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McAleer and Sumpter Win in the Summer Heat

Snetterton on Saturday June 30th marked the mid-point of the 2018 Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli season, and the hot on-track action matched the weather with overall race wins for former champions Mark McAleer and Mark Sumpter. In class two Andrew Muggeridge claimed his first win as points leader Jonathan Evans hit problems in race one, though recovered in race two to take another win.
 
Qualifying
The cars were the first out at Snetterton in the morning, with Simon Clark’s Cayman quickest early on, and Sumpter second. As ever the times improved as drivers dialed themselves into to the long Snetterton lap, Sumpter improving to take pole before McAleer, who had been third, in turn went quickest, just hundredths of a second quick that Sumpter.
 
With drivers’ second quickest lap setting the grid for race two, Sumpter was on pole for that race with Clark second and McAleer third.
 
“The car is really good but the times are really tight,” said McAleer. “We can’t do that pace in the race, it is going to be hot today and everyone is going to have to manage their tyres.”
 
Evans once again set the pace in class two, and eleventh overall, clear of second quickest Muggeridge and 2018 series newcomers Steve Freeman and Angus Archer.
 
Race One
McAleer and Sumpter got away together and sat side-by-side through the first corner before McAleer nosed ahead. Wilkins gained a place to be third at the end, ahead of Clark and James Birch.
 
The order had shuffled in the top ten on lap one as Michael Price spun his 996, the top five coming through at the end of the lap with a big gap to the rest, Peter Erceg sixth ahead of Chris Dyer, Andy Toon and Pete Morris.
 
McAleer extended his lead on lap two, Sumpter now with the next three right with him. The gaps in the lead group were changing by fractions each lap, the cars proving evenly matched over the full lap.
 
They stayed together until lap nine, when McAleer went past a backmarker in the first corner, Sumpter also dived past but lost a little time, and the next three caught the other car on the exit of the corner. With cars going past either side of the backmarker, Birch made the best call and jumped from fifth to third, Wilkins down to fourth ahead of Clark.
 
McAleer pushed hard to the end for the win, Sumpter a second clear of Birch as they crossed the line to take second.
 
“I could see parts of the circuit where Mark was quicker than me and other parts where I had the pace,” said McAleer. “Overall our pace was pretty much the same and it was a case of just trying to manage the gap. I had a noisy wheel-bearing at the end and I was trying to be mindful of that and the fact I needed the tyres for the next race.”
“That was flat-out the whole way,” said Sumpter, “but good fun. At one point the three of us at the front seemed to have the same car as we all had exactly the same pace. Between Mark McAleer and I we were just trading lap times, then he had a bit of luck with a backmarker that cost me a little time. “
 
“At the front it just seemed to be cat-and-mouse the whole race,” said Birch. “We all seemed to have about the same pace, then I got lucky with the back-marker and it was a shame for them but that is how is goes sometimes.”
 
The normal script for class two got torn up early on as Evans stopped briefly at the side of the track on three. He got going again, but well down the order, and Freeman, in his first season of racing, headed the class. Closing in was Muggeridge, and Freeman was under intense pressure for several laps before Muggeridge got past on lap seven.
 
Muggeridge duly took his first class win ahead of Freeman, with Angus Archer third, Evans recovering to fourth in class.
 
“I’m really pleased to take the win, it is a shame that Jonathan had a problem,” said Muggeridge. “I lost a couple of positions when the 996 went off at the start, but I managed to get places back and was being as tenacious as I could. “
 
Race Two
Sumpter led the field away in race two, though it was a short race for Morris who broke a driveshaft off the line and immediately pulled off. At the end of lap one it was Sumpter leading from Clark, Wilkins, Birch and McAleer – the same lead train as race one but in a different order.
 
Over the early laps Sumpter pushed hard, opening a gap of almost four seconds at one point, while behind Wilkins tried an ambitious move on Clark that saw him briefly go off and ultimately retire. McAleer had gone past Birch on lap three, and with Wilkins out closed in on Clark.
 
In the final laps the cars behind were lapping almost half a second quicker than the leader and his advantage over the rest tumbled, and Sumpter took the win with Clark less than half a second behind, McAleer right with Clark. Birch fell away but held on to fourth, well clear of Chris Dyer who had been part of an entertaining mid-field battle that included Michael Price, Peter Erceg and Andy Toon.
 
“There was a little period in the middle of the race where I had a gap on the car behind, but other than that I felt I was under pressure the whole race!” said Clark. “the 996s seemed to have the upper-hand in some places and I was quicker elsewhere. It was an intense race but good gun.”
 
“I could have done with a longer race!” said McAleer. “At the end I felt I had the quickest car but I couldn’t get past Simon. But we’re happy with the weekend, we got pole, a win and another podium finish.”
 
Normal service was resumed in class two with Evans leading all the way, Muggeridge a secure second as Archer claimed his second class podium of the day.
 
“The car was good but you can feel the tyres going off, it is their fourth race and really hot out there,” said Evans. “It’s good to put the gremlins of race one behind us and remind everyone we have the pace to win.”
 
Carl Hazelton was the sole class three entry and brought his Boxster S home safely in both races.
 
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli, Race One: 1 Mark McAleer (996 C2) 12 Laps; 2 Mark Sumpter (996 C2) +1.938s; 3 James Birch (Cayman S); 4 Craig Wilkins (996 C2); 5 Simon Clark (Cayman S); 6 Peter Erceg (Cayman S). 7 Peter Morris (997 C2S); 8 Chris Dyer (Cayman S); 9 Andy Toon (996 C2); 10 Andrew Muggeridge (Boxster S). Class Winners: McAleer; Muggeridge; Carl Hazelton (Boxster S). Fastest Lap: Clark 2m05.235s (85.34mph).
 
Race Two: Sumpter 12 Laps; 2 Clark +0.354s; 3 McAleer; 4 Birch; 5 Dyer; 6 Michael Price (996 C2); 7 Erceg; 8 Toon; 9 Jonathan Evans (Boxster S); 10 Muggeridge. Class Winners: Sumpter; Evans, Hazelton. Fastest Lap: McAleer 2m04.861s (85.59mph).
 
Next Races: Donington Park, East Midlands, July 29th