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06 Sep 2021

Photos by Gary Hawkins

Clark closes on title with Brands Hatch double

PCGB Race Report Brands Hatch Indy Round 6

The combined Petro-Canada Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Classic Boxster Cup fields put on two dramatic races at Brands Hatch on Sunday September 5th which were a highlight of the venue’s Festival of Porsche – Simon Clark enhancing his title lead with two outright wins and only two races left in the season. 
In a day of doubles Angus Archer followed up his maiden class two win with another victory later in the day, while Richard Forber headed home the Boxster Cup field in both races.
It was a busy track for qualifying with thirty-four cars plus reserves on the short Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Getting a clear lap was the aim of every driver, and it was Chris Dyer who times his flying lap perfectly to go top of the times seconds before a car put down oil and slowed the rest of the field. At the end of the session his time was still unbeaten, Clark making it an all-Cayman front row with Mark McAleer and Pete Morris next up in their 997s.
“I got out on track early,” explained Dyer, “as I knew it would be a busy circuit and the car felt really good. I saw I was P1 and then the oil came down and I know no one could beat it.”
Toby Barlow headed class two, with class points leader Matt Kyle-Henney second and Archer third ahead of Bill Caley.
In the Boxster Cup Richard Forber survived losing several lap times due to exceeding track limits to be quickest, title rival Will Heslop in second and Alistair Nelson in third.
Race One
The sun shone down on the packed grid for race one, and while the front two got away well, Mark McAleer leapt off the line and almost made it between the lead pair before being squeezed out on the run to the first corner. It was Clark who headed the field at the end of lap one, Dyer close behind and Mark McAleer heading Harrison.
The order at the front changed dramatically as the lead pack reached Graham Hill Bend on lap six to find the track slippery from fluid deposited by another car. Clark had a slide and Dyer nipped by for the lead, but the big loser was Mark McAleer who was sent off on to the grass and tumbled down the order.
Clark set about closing in on Dyer, Harrison now third from Morris and Mark McAleer fifth ahead of son Jake. The key moment came at the end of lap 20 the lead duo encountered a backmarker as they reached the pit straight. Dyer had a moment to react and elected to go inside the slower car, while Clark went wide and was able to carry more speed and took the lead.
Clark reeled off the remaining laps to take the win, Dyer second from Harrison and Morris.
“It was a lottery at times amongst the backmarkers,” said Clark. “It wasn’t easy for us or them as they are fighting for position too but I’m pleased with the win.” 
“I had to go onto the grass to avoid a backmarker and that lost me just enough speed he was able to get past,” said Dyer. “There was fluid down on the circuit and it was a struggle at times for everybody.”
Class two looked to going to Toby Barlow, who was in control and running with a cushion of class one cars between him and the chasing pack. His victory hopes died on lap 15 as he rolled to a halt at the bottom of Paddock Hill Bend, Kyle-Henney inheriting the class lead but under heavy pressure from Archer and Bill Caley. 
The class battle was a highlight of the race and Archer moved ahead with five laps to go and stayed clear to the flag to take his first class win. Kyle-Henney claimed second to score valuable championship points, Bill Caley third.
“So pleased to take the win, I really had to work for it,” said Archer. “Matt was with me all the way but I managed to hold on.”
Forber had a strong first lap to take the Boxster Cup lead but had Heslop in close attendance the duo were to stay in close formation for much of the 25-minute race. The leader regained some breathing space when he took advantage of some backmarkers on lap 20 to open a small gap, and his win was assured when Heslop was hit with a track limits time penalty.
“We were dicing for a while and with so many cars out today it all got a bit interesting!” said Forber. “Really enjoyable race and always good to take a win.”
Such was the advantage the lead pair had, Heslop was still second despite the penalty, and Pete Evans taking third for his first podium finish with Alistair Nelson fourth.
Race Two
Clark was on pole for race two with Mark McAleer alongside on the front row, and both got away well and looked to go side-by-side into the first corner, Clark hugging the inside and coming out ahead. Morris was in third, Jake McAleer right with him, the lead two easing away in the opening laps as both pushed hard.
After eight laps the leaders were four seconds clear. Morris was still holding off Jake McAleer while Kevin Molyneux, having stepped up to class one for the weekend, was in fifth and defending from James Caley and Dyer. Clark set a new fastest race lap on lap nine, a sign that he was upping his pace, as he pulled away and by lap 15 was over three seconds clear.
What looked to be a lost cause for Mark McAleer suddenly became a new opportunity when the safety car came out as they ended lap 17 due to a car in a gravel trap at the end of the circuit. Once racing was able to resume it was a five car dash to the flag, and McAleer almost caught Clark napping as the safety car released them, but the championship leader held on.
Mark McAleer made a strong challenge into Paddock Hill bend with a lap to go, but Clark held on and took another win that could be vital in the final point standings. Jake McAleer finished third, Morris losing two places when blocked in by backmarkers to slip to fifth behind James Caley.
“He made me work hard for that,” said Clark. “I was caught out as the safety car turned its lights off late and I made a poor restart, but just about managed to hold it together. I’m more than happy with two wins.”
“I tried my best to get him, really enjoyed that race,” said Mark McAleer. “My tyres came back in right away at the restart and I was able to really push him.”
Kyle-Henney led class two up until the safety car period, but that put his class rivals right with him and when they were free to race once more he had Paul Simpson and Archer with him. Archer was into second on lap 23, and in the final moments took the lead for his second class win of the day.
“Two wins out of two, it has been fantastic,” said Archer. “With two or three laps to go Matt got a bit blocked by traffic and that gave me a run on him down the straight and into the first corner.”
In the Boxster Cup it was the same lead battle as in race one, with Heslop this time ahead with Forber in close attendance. As the race progressed these two opened a large gap over their class rivals, headed by Evans with Nelson next up.
Close together after the safety car period, the two touched as they were in a gaggle of other cars at Surtees corner, Helsop going off on to the grass and into retirement. Forber took the win. Nelson second from Scott Adams after Evans lost places as his car briefly slowed.
“Not the way I wanted to win,” said Forber, “but it has been a good day and we have the points to take into the final meeting.”
Petro-Canada Lubricants {Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli Race One:
1 Simon Clark (Cayman S) 29 Laps
2 Chris Dyer (Cayman S) +3.349s
3 Kevin Harrison (996 C2)
4 Pete Morris (997 C2S)
5 Mark McAleer (997 C2S)
6 Jake McAleer (Cayman S)
7 Kevin Molyneux (996 C2)
8 James Caley (997 C2S)

Class Two:
1 Angus Archer (Boxster S)
2 Matt Kyle-Henney (Boxster S)
3 Bill Caley (Boxster S)
4 Paul Simpson (Boxster S)
Fastest Lap: Chris Dyer 51.817s (83.92mph).
Race Two:
1 Clark 26 Laps
2 Mark McAleer +0.383s
3 Jake McAleer
4 James Caley
5 Morris
6 Dyer
7 Harrison
8 Molyneux.

Class Two:
1 Archer
2 Kyle-Henney
3 Bill Caley
4 Simpson.
Fastest Lap: Simon Clark 52.408s (82.97mph).
Porsche Classic Boxster Cup, Race One:
1 Richard Forber 28 Laps
2 Will Heslop +4.778s
3 Pet Evans
4 Alistair Nelson
5 Steven Shore
6 Mike Thompson.
Fastest Lap: Heslop 55.692s (78.08mph).
Race Two:
1 Forber 25 laps
2 Nelson (+13.729s)
3 Scott Adams
4 Thomson
5 Evans
6 Matt Gough.
Fastest Lap: Forber 55.739s (78.01mph).   

Final Round: Snetterton, Norfolk, October 2nd.