Hancock tops Carrera Cup test

Sam Hancock topped the times in testing at Rockingham yesterday ahead of rounds three and four of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. On a day when rain, sleet and hail showers swept across the track, Hancock (Jota Sport) was fastest in the morning when the track was dry until the closing minutes of the test session. Conversely, the afternoon session at the Northamptonshire track started wet and only dried sufficiently for slick tyres in the final minutes, and even then the leading times were markedly slower than in the morning.“In this championship, you’ve got to get everything right and then drive it properly,” said Hancock of his best laps in the dry morning session. As less than a second covered the top seven cars, it was championship leader Michael Caine (Team Parker Racing) who was second fastest. “The times are all pretty tight,” said Caine, adding that the strong headwind on the pit straight was adversely affecting lap times.An impressive third fastest was 20-year old Dean Smith, making his Carrera Cup debut in the PCGB VIP car. As one of the six finalists for the BRDC/Autosport Young Driver of the Year award, Smith is the first of the six young drivers to race in the Carrera Cup this season. “We’re about there on time and I love driving the Porsche,” said Smith, who has never before raced anything other than a single-seater.Tim Harvey was content to be on the leading pace in fourth slot for Red Line Racing. “We’ve made some changes since Brands, but we didn’t get the better set of tyres on early enough before the rain came,” he said. Tim Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) was a good fifth fastest, while Phil Quaife (Jota Sport) was sixth. “I think we’ve got the car sorted well, but I didn’t run any fresh tyres in the morning session,” said Quaife. He was one of the quickest drivers on the track towards the end of the afternoon session as the track dried steadily.An excellent seventh fastest to head the pro-am1 category was Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing), lapping just three-quarters of a second slower than Hancock. Rice headed pro category racer Charles Bateman (Team Parker Racing), while Fergus Campbell (Red Line Racing) and Tony Gilham (ReDesign Racing) led the chase of Rice in the pro-am1 category. Making his Carrera Cup debut in the PCGB pro-am2 category was former Le Mans racer John Stack. Having not raced for the best part of two years, Stack used the morning session to start learning both the car and the track and then made a significant step forward in the later session despite the tricky conditions.