The Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli field combined with the Classic Restoracing Championship runners to put over thirty cars out on track at Snetterton on Saturday, July 27th, the races providing a variety of winners and some first-time victors.
Simon Clark won the wet first race by a big margin, with James Coleman taking class two and Ben McLoughlin recording another Restocaring win. Chris Dyer took his Cayman to overall victory in the second race of the day, while in the classes Toby Barlow and Will Heslop took their maiden wins in class two and Restoracing respectively.
The track was wet for qualifying with the Porches the first cars out at the start of a busy Snetterton race day. Clark set the pace, for much of qualifying well clear of the rest and it was only late in the session that the others improved, Pete Morris second but still over two seconds slower, Strasse team-mate Dyer third.
“I know every inch of tarmac here, it is my favourite circuit and the one I know best,” said Clark. “The car felt good, the team had set it up well, we were ready for dry session with half an hour to go and they worked hard to get it set up for the wet.”
Coleman continued his form from Brands Hatch to head the class two runners, Angus Archer second quickest ahead of Kevin Molyneux, class points leader Ross Morris fourth in class.
For the first time it was not McLoughlin heading the Classic Restoracing Championship times, Heslop outpacing him right at the end of the 20-minute session.
It was still raining for race one with the Porsche Club Championship runners all on wet weather tyres. Clark was just a touch slow off the line and Pete Morris was right with the poleman, the pair side-by-side for most of the first part of the lap before Clark got a good exit from Agostini and pulled ahead. At the end of the lap Clark’s Cayman already had a gap over the rest, Pete Morris heading Dyer, Price and Mark McAleer.
From then on the leader was never challenged, almost ten seconds clear after two laps as the others fought over second, drama coming in that group on the final lap as Price spun on the wet track, promoting Mark McAleer to third behind Morris, Dyer fourth.
“I had a battle with Pete Morris for the first half a lap, he wasn’t going to give up easily,” said Clark. “I didn’t make the best of starts but found some grip when I needed it, though towards the end the tyres were starting to get hot.”
“I was under pressure there but I have been doing this a long time and I enjoyed that,” said Morris. “I had to be defensive, but I was worried one of us was going to throw it off, I went wide a few times, but we had a great race together.”
“It was our first time with this car in the wet so we weren’t expecting a podium,” said McAleer. “We made some big changes and know we now have a car that can compete.”
Coleman was equally dominant in class two, running in the top ten overall in the tricky conditions and finishing ninth at the end of the race. Kevin Molyneaux was second early on but slipped down the order, Angus Archer second in class at the end from Ross Morris.
“I couldn’t see anything behind me all race so I had no idea where anyone else was,” said Coleman. “I luckily had a lead so was out the way of everything and let them battle behind me.”
It was a race for runaway class leaders with McLoughlin recovering from his first defeat last time out at Brands Hatch to handsomely win the Classic Restoracing Championship class. Paul Blakesley took second from Heslop on lap two and held on for a strong finish in the Porsche Centre Cambridge Boxster, while Heslop continued his fine form with third.
“That was a bit into the unknown for everyone as it was out first full wet race,” said McLoughlin. “I got a good start, but Will got a bit blocked at first, and on the opening lap I had some lucky breaks and that gave me a gap.”
By mid-afternoon the circuit had dried, and Clark led away at the start, but went wide allowing Dyer and Morris past. As Clark looked for a way into second, that allowed Dyer to open a gap at the front of the race, Price, Mark McAleer and Toon also closing up on the battle for second.
Dyer was pushing hard and twice set quickest race lap while running at the front, while Clark was pressuring Morris, but lost places on lap five before pulling off after a clash with another car. Move of the race came on lap seven when Price got alongside Morris down the long back straight and took the lead through the chicane, but with Dyer already over three seconds clear he had to settle for second.
Morris was third with Mark McAleer fourth, Toon taking fifth ahead of James Caley, who took two impressive sixth places in the varying conditions.
“The first couple of laps I was trying to open a gap, I managed to get inside Simon Clark when he went wide at the first corner then just had to get away,” said Dyer. “It is always good to look in the mirror and see people fighting for position behind, and I was watching them side-by-side on the straight and knew it was a close battle. Really pleased with the win.”
“That was a nice way to end the day after going off in race one,” said Price. “The car felt really strong and I got a good exit onto the straight and by the time we up to top speed we were alongside each other and closing on two backmarkers. I had been better on the brakes into there so quite fancied making a move, but it was a close thing.”
“I was thinking about the team points, I couldn’t keep up with Chris Dyer but had a cracking race with Michael Price,’ said Morris. “Really pleased to be on the podium again.”
Class two pace setter James Coleman was also slow away at the start, but regained the lead from Molyneaux on lap three and looked on the way to his second win of the day. Someone determined not to let that happen was Toby Barlow, on only his second Porsche Club Championship weekend, lapping quickly in his Boxster and past Molyneaux for second on lap four.
Barlow began reeling in the leader and such was his pace he was in the lead within the next two laps, taking his first class win from Coleman with Molyneaux third.
“We ran in the dry in testing yesterday and it really worked today for us,” said Barlow. “The car felt really planted and I was able to carry speed onto the straights. It was hard work, but that is our duck broken!”
Battle of the race in the final laps was for the Classic Restoracing Championship, as long-time leader McLoughlin had the pink Boxster of Heslop closing in remorselessly. Into their final lap Heslop had a look for a way past at the first corner, briefly losing ground, but made the decisive move later in the lap and came home in front to take his first Restoracing win in the Porsche Centre Wolverhampton car.
“I wasn’t going to close in on Ben and not have a go!” said Heslop. “I was right with him and tried to keep it neat and tidy, I lost time early in the last lap but managed to just get him on the back straight.”
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Classic Restoracing Championship, Race One, Snetterton, 25 Minutes: 1 Simon Clark (Cayman S) 11 Laps; 2 Peter Morris (997 C2S) +23.955s; 3 Mark McAleer (997 C2S); 4 Chris Dyer (Cayman S); 5 Andy Toon (996 C2); 6 James Caley (997 C2S). Class Two: 1 James Coleman (Boxster S); 2 Angus Archer (Boxster S); 3 Ross Morris (Boxster S). Classic Restoracing Championship: 1 Ben McLoughlin (Boxster S); 2 Paul Blakesley (Boxster S); 3 Will Heslop (Boxster S). Fastest Lap: Clark, 2m24.516s (73.95mph).
Race Two: 1 Dyer 12 Laps; 2 Michael Price (997 C2S) +4.258s; 3 Pete Morris; 4 Mark McAleer; 5 Toon; 6 Caley. Class Two: 1 Toby Barlow (Boxster S); 2 Coleman; 3 Kevin Molyneaux (Boxster S). Classic Restoracing Championship: 1 Heslop; 2 McLoughlin; 3 Ollie Coles (Boxster S). Fastest Lap: Dyer, 2m06.590s (84.43mph).
Next Races: Oulton Park, Cheshire, August 31st