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07 Sep 2020

Photos by Gary Hawkins

Harrison and Clark take tight Brands Hatch wins

Porsche Club Championship rounds five & six – Brands Hatch

A superb Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli race day at Brands Hatch saw wins for Kevin Harrison, on a one-off outing in the series, and title challenger Simon Clark. James Coleman won class two in the first race, but retired from the later event as Matt Kyle-Henney took the win.

In the Porsche Classic Boxster Cup Paul Simpson left Brands with two more wins to add to his points tally.

Mark McAleer took pole in the morning’s 20-minute qualifying session, the times very tight with the top six cars just half a second apart. Harrison was second quickest, just heading Simon Clark, with Jake McAleer, James Caley and Pete Morris all very close behind.
Coleman headed class two, two tenths quicker than Matt Kyle-Henney, with Andy Muggeridge third. Paul Simpson set the class three pace ahead of series returnee Sam Beckett.
Race One
Mark McAleer and Harrison were side by side into the first corner, Harrison coming out ahead and McAleer having to hold off Clark on the run up the hill to Druids It was a dramatic lap one with Jake McAleer already slowing and heading to the pits after two corners with a damaged exhaust after contact, while further round a mid-field clash left Matt Kyle-Henney and Ross Morris stopped on the inside of the circuit at the start of Clearways, which saw the safety car out at the end of lap two, Harrison and Mark McAleer having pulled just clear of Clark.
Racing resumed on lap five, the lead trio pulling away from Chris Dyer’s Cayman. On lap nine Clark was quick through Paddock Hill Bend and got alongside Mark McAleer and was ahead as they turned into Druids, while behind Pete Morris was past Andy Toon for fifth and set off after Dyer.
The lead trio were lapping quickly and soon lancing past backmarkers, McAleer getting baulked at Druids on lap 14 but soon back behind Clark. With just tenths between them we looked set for a great finish to the race but a car off at the top of Paddock Hill bend brought out another safety car period, the field finally being released for a two-lap sprint to the line.
Harrison held off a determined Clark for the win, McAleer third while behind Morris was right with Dyer on the pit straight but his team-mate held on and Toon took sixth.
“I got a good start and I think Mark McAleer was a bit generous as we went side-by-side,” said Harrison. “There was a lot of pressure but it was good fun, I thought the race was going to end under the second safety car but then we only had two racing laps. I’m fifth on the grid for race two but we’ll give it a go!”
“I started the move to get past Mark at Paddock Hill Bend and went wide and managed to undercut him,” said Clark. “I was right with Kevin Harrison but he never gave me an opportunity, sadly he got the fastest lap as well.”
“I felt I was hanging on rather than challenging,” said McAleer. “The car wasn’t changing direction as sharp as I like and we struggled to gain any advantage, but there is another race coming.”
Coleman led class two all the way and was a fine seventh overall at the end, Andy Muggeridge second in class with Charles Clark third from the 944 of Richard Bayston.
“That was alright, joked Coleman. ‘It’s the mid-point of the season and I needed a bit of luck so that was ok it was a bit of a lonely race but everyone seemed to be napping on the safety car restarts and I was able to pull away again each time.”
Paul Simpson led the Boxster Cup field all the way, Mike Thompson taking his third second place finish of the season behind.
“We had a good race,” said Simpson,” there were quite a few incidents but I kept away from them and it’s nice to be on the top step of the podium.”
Race Two
There was drama right at the start as front-row starter Jake McAleer had a clutch problem off the line and the rest of the field somehow all got around him without any contact. Mark McAleer had got away from pole, but had Clark right with him and a move round the inside at Druids for the first time saw Clark’s Cayman into the lead.
James Caley ran third early on but Harrison, who had been fifth on the grid, was closing in and went past on lap six, promptly setting off after the lead pair. In front Clark was already under pressure from Mark McAleer, which  became even more intense as Harrison closed up on the lead pair.
Despite several long looks down the inside into the first corner, Clark held off Mark McAleer, the front trio at times diving through gaggles of back markers into the corners. In the final laps Harrison fell away, caught behind a backmarker the other two were able to get past before a corner, and Clark held on to take his second win of the season.
“That felt like one of the longest races I have ever done,” said Clark, “I looked up near the end and there were six minutes to go and I was thinking that was another six laps or more and I have to keep them behind. It was scrappy here and there and I was pushing hard, but it worked out in the end.”
Class two looked to be going the same way as race one, as Coleman led the class and ran inside the top ten but his car was smoking with three laps to go and he pulled off with engine issues. With Andy Muggeridge touring round slowly with a rough sounding engine, that saw Matt Kyle-Henney in the lead to take his second win of the year and compensation for his non-finish in the first race of the day.
All the changes elevated Charles Clark and Bill Caley to the podium positions, the two dueling earlier in the race for several laps, fine performance from two drivers who only made their race debuts at the start of the Porsche Club Championship season.
Sam Beckett led class three early on but it was Simpson who came through to take his second win of the day and fourth of the season, while Mike Thompson and Barry Strong rounded out the podium with Beckett finally fourth.
I enjoyed that race, one of our better ones,” said Simpson. “We were having a good battle but got split up went the lead group came through
Round Five Results:
1 Kevin Harrison (996 C2) 25 Laps
2 Simon Cark (Cayman S) +0.545s
3 Mark McAleer (997 C2S)
4 Chris Dyer (Cayman S)
5 Pete Morris (996 C2S)
6 Andy Toon (996 C2)
7 James Coleman (Boxster S)
8 James Caley (997 C2S)
9 Andy Muggeridge (Boxster S)
10 Charles Clark (Boxster S)

Class Winners: Harrison; Coleman, Paul Simpson
Fastest Lap: Harrison, 52.337s (83,08mph)
Round Six Results:
1 Simon Clark 29 Laps
2 Mark McAleer +0,365s
3 Kenvin Harrison
4 Pete Morris
5 Jake McAleer
6 Chris Dyer
7 James Caley
8 Matt Kyle-Henney (Boxster S)
9 Charles Clark
10 Bill Caley

Class Winners: Simon Clark; Kyle-Henney; Simpson.
Fastest Lap: Jake McAleer 52.201s (83.30mph)
Next Races: Oulton Park, Cheshire, Saturday October 3rd.