The Boxster Cup featured some returnees form last season as well as a welcome crop of new faces as the season started at Donington Park, and delivered two first time race winners, Darren Labbett taking race one while Steven Shore won later in the day.
Pete Evans took his first pole at the end of qualifying, half a second clear of the rest headed by Vikram Sudera, another to record his best qualifying performance. In the opening race the wet track at Redgate corner caught most of the field unaware and a clutch of Boxster’s spun, Sudera the only one not to be able to carry on after contact.
That saw Darren King, in his first ever race, as the early leader with Simon Ruffell-Ward, from ninth on the grid, in second, but under pressure from Graham Heard and Darren Labbett. It was Labbett on the move and he took the lead at the chicane on lap three, promptly easing away from the squabbling field despite being in only his third Boxster Cup race.
Heard ran second for the middle part of the race, but climbing up the order were Steven Shore and Mike Thompson, both of whom having had car issues in qualifying. Shore dived past Ruffell-Ward and King in one move at the chicane on lap five to take third, Thompson followed through a few laps later.
With Labbett away and taking his first win, Shore was into second on lap 11 and looked set for that position, only for his car to slow in the final laps, allowing Thompson past for second and Heard into third.
In race two it was King who led the field in the early laps, showing no signs of his inexperience in an impressive display. Heard headed the chase before going wide at Coppice on lap five, Thomson then heading the chase with Shore close behind. King held off the close attentions of Thompson for much of the middle part of the race, before it all changed with three laps to go.
Labbett was showing the pace that saw him win race one and had closed on the lead group and passed Thompson for second before getting inside King for the lead at Coppice. Labbett then got out of shape exiting the chicane, Shore taking advantage to move into the lead, with Thompson second.
Shore took the win with Thomson second, while King lost out with a lap to go to Sudera, who finished third, his first podium finish.
The Boxster Cup field are next in action at Brands Hatch in Kent on April 30th.
1 Darren Labbett 19 Laps
2 Mike Thompson +21.399s
3 Graham Heard
4 Paul Markham.
Fastest Lap: Labbett 1m22.043s (86.84mph).
1 Steven Shore 19 Laps
3 Vikram Sudera
4 Darren King.
Fastest Lap: Sudera 1m21.013s (87.94mph).