A sizzling start to the Porsche Club Championship
By George Woodward 16/04/2018
Last Saturday saw the start of the 2018 ‘Petro-Canada Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli’ at Donington Park.
Last Saturday saw the start of the 2018 ‘Petro-Canada Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli’, with a sizeable grid forming at Donington Park for the opening two races of the season.
This was the first outing for the new 997 C2 in Class 1, and Pete Morris set the early pace onboard his in qualifying, before Mark Sumpter moved to the top of the timesheets ahead of Craig Wilkins, with reigning champion Mark McAleer close behind.
Round 1 saw Wilkins get the early jump on Sumpter, taking a lead he would doggedly defend throughout the race. Meanwhile McAleer had come through the field to pile pressure on Sumpter, only to be forced to retire with gear linkage failure. Feeling the heat in the final few laps, Wilkins nevertheless earned a deserved victory after an incident caused the race to be flagged after 13 laps.
“I got Mark Sumpter off the line,” Wilkins recalled “but I have a sneaking suspicion I was holding him up a bit. I had them right with me the whole time, and it seemed that if I did get any breathing space then I would lose the gap due to a backmarker – but it was a good race.”
Meanwhile, In Class 2, Jonathan Evans was in dominant form, creating a healthy lead that he would rebuild and maintain with apparent ease after a safety car period.
Sumpter would make a better start in Round 2, pulling away from McAleer who again was beset by gearbox problems. He would then trade fastest laps with Wilkins, who was closing in on second place man Pete Morris.
But with five laps to go Sumpter raised his pace and extended the gap to Morris, the top three taking the final flag in that order.
“I was looking after the brakes as the race went on, then got caught out by a couple of backmarkers and I realised the margin I had wasn’t enough,” said Sumpter. “I didn’t want them too close so I decided to get my head down for two laps and break away, and fortunately Craig got back with Pete and he had to defend. I’ll settle for this for a start to the season.”
Back down the field, a stunning first lap saw Evans take the Class 2 lead from sixth on the grid. And despite losing his advantage under another safety car, Evans was again able to rebuild a lead for another comfortable class win ahead of Boxster S rivals Lewis and Muggeridge. In classes three and four Carl Hazelton and Del Brett took two wins apiece.
The next round of the Porsche Club Championship takes place at Brands Hatch on May 5th. You can learn more about Porsche Club’s on-track activities HERE.