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Sumpter Takes Donington DoubleĀ 

Mark Sumpter was in dominant form as the Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli made its second visit of 2018 to Donington Park on Sunday July 29th. With the weather making track conditions highly variable, Sumpter took two pole positions, two wins – and was only denied a clean sweep by Mark McAleer recording the quickest lap in race one.
Andrew Muggeridge and Steve Freeman, the latter in his first season of racing, took the class two wins, while Richard Grout and Start Ings both won their class in each race.
Sumpter headed the times early in the session on the wet track, before Michael Price went quickest. Midway the session was interrupted by a safety car period as a stranded car was recovered, but once the session properly resumed it was Sumpter who finished at the top of the times from Price and series returnee Tom Bradshaw’s Cayman.
In class two, Jonathan Evans continued to show his pace setting a time well clear of the rest, Muggeridge and Freeman next up. Grout was quickest of the class three Boxters with Ings heading class four.
Race One
The track was drier for race one and Sumpter made a good start to head the field away, Price slightly slow away which shuffled the order behind, Pete Morris coming through to second at the end of the opening lap, with Chris Dyer third and McAleer fourth.
Dyer soon had McAleer right with him, while behind that pair Bradshaw had got past Craig Wilkins and was closing in from fifth place. Together going into lap six, both McAleer and Bradshaw got out of shape and lost time at the first corner, freeing Dyer to chase Morris and putting Simon Clark into fourth.
With Sumpter well clear at the front in his Paragon 996 C2, the attention was on the battle for second between the two Strasse-run cars of Morris and Dyer. Dyer was past his team-mate on lap eight and eased clear to take second, Morris just ahead of the fast-closing Clark at the chequer flag.
“We seemed to have some pace today,” said Sumpter. “I saw the car behind for a couple of laps and that was it. It’s nice when you don’t get tangled up and have to fight with anyone, I just got my head down, made a gap and worked my way through the backmarkers."
“I was quicker than Pete coming out the chicane and I thought ‘I’m having you’,” said Dyer. “It was a good clean race, I didn’t even test here on Friday, so I’m really pleased with that.”
“I got a decent start but Mark Sumpter has got such a good pace round here I couldn’t stay with him,” said Morris. “I knew I was holding up Chris out the chicane and in the end I had to let him go, then has to push on as I was being caught from behind.”
Andrew Muggeridge took his second class two win of the season after class points leader Jonathan Evans retired on the opening lap, Freeman continuing to show pace with second in class. Grout headed home the class three Boxsters while Ings upheld front-engine honours in class four in his 944 S2, an impressive seventh overall.
“It was an exciting race,” said Muggeridge. “We were on the wrong tyres and they got very hot very quickly, we destroyed a set of wets, but managed to hold on.”
Race Two
The weather had been improving prior to race two, but with rain starting to fall just minutes before the race start there was activity around a lot of cars in the collecting area as they decided that wet tyres were the way to go. The state of the track on the green flag lap confirmed that decision, three cars still on slicks peeling into the pits to change tyres rather than take up their grid slots at the start.
Again Sumpter led the field away, Price more tardy off the line and slipping to fifth at the end of the lap, Morris running second with Clark third. As before Sumpter simply pulled away from the field, while the man on the move was Price who took fourth from McAleer on lap two and then set a series of fastest race laps in his pursuit of Clark.
After several laps right with Clark and Morris, Price had his County Classics 997 into third on lap seven, and second two laps later as Morris started to lose pace and slip down the order. At the flag it was Sumpter with a big lead for his second win of the day, plus the bonus point for fastest lap after putting in a late quick one. Price was second from Clark, with McAleer and Dyer next up.
“That was the same race but on wet tyres this time” said Sumpter. “We all seemed to make the same decision in about 30-seconds in the assembly area and there was quite a bit of work going on for the crew. We didn’t have time to fully soften the car but it still felt good.”
“We changed tyres at the last moment and it was the right decision to go with wets,” said Price. “I didn’t get a great start but I knew the car was really balanced in the wet so I set about the business and did nothing too rash, found some traction and took advantage.”
“I thought going into the weekend it would be good for us if it was wet,” said Clark. “It’s been a good result from a poor qualifying, that was the first time I have raced the Cayman in the wet so it was good, County Classics got the set-up just right.”
Freeman took his maiden class two win as both Evans and Muggeridge lost laps changing to wet tyres at the start, Evans recovering to second in class. Grout continued his race one form to take his second class three win of the day while Ings one again took class four and got his 994 into the top ten overall.
“It is unbelievable, I didn’t know I had won the class until I got to parc ferme,” said Freeman, “I wasn’t sure where the others where in the race. It’s great to take a first and second over the weekend,”
Petro-Canada Lubricants Porsche Club Championship with Pirelli, Donington Park, Race One: 1 Mark Sumpter (996 C2) 20 Laps; 2 Chris Dyer (Cayman S) +11.328s; 3 Peter Morris (997 C2S); 4 Simon Clark (Cayman S); 5 Mark McAleer (996 C2); 6 Andrew Toon (996 C2); 7 Stuart Ings (944 S2); 8 Andrew Muggeridge (Boxster S); 9 Steve Freeman (Boxster S); 10 Richard Grout (Boxster S). Class Winners: Sumpter; Muggeridge; Grout; Ings. Fastest Lap: McAleer 1m15.661s (94.16mph).
Race Two: 1 Sumpter 18 Laps; 2 Michael Price (997 C2S) +15.443s; 3 Clark; 4 McAleer; 5 Dyer; 6 Morris; 7 Steve Cheetham (Cayman S); 8 Freeman; 9 Ings; 10 Grout. Class Winners: Sumpter; Freeman; Grout; Ings. Fastest Lap: Sumpter 1m26.284s (82.57mph).
Next Races: Silverstone, Northants, August 11th.