Porsche Pace-Setters Leave Silverstone with Points Battle Finely Poised
Marks McAleer and Sumpter took the outright wins as the Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli made its first visit to Silverstone’s International Circuit layout on Saturday August 11th, but a non-finish for Sumpter in race win and two class wins for title rival Jonathan Evans see the duo leave the Northamptonshire circuit close on points with all to play for at the final rounds at Brands Hatch early next month.
With Silverstone’s International circuit new to the Club Championship competitors there had been the possibility of a shake-up in qualifying but by session’s end it was the usual faces at the front on each class. Sumpter’s 996 was quickest overall from McAleer, with Simon Clark the first of the Caymans in third, the rest over half a second back headed by Chris Dyer and Pete Morris.
“It was good, and felt like a short session as everything happened so quickly,” said Sumpter. “I’ve never raced on this circuit layout before, we tested here yesterday but it was very wet so I’m happy to get pole, it’s a good start to the day.”
Evans was back on form and quickest in class two, with Angus Archer second but over a second behind. Ings headed up class four.
From second on the grid McAleer had the inside line into the first corner and made a good start to nose ahead of Sumpter. As they turned in Sumpter got a touch from Chris Dyer that spun him round, both cars retiring at the end of the lap, and at the start of lap two it was McAleer leading from Clark with Morris in third.
The gap between McAleer’s 996 and Clark varied, particularly when they encountered backmarkers, but on lap 14 Clark started to slow with a gearbox issue and slipped down the order before pitting. That moved Morris up to second, and in the final laps he had Price and Andy Toon right with him, but the double champion held on to take second in his Strasse-run 997, with McAleer well clear to take the win.
“Even when leading like that you are always conscious that something might go wrong!” said McAleer. “I got a great start and didn’t really see the melee going on behind, I just looked in my mirror and saw Mark Sumpter spinning. From then on I was just trying to keep a constant pace, and try to keep the car fresh for the next race.”
“I knew my tyres were going off towards the end, I had worked them hard at the beginning of the race,” said Morris. “It was nice to see the chequer flag when it came out, the two guys behind were right with me.”
“I had an eventful start, the clutch was sticking the I missed a gear and slipped down the field,” said Price. “Then I had some pace and things in front played into my hands, and we settled into what turned out to be a corking race between myself, Pete Morris and Andy Toon.”
In class two Evans led all the way, Archer and Andrew Muggeridge close in the early laps before becoming embroiled in their own battle as Evans eased away. Muggeridge claimed second, Archer third ahead of Paul Seagrave.
“It’s nice to have an uneventful race after I dodged the spinning cars on the opening lap,” said Evans. “The car wasn’t quite right, some last-minute changes did the opposite of what we wanted, but a good race and great to take fifth overall!”
Several of the wounded from race one were back out later in the afternoon, Sumpter and Dyer back at the front of the grid while Clark took the start, albeit from then on having to just use fourth gear on his Cayman. Sumpter and McAleer on the front row both made good starts sitting side-by-side through the first corner, before Sumpter claimed the lead virtue of the inside line into the following Farm corner.
McAleer had to defend from Dyer as they reached Vale on the opening lap, which saw Sumpter cross the line over a second clear and pushing hard to open a gap. Behind Dyer, Price headed Morris and Toon, the trio repeating their battle of race one.
From lap five McAleer started to close back in on Sumpter, the lead pair close by lap eight and McAleer started to look for a way past. Their battle was enlivened on lap 13 as the duo exited Stowe corner to find a Boxster stopped on the track in front of them after a spin, but they both made it past.
As McAleer got right with the leader, he lost over a second on lap 16 when they caught backmarkers, Sumpter able to slip past while McAleer had to follow them through a corner. That gave the leader a gap he could safely nurse on the way to his seventh win of the season, McAleer a safe second with Dyer third.
“The start was good, I had to fight for the lead through the first couple of corners,” said Sumpter. “We were side-by-side and I was able carry a bit more pace through the second corner and get ahead. As my car started to lose a little pace he came on strong and started to close right in and when we reached the backmarkers I just had a bit more luck than he did.”
“I really enjoyed that,” said McAleer. “We were side-by-side at the start but he had the inside line into the second corner and I had to tuck in. Once the tyres had come in we were quick and I could close in, then I caught some backmarkers and that lost me time.”
“That was better than the first race,” said Dyer. “I was managing the tyres and could see the gap to the guys behind and I was trying to control that advantage. The car didn’t feel that great, but after race one I am pleased with a third place.”
Once more Evans was the form driver in class two, pulling clear and running seventh overall for much of the race. In second, Muggeridge scented more points as Evans slowed later in the race, the leader’s advantage halving before Muggeridge lost time with a half-spin, though still held onto second in class ahead of Archer as Evans made it two wins out of two.
“The car lost pace halfway through the race, we have a handling issue,” said Evans. “I lost some time, then caught some backmarkers, but it was alright in the end. It was frustrating as you know you can go quicker but the car won’t let you.”
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli, Silverstone, Race One: 1 Mark McAleer (996 C2) 21 Laps; 2 Pete Morris (997 CS2) +9.72s; 3 Michael Price (997 CS2); 4 Andrew Toon (996 C2); 5 Jonathan Evans (Boxster S); 6 Andrew Muggeridge (Boxster S); 7 Nathalie McGloin (Cayman S); 8 Angus Archer (Boxster S); 9 Paul Seagrave (Boxster S); 10 Steve Freeman (Boxster S). Class Winners: McAleer; Evans, Stuart Ings (944 S2). Fastest Lap: Simon Clark (Cayman S) 1m12.72s (91.58mph).
Race Two: 1 Mark Sumpter (996 C2) 21 Laps; 2 McAleer +2.00s; 3 Chris Dyer (Cayman S); 4 Price; 5 Morris; 6 Toon; 7 Evans; 8 Clark; 9 Muggeridge; 10 Archer. Class Winners: Sumpter; Evans; Ings. Fastest Lap: McAleer 1m12.64s (91.69mph).
Final Rounds: Brands Hatch, Kent, Sunday September 2nd.