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08 Jun 2021

Photos by Gary Hawkins

Hollyman heads 911 Challenge field home

PCGB 911 Challenge Race Report Snetterton 5th June 2021

Snetterton in Norfolk hosted the second Tractive Suspension 911 Challenge race of 2021 and it was Rob Hollyman who took the win in his 964, chased home by Miles Masarati’s 911 Turbo with James Neal and Neil Harvey third, first of the two driver cars
Hollyman set the pace in the morning’s qualifying session, with Tim Bates second in his 911 SC. The 964 C2 of James Neal and Neil Harvey had gained an impressive rear wing since it raced in the 911 Challenge at Donington Park in April, while fourth was Donington joint victor Masarati, driving solo at Snetterton, in a 911 Turbo.

“The track felt good and quick today,” said Hollyman. “The car has new tyres for the first time in a while so that really helped and I’m looking forward to the race.”

Sadly, a misfire late in the session saw Bates unable to race.

Despite not having a done a standing race start in his blue 964 before, Hollyman got away cleanly at the race start, a storming first lap from Masarati seeing him come round second with James Neal third. Hollyman was the quickest car on the circuit, and pulled clear of Masarati, now finding his car stopping better after brake issues in qualifying, who in turn opened a gap on Neal.

Running a strong fourth in the early stages of the race was Christian Ayres, making his debut in a 964 C2 that was a previous Porsche Club Championship title winner. Close behind was Rainer Becker’s immaculate 911 RSR and he moved ahead on lap two, Ayres running fourth ahead of Nathan Luckey’s 964 N/GT.

With Hollyman out front and setting a series of fastest race laps, it was Ayres who was the first to pit once the window to stop opened after 20-minutes, coming in at the end of his 12th lap. From then on the field started cycling through the pits, Mike Champion stopping his 911 RSR the same lap as Neal came in from third to hand his 964 over to Neil Harvey.  The only other two driver car did the same two laps later as Luckey was replaced by David Harrison in the red 964 N/GT.

Masarati was in for his stop, with all cars required to be stationary for one minute, at the end of his 14th lap, which saw Becker up to second. Hollyman and Becker were the last to pit, coming in after 16 laps, and after that the true order was clear with Hollyman now with a gap to Masarati, Harvey third and Becker fourth ahead of Harrison.

They stayed in that order to the end of the race, Hollyman taking his well-sorted 964 to the win on his first Tractive Suspension 911 Challenge outing, while Masarati claimed another podium, this time in the 911 Turbo his father had raced in the 1990s. Harvey brought his shared 964 home in third with Becker fourth in his RSR. Despite the hot temperatures there was only one retirement, Champion, another driver making his race debut, retiring his Jagermeister-liveried RSR.

“The start went really well!” said Hollyman. “I pushed hard early to get a little gap, but then the brakes went away after ten minutes, but the team checked the fluid levels at the pitstop and they were fine so I pushed a bit more later in the race.”

“We had a bit of sheen on the brake discs this morning but they were much better this afternoon,” said Masarati. “I went round faster than I have even before here so that was very pleasing, and it was very tiring, We only just made the finish as we were having fuel surge near the end but I really enjoyed the race.”

“I didn’t get a brilliant start but then things went how we thought they would,” said Neal. “I was great fun but was really hot in the car.”

Tractive 911 Challenge:
1 Rob Hollyman (964) 27 Laps;
2 Miles Masarati (911 Turbo) +55.796s;
3 James Neal/Neil Harvey (964 C2);
4 Rainer Becker (911 RSR);
5 Nathan Luckey/David Harrison (964 RS N/GT);
6 Christian Ayres (964 C2).

Fastest Lap: Hollyman 2m09.599s (82.47mph).

Next Race: Oulton Park, Cheshire, 3 July.