TOYO TIRES BRSCC PORSCHE CHAMPIONSHIP
April 25, 2019
ROUND TWO ROUND UP FROM SNETTERTON 20-21 APRIL
Whilst we have yet to test the Toyo R888R tyres' wet grip this season, last weekend's triple-header at Snetterton certainly tested their hot performance with cloudless Norfolk skies leading to outside temperatures in the low twenties. Inside the cars it was significantly higher, high enough in fact to lead to 924 driver Chris Valentine to suffer from mild heatstroke and miss the first race as a result. Hugh Peart lead the class in qualifying with Andy Pritchard second. An elusive oil leak on John Jones' 924 was found to be failed seal on the alternator mounting. Meanwhile Rick Styrin may have taken the Boxsters' pole but it was Andrew Porter who impressed, posting a career-best P2 ahead of Garry Lawrence.
Andrew Porter produced his best result of the season at Snetterton. Photo copyright © Copyright Neil Browlee 2019
Lawrence took the Boxsters' lead after one lap and Porter dropped from second to fourth. Lawrence then ran off circuit at the Wilson hairpin on second lap - so wide in fact that he disappeared from the circuit's CCTV - to rejoin in 5th, Styrin taking the lead where he remained, comfortable in P1, to the drop of the flag. Lawrence chased the field and by lap 4 was past Anthony Hutchins into P4, and on the same lap Porter challenged Hull for second. By lap 6 Porter had slowed and dropped to fifth with overheating, possibly caused by running in such close proximity to the rear of Hull's Boxster. The air flow improved in clear air, but he cruised to finish fifth. Lawrence pushed Hull who was running in P2 and by Lap 8 was past him into second after their close battle. Styrin took the flag, nearly 10 seconds ahead of Lawrence with Hull collecting another 3rd.
In the 924s, Peart was away from pole smartly, with Pritchard also making an impressive start but by the end of the race, brake issues sapped his pace leaving Jones to pick up first of two trophies from the weekend, finishing second behind Peart with Valentine absent.
Hugh Peart (left) extended his 924 championship lead with three more wins. Photo copyright © Copyright Neil Browlee 2019
Andy Pritchard very nearly missed the start of Sunday's first race when he detected excess travel in his brake pedal. Karl Rossin and fellow helper Roger rapidly bled the system but it wasn't until after the race finished that the real cause of the problem was revealed.
Lap one and Styrin's rented Boxster was in the lead followed by Lawrence and Hull and Porter ahead (just) from Hutchins. Lap 3 and Lawrence slowed and entered the pits with a defective clutch - race over for him. Porter put in a storming drive and was up to third on lap 4 and then second on lap 5 ahead of Hull. Through Laps 7 and 8, Porter and Hull scrapped over second, crossing the line side by side going into the last lap and at the flag, Porter just taking the position by a mere one tenth of a second. Hull finished third with Hutchins again in P4.
In the 924s, Prichard launched himself off the line to take the lead into Turn 1 ahead of Peart and Valentine - but his lead didn't last long as first Peart and then Valentine made it past, the latter going round the outside at Palmer. Valentine kept Peart in sight for a couple of laps but was unable to sustain his pace when a misfire developed on the exit of corners. Having conceded second place to Moluto team-mate Jones and then later to Pritchard, Valentine nursed the 924 home to later find that it wasn't fuel starvation but a failed alternator that robbed him of vital championship points.
Meanwhile Pritchard nursed his green and white 924 to a third place finish with the brakes almost useless and on closer inspection, the true cause was revealed to be a departure from the bulkhead of his brake master cylinder. A sigh of relief from the driver - and a leg-pull from his team that perhaps he would be quicker still if he didn't push so hard on the brake pedal!
Another Bosters win then for Rick Styrin, collecting the historic Barn Ruche Trophy, but a new man on the 2nd step was Porter, finishing with his best ever result, and Nick Hull collecting points for third. In the 924s it was maximum points again for Peart, newbie Jones landing another 2nd - promoting him to second in the championship - and Pritchard third.
The Boxsters battle at Murray's. Photo copyright © Copyright Neil Browlee 2019
The third race of a three race weekend started by tradition with a reverse grid, which meant Hutchins (Boxters) and Valentine (924s) were on pole.
With Lawrence's clutch declared unreplaceable in the time available, and Styrin having to be away smartish to meet a family holiday flight, Styrin skipped the final race of the weekend gaciously allowing Lawrence to jump into the black 987 to enter what was predicted to be a very close race: none of the remaining Boxster drivers had ever won a PDA race, so we were guaranteed a new winner.
Lawrence set the early pace from Hull, Porter and Hutchins, but they were all tied together in one group. Hull took the lead after 2 laps from Lawrence, Porter and Hutchins. By lap 4 Lawrence was leading, but by lap 5 Porter further upped his pace and was past Hull into second - and by the end of lap 7 was in the lead. Still all Boxsters were circulating very closely.
On lap 8, Porter span after a minor coming together at Riches with Hull (later judged to be a racing incident with no blame for either driver), but recovered to finish P4 after his strongest weekend ever in the championship. Lawrence fought his way past Hull to take the win by a mere 2 tenths of a second – his first ever win – and Hutchins took the remaining podium step, less than a second behind Hull after a very competitive showing.
In the 924s it was another awesome start from Pritchard who lead from Valentine, Peart and Jones. By lap 2 Valentine had grabbed the lead with Peart eventually passing Pritchard into second.
By lap 3 Valentine had conceded the lead to Peart, maintaining the order to lap 4 while Jones was catching Pritchard, taking the position as the cars crossed the line after 5 laps. Pritchard wasn't giving up, though, and the pair circulated very closely for the remainder of the race, closing in on Valentine who missed 2nd gear twice at the Wilson and Agostini hairpins.
On the last lap, Valentine - desperate to keep hold of 2nd - locked up at Murray's causing sudden panic in the chasing Jones and Pritchard, who had a slight coming together, Pritchard taking the longer to recover after spinning. A misunderstanding led to the latter being directed into the pitlane, where although taking the chequered flag was subsequently ruled a non-finisher, robbing him of vital points.
The Boxsters podium was therefore Lawrence from Hull and Hutchins with Peart taking his fifth 924 win of the season ahead of Valentine and Jones.
Text by Chris Valentine from notes by John Broadley; photos by Neil Brownlee.
Chris Valentine held on to 2nd - just - in Race 3. Photo copyright © Copyright Neil Browlee 2019
Current championship standings after five races - our dropped score rule does not come into effect until three rounds are completed. Full results are listed on the PDA website HERE
Class A Supersport Boxsters
1 Rick Styrin 79.0
2 Nick Hull 75.5
3 Garry Lawrence 70.0
4 Andrew Porter 68.0
Class D Classic 924s
1 Hugh Peart 67.5
2 John Jones 52.5
3 Chris Valentine 43.0
4 Andrew Pritchard 43.0
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