Donington Park on October 29th hosted the final rounds of the Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli and Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup, and after an exciting day’s racing it was Colin Tester and Pete Evans who were newly crowned respective provisional champions.
“The day worked out well,” said Tester, “it’s been a long hard season and I wasn’t expecting to win, I didn’t even think I’d be racing until a few days before the opening races. Highlights have been the two wins on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, it’s all been great, and we haven’t had many dramas, the series has been fantastic, you feel really looked after here and it’s a brilliant place to go racing.”
“I had to be a bit conservative to make sure I got the points,” said Evans, “but came through really well in the second race and just missed out on the podium. It’s been a great day with some superb driving from everyone, and I have to thank so many people for getting me here, Parr Motorsport have been amazing, and my sponsors have been so supportive. Looking to come back to race with the club next year, stepping up to a new challenge!”
Club Championship race wins went to Pete Morris, who sponsored the day’s trophies via his PMC Midlands company, and Simon Clark, while Tester took the opening class two win and followed winner Bill Caley home in the second. Wayne Gregory took both Boxster Cup wins, his first in the series, and Tim Bates continued his unbeaten 911 Challenge season.
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli
The drying track for the opening Porsche Club Championship race of the day meant tyre choice was critical. At the start pole-sitter Matt Kyle-Henney tumbled down the order as he fought to get his slick shod Cayman off the line, while Simon Clark’s wet tyres gripped immediately and from the outside of the front row he took the lead in his 996.
Clark not only went ahead but opened a big gap on the rest, crossing the line at the end of lap one four and half seconds clear, with Chris Dyer, also on wets, second and Pete Morris’ 997 heading the slick tyred runners in third. After his dream start Clark was greeted on lap two by the sight of Kevin Harrison’s 996 stranded at McLeans corner, bringing out the safety car and closing the field up once more.
Racing resumed at the start of lap five and now it was slicks that were the better option, Morris passing Dyer’s Strasse Cayman on lap seven and then moving into the lead a lap later to in turn quickly open a gap. Morris was leading but flying up the order was Kyle-Henney’s Cayman, which had been 11th after two laps but was back to sixth by lap eight and fourth just a lap later.
The latter laps of the race saw Kyle-Henney taking time out of Morris on every lap, and they crossed the line into the final lap together, Morris just holding on and they encountered traffic towards the end of the lap for the win. Next up was Kyle-Henney’s SW Engineering team-mate Andy Muggeridge after a fine drive in the tricky conditions, Clark and Dyer chasing him home and the trio virtually three abreast as they took the chequer flag.
“I missed the flag at the end so went round again!” said Morris. “I got a bad start, but I was on slicks, and I have raced here a lot, and I knew I had to pace myself and be patient at first and the pace would come. Matt was so quick at the end, and I was also trying to save tyres for the second race.”
“We decided to go for slicks, but it was touch and go,” said Kyle-Henney, “and I started on the wet side of the track and very conservative on the opening lap knowing the tyres would pay off later in the race. I was surprised how quick the tyres started working and the car was getting quicker and quicker…if we had one more lap I think I would have had him.”
In class two Andrew Porter had taken class pole and was sixth overall when the safety car came out. When free to race again he soon had Bill Caley and Angus Archer closing in, Archer moving ahead on lap seven.
Coming up the order quickly though was class points leader Tester, another to opt for slick tyres, who was ahead by class nine and seventh overall as grip improved in the middle of the race. Tester held on for the win and the useful points haul, Paul Simpson coming through for second with Archer claiming third.
“It was a last-minute call to go onto slicks,” said Tester. “We weren’t sure what to do and thought about playing it safe, but I said let’s just go for it on the slick tyre. Early on I thought it was the right choice and it really paid off. I want as many points as possible today, but no one made it easy for me in that race.”
Clark was on pole for race two on the now dry track and made a great getaway as Morris had wheelspin but held on to second from the challenge of Kyle-Henney in to the first corner. Two laps in and the lead three were a second clear of fourth-placed Dyer, and on lap five Kyle-Henney got inside Morris and claimed second, eager to stop Clark easing away.
Kye-Henney initially closed but then Clark was able to ease away again, Kyle-Henney, like Morris, suffering from his slick tyres already having been used in race one while Clark, who had run on wets earlier in the day, could exploit his fresh rubber. Clark held on to take the win at the end of the 20-laps, his fifth of the season, and enough to see him take the class one title ahead of Morris.
“I just had to drive as hard as I could,” said Clark, “I wanted as much of a buffer as I could in case anything happened. On the grid I was thinking this was the most important race of the year and I got a good start, the fresh tyres were an advantage.”
“The tyres were a race old and that made the difference,” said Kyle-Henney, “I pushed as hard as I could but a great race and hard work!”
Behind, Morris had the rapid Neil Delargy right with him for the latter part of the race, Delargy finally getting past with three laps to go to claim his first podium finish of the season. Morris took fourth, just clear of James Caley.
With the class two title sealed by his race one performance, Tester had his eyes on a bigger target in race two and was chasing points, running fourth in class by lap three behind Bill Caley, Porter and Simpson, and with Archer just behind. Two laps later that was second in class, and he started to chip away at the two second gap to Bill Caley.
“I won the last race of last season too,” said Caley, “I’ve got back into the style needed for the Boxster, shame there aren’t any more races.”
They were together by the mid-point of the race, but Tester knew he didn’t need to take any risks and duly followed Caley home to finish second, more than enough to see him the provisional 2022 Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli overall champion. Archer finished third for his second podium of the day, Porter and Simpson following him home.
Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup and 911 Challenge
The field faced the worst of the day’s weather for a very wet race one, but from pole position Darren King got his Boxster away well and headed the field into the first corner, Wayne Gregory and Darren Labbett close behind. The lead three pulled a couple of seconds clear of the rest in the opening two laps, Vikram Sudera fourth from Mike Thompson and Simon Ruffell-Ward.
Gregory was putting King under pressure from early in the race but the leader held on for lap after lap. Once Gregory got alongside but King held on and led again as they went down the Craner Curves, but the decisive move was on eight when Gregory made a move that stuck and was ahead. By lap 11 Labbett had closed on King, Sudera coming with him, and their three-car battle was a highlight.
Labbett took second into the first corner as they started lap 13 and a lap later Sudera was past too, although Gregory was by this point almost five seconds clear and took the win, his first in the series. Labbett was second and Sudera third, his second podium finish of 2022.
“That was such a good race,” said a delighted Gregory. “It’s about time I took a win and it’s such a good feeling. The track was so slippery at first and the wet tyres were getting hot as the track was drying and I was worried about just getting the car home.”
Bates was the star of the 911 runners, his 911 SC passing the entire Boxster Cup field despite the 911 Challenge runners starting ten seconds after them and winning overall as well as taking the class. Mike Johnson was second while series debutante Andy Walton brought his early 911 home third.
“I enjoyed the conditions,” said Bates, “it was very greasy and you had to be careful when braking, but I was able to be consistent and trying to stay out the way of the Boxster’s.”
Conditions were much improved for race two later in the day, and again it was King who led the field away, with Gregory once more in tow. Behind, Shiraz Khan was third from Thompson and Labbett, championship points leader Pete Evans running eighth at the end of the opening lap.
Once more King found himself under pressure from Gregory, who reeled in the leader by lap four after a superb opening lap put King well clear. By lap eight the front two were together, and their battle had allowed Khan and Labbett to also close in for a four-car train at the head of the Boxster Cup field.
The leader held on until lap 13 when Gregory finally got past, and after pushing King hard Khan was finally past on lap 16 and set off after the leader. Into the last lap Gregory was still clear, but a stunning lap from Khan – the fastest of the race, saw them exit the final corner together, Gregory just holding on to take his second win of the day by the closest margin as they crossed the line side by side.
“That was such hard work,” said Gregory. “I have no idea when Shiraz came from, he was storming thorough and I’m glad that was the last lap. I have to thank Unique for making me such a good car and what a day, two wins!”
“I was sure I could have him!” said Khan, “I went down an extra gear out of the chicane on the final lap and the car got the most amazing drive out the corner, I just needed a little more to catch him. This has been such a great season, a great opportunity and I am loving racing here.”
This time King held on to third to take the final podium position but right with him was Evans who had worked his way up the order as the race had progressed and crossed the line to take the 2022 Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup crown.
Bates was again the form driver of the 911 Challenge and took the win to stay undefeated all season. The dry track was much more sorted to Johnson’s tyre choice, and he followed Bates through the field to claim second overall, Walton again rounding out the podium.
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli
1 Pete Morris (997 C2S) 18 Laps
2 Matt Kyle-Henney (Cayman S) +0.208s
3 Andrew Muggeridge (996 C2)
4 Simon Clark (996 C2)
5 Chris Dyer (Cayman S).
1 Colin Tester (Boxster S);
2 Paul Simpson (Boxster S) +10.775s
3 Angus Archer (Boxster S).
Fastest Lap: Kyle-Henney 1m16.980s (92.55mph).
1 Clark 20 Laps
2 Kyle-Henney +2.288s
3 Neil Delargy (997 C2S)
4 Pete Morris (997 C2S)
5 James Caley (997 C2S)
6 Kevin Harrison (996 C2)
1 Bill Caley (Boxster S)
2 Colin Tester +2.094s
3 Angus Archer (Boxster S)
Fastest Lap: Kyle-Henney 1m15.406s (94.48mph).
Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup
1 Wayne Gregory (Boxster S) 17 Laps
2 Darren Labbett (Boxster S) +2.051s
3, Vikram Sudera (Boxster S)
4 Darren King (Boxster S)
5 Mike Thompson (Boxster S)
6 Shiraz Khan (Boxster S).
Fastest Lap: Khan 1m29.595s (79.52mph).
1 Wayne Gregory 19 Laps;
2 Shiraz Khan +0.028s
3 Darren King (Boxster S)
4 Pete Evans (Boxster S)
5 Darren Labbett (Boxster S)
6 Mike Thompson (Boxster S)
Fastest Lap: Khan 1m21.575s.
1 Tim Bates (911) 17 Laps
2 Mike Thompson (911 SC)
3 Andy Walton (911).
Fastest Lap: Bates 1m27.266s (81.64mph).
1 Tim Bates (911)
Mike Thompson (911 SC)
3 Andy Walton (911).
Fastest Lap: Bates 1m18.686s (90.65mph).