The race action was as hot as the weather as the Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Classic Boxster Cup fields made the first of their two 2021 visits to the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk on Saturday 5 June. Pete Morris and Simon Clark claimed the outright wins, with class two victories going to Paul Simpson and series returnee Toby Barlow.
Will Heslop continued his run of form to win the first Boxster Cup race under pressure from Richard Forber, who claimed his first win later in the day in just his sixth ever race.
With the track still wet from overnight rain as the 35-cars headed out for qualifying everyone was careful in the early laps but once the grip appeared it was the usual tight battle for grid positions. Simon Clark headed the time early on but was replaced by Pete Morris and he still held sway at the end of the 20-minutes in his Strasse 997. Jake McAleer was second quickest in his Cayman S, with Clark third and James Caley fourth. Mark McAleer was fifth despite retiring during the session after suspension failure.
“The car is going well, and I was going even quicker at the end but had a huge moment at Coram,” said Morris. “The track was tricky at first but that’s a great start to the day and hopefully I can take my first win.”
Matt Kyle-Henney led class two by just a few hundredths of a second from Toby Barlow, Paul Simpson and Kevin Molyneux next up.
In the Boxster Cup it was again Heslop setting the pace, Forber in second from Mike Thompson.
It was a dramatic opening lap as cars touched in the lead group off the grid, Mark McAleer almost going into the pit wall, while at the second corner another tangle saw class two front-runner Kevin Molyneux go off heavily, bringing out the safety car. That picked up the field at the end of the opening lap with Morris ahead of Clark’s County Classics Cayman and Jake McAleer, while further contact early in the lap saw Mark McAleer come round dead last.
After three laps racing resumed, the lead four breaking away as Morris led Clark and Jake McAleer, Caley closing in, and taking third from Jake McAleer on lap six. Caley was pushing hard and passed Clark a lap later to move into second, but the experienced Morris was able to stay cool under pressure and rattled off the remaining laps to take his first win of 2021, from Caley, Clark and Jake McAleer.
“I knew where I was strong and where I had to block, so pleased with that,” said Morris. “The safety car lost me a lead but I got a good restart, but we are pretty well matched with the Caymans round the lap and I managed to stay out front and I was really pleased to see that chequer flag wave.”
“I’m happy with P2,” said Caley. “I lost places early and was able to get through little gaps here and there and move my way up. I was able to get close to Pete but didn’t have an opportunity to get past him.”
“That was a tough race,” said Clark. “I tried to have a go at Pete Morris around the outside of Coram but that let James get inside me and I lost second.”
In class two it was Simpson ahead as they followed the safety car round, Kyle-Henney second with Barlow just behind and Jesse Chamberlain in fourth. At the restart Barlow got past Kyle-Henney, and these two were soon right with Simpson, Kyle-Henney taking the class lead on lap six.
As the lead group battled for class dominance, a driver on the move was Andy Muggeridge, who had missed much of qualifying with a mechanical issue. From the very back of the grid we worked his way through the order to sixth in class by lap seven, and gained another two places the next lap as he passed Angus Archer and leader Kyle-Henney went wide at the long Coram right-hander on lap eight and dropped down the order.
That put Simpson into the class lead, and he held off the attentions of Barlow for the win, while Muggeridge took third from Chamberlain on 10 for a fine podium from way down the grid, Archer ultimately taking fourth.
“I had two incidents happen right in front of me on the opening lap,” explained Simpson, “but I just managed to miss other cars. It was a competitive race; we have three or four other cars out there we are racing closely with so a good race and glad to win.”
Heslop again led the Porsche Classic Boxster Cup runners, but this time had Forber with him in the early laps, finally breaking clear mid-race for his fifth win of the season. Forber claimed second, matching his best result, while Alistair Nelson was another to recover from a difficult qualifying, coming through to take the final podium slot from eighth on the grid.
“Richard kept me honest all the way,” said Heslop. “I got a gap late on which made life easier, but now I’m looking forward to race two and a good battle for the class.”
Jake McAleer made the best start from pole in race two to head the field away in his RVR UK Cayman S, while behind, Morris tried to go inside Clark to take second but just had to concede, Caley fourth from Mark McAleer. The lead pair started to open a gap to Morris and Caley, the three behind in turn pulling away from Dyer in sixth.
Jake McAleer looked to have the pace to hold off the reigning champion until they reached the first of the backmarkers on lap six, McAleer momentarily baulked and that was just enough for Clark to get past. Clark led the remaining laps for win number three of the year, Jake McAleer second.
Morris held off Caley again to take third, Mark McAleer retiring on lap six to complete a disappointing weekend for the championship points leader ahead of Snetterton.
“That was hard work,” said Clark. “Jake was really quick early on and I was just lucky when we got to the backmarkers and he just made a wrong call and that cost him the lead. I got a little gap but couldn’t relax as he was still there and we were working our way through the backmarkers.”
“I got a good start for once and I felt we were controlling the race,” said Jake McAleer. “I was happy with the car, and the Hartech guys have done so much work on it to develop it in the last year, we have so much more confidence in it. We came up to the backmarkers and I just made a wrong decision as to what side to go.”
Barlow led class two at the end of the opening lap with Kyle-Henney, Simpson and Archer lined up behind. From then on it was Barlow in charge of the class, and he held on to take the win on his return to the series having missed all of 2020, Kyle-Henney took second while in the final laps Archer took third from Simpson for his first podium of 2021.
“We needed that win, that was for my old man,” said Barlow, who lost his father early this year. “I’ve worked hard on a simulator with laps of here in the last few weeks and we really had the pace this afternoon and once we had a lead it was just a case of managing the car home.”
Forber led the Porsche Classic Boxster Cup field on the opening lap, first time this season Heslop had not led, but his pink Boxster was right with Forber. The two were side-by-side down the pit straight at the end of four, and into lap six Heslop took the lead at the first corner only to go wide at the exit and slip back to second.
Their entertaining battle was halted when Heslop retired out on the circuit on lap seven, Forber reeling off the remaining laps to take his first win, in just his sixth race. Nelson had another fine drive to take second, with Thompson third.
“We are so delighted to win, said Forber. “It’s only my sixth race and the car was superb and to have my family here with me makes it an amazing result.”
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli, Race One:
1 Pete Morris (997 C2S) 11 Laps;
2 James Caley (997 C2S) +0.117s;
3 Simon Clark (Cayman S);
4 Jake McAleer (Cayman S);
5 Richard Bayston (996 C2);
6 Chris Dyer (Cayman S);
7 Richard Ellis (996 C2);
8 Paul Simpson (Boxster S);
9 Toby Barlow (Boxster S);
10 Andy Muggeridge (Boxster S).
Class Winners: Morris; Simpson. Fastest Lap: Mark McAleer (997 C2S) 2m06.489s (84.49mph).
1 Clark 12 Laps;
2 Jake McAleer +1.974s;
8 Matt Kyle-Henney (Boxster S);
9 Angus Archer (Boxster S);
Class Winners: Clark; Barlow. Fastest Lap: Jake McAleer 2m06.282s (84.63mph).
Porsche Classic Boxster Cup, Race One:
1 Will Heslop (Boxster ) 11 Laps;
2 Richard Forber (Boxster S) +6.850s;
3 Alistair Nelson (Boxster S);
4 Steven Shore (Boxster S);
5 Mike Thompson (Boxster S);
6 Ashley White (Boxster S).
Fastest Lap: Forber 2m14.333s (79.56mph).
1 Forber 12 Laps;
2 Nelson +1 Lap;
5 Vikram Sudera
6 Pete Evans
7 Sarah Thomson
Fastest Lap: Heslop 2m14.643s (79.38mph).
2021 Petro-Canada Lubricants and Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Classic Boxster Cup Calendar:
Donington Park, East Midlands – April 10th
Brands Hatch GP, Kent – May 1
Snetterton 300, Norfolk – June 5
Oulton Park, Cheshire – July 3
Silverstone GP, Northants. – August 14
Brands Hatch Indy, Kent - September 5
Snetterton 300, Norfolk – October 2