-Am1 for both races with a big attack on his second set of tyres. “I got two very good laps on my second set: I was a bit cautious on the first set and then we had to push,” said the Oman racer. Al Harthy’s late run edged his team mate Victor Jimenez off Pro-Am1 pole as Oly Mortimer (GT Marques) survived a spin at the exit of the chicane to take a brace of third places. Goff (Goff Racing) just pipped Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) in Pro-Am2, but it was very close with a margin of 88-thousandths of a second between them on the times for round nine, which starts at 16.15 this afternoon.

Butcher wins Carrera Cup GB round nine

Media release: 23rd June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

Rory Butcher drove the race of his life to score an emphatic victory in round nine of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Saturday 23 June) in a thrilling race that featured tremendous battles all the way down the field.
Ahmad Al Harthy (Pro-Am1) and Will Goff (Pro-Am2) both raced hard to win their respective categories but there was disaster for championship leader Michael Meadows who retired with a puncture and saw his points’ lead slashed from 34 to 16 as Jonas Gelzinis finished second.
Butcher (Celtic Speed) didn’t get a great start but was able to fend off Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and Meadows (Redline Racing) into the opening lap. However, Meadows was in trouble as early as lap two when he clipped the tyre markers at the chicane and damage to the front bodywork ripped the splitter off the front of the car. Just behind Meadows, Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) was put off line by the tyres and dropped from fourth to seventh with a big moment on the grass.
Now struggling for grip, Meadows had to defend hard from Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing) and Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) as Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) and Lloyd closed in to make it a five-car pack. Meadows was clearly struggling to hold on and was locking a front brake, which ultimately led to his retirement when the flat-spotted tyre failed and he slid off the road at Tower on lap 12.
By then, Tordoff had pulled off an opportunist move at the hairpin to grab a place from Geddie and duly claimed the final podium position as Meadows limped back to the pits to retire.
But the big glory was reserved for Butcher who had driven a tremendous race to take a first Carrera Cup win for both himself and the Celtic Speed team. “It can’t get much better than a lights to flag win. I wasn’t going to let this one slip and I’m just coming to terms with it,” said an elated Butcher after the podium ceremony. Meanwhile, knowing that Meadows was struggling, Gelzinis had driven a measured race to make sure of a big haul of points. “I saw that Michael had trouble with the other guys and to go after Rory would have been a big risk,” said Gelzinis.
Tordoff starred on his way to third from sixth on the grid. “I had to work for that: we made a big transformation in the car from qualifying,” he said. Geddie fended off Barker and Lloyd for fourth despite a damaged front splitter.
The contest for Pro-Am1 was almost as close even though Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) led from the start. But with Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) and Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air) chasing constantly and trading places, it was always in doubt and only 1.5s covered three cars at the flag. “The pressure was on and it was extremely hard to keep the gap,” said Al Harthy. “I’m pleased to be back on the top step of the podium.”
There was also a close finish in Pro-Am2 as Goff just held off Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) by three-quarters of a second. “I nearly chucked it off three times,” said Goff. “I thought I was okay but then I ran wide at Sunny and he caught me again.”

Butcher does the Carrera Cup GB double at Croft

Media release: 10th June 2012

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain
Rory Butcher completed a superb weekend with another victory in round ten of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Sunday 24 June). Despite constant pressure from Michael Meadows, Butcher drove a mighty race to secure his second win in two days at the North Yorkshire track. Ahmad Al Harthy (Pro-Am1) and Will Goff (Pro-Am2) also completed weekend doubles.
The pivotal moment came as the pack stormed into the first corner, Clervaux. Meadows (Redline Racing) made a strong start and just had his nose in front of Butcher (Celtic Speed), but Meadows was unsure of just where Butcher was and the Scot was able to grab the advantage back as they turned through the corner. “He was ahead to turn one, but he gave me some room and that was crucial,” said Butcher.
Butcher now had to race for 15 laps with Meadows on his tail and Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) trying to make it a three-way lead contest. Meadows battled to find a way around Butcher’s defences, but could ill afford to take a big risk and record a second non-finish of the weekend. “Michael was fair the whole way through,” said Butcher. “Once I got in front I could hold him off and it’s a great feeling to win both races. It doesn’t get any better and I’m within striking distance of the championship contenders now.” Butcher earned the ‘driver of the weekend’ award and Celtic Speed was confirmed as the ‘team of the weekend’.
Meadows accepted that a strong second place was a reasonable finish to what had been a difficult event. “It’s gone against us this weekend,” said Meadows, who arrived at Croft with a 34-point championship lead and left with an 18-point advantage. “Without taking a lunge at Rory it was going to be difficult,” he said. In turn, Meadows had to watch his mirrors for Gelzinis, who was never far away. “I stressed my tyres a little bit too much at the beginning,” said Gelzinis.
Daniel Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) always ran fourth, but had to contend with considerable pressure from Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) and Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing) over the first half of the race.
In Pro-Am1, Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) always had the upper hand and was able to build an early lead of around four seconds as Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) battled ahead of Pro racer Richard Plant (Team Parker Racing) while Oly Mortimer (GT Marques) chased Pierce home for the final Pro-Am1 podium position. “I’m delighted,” said Al Harthy. “It was hard to do it again, but I had a good start and kept pushing. It’s been a perfect weekend.” Pierce, however, struggled with tyres all race. “The car never really came on,” he said.
Goff (Goff Racing) had to race hard to make it a double Pro-Am2 win and take over at the top of the points’ table. In the early laps, Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) was ahead until Goff edged ahead when Barstys ran wide at Tower. From then on it was close all the way to the finish. “I had a lot of pressure and it wasn’t over until the chequered flag,” said Goff.