Thruxton next for Carrera Cup contenders

While Michael Caine and Tim Harvey currently head the points' standings in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, it is Tim Bridgman who will head to Thruxton as the man in top form in the run up to rounds seven and eight (17/18 May).Shrugging off a disastrous debut weekend at Brands Hatch, Bridgman (Team Parker Racing) has now won four races on the trot and will be bidding to extend that winning sequence at one of the fastest tracks on the schedule. After two non-finishes at Brands, Bridgman was 41 points down on championship leader Caine. Now, four races later, the gap is down to 24 points and the pursuit continues at Thruxton.But both Caine (Team Parker Racing) and Harvey (Red Line Racing) are formidable competitors, and are determined to make 2008 their season in the Carrera Cup. Caine added to his slender lead at Donington during a thrilling second race, when six cars battled mightily in front of live TV cameras. He has just six points in hand over Harvey, but it was the former BTCC champion who set the in pre-race testing at Thruxton in April."I do love Thruxton," says Harvey. "It’s one of the original gutsy, ballsy circuits. It’s high speed with a lot of driver input to get around the lap. In a Carrera Cup car, a lot of work goes on."But this is not just a three-way contest and the Jota Sport pairing of Phil Quaife and Sam Hancock could be major contenders on the back of a strong showing in testing. Quaife actually won round six at Donington on the road, but was penalised back to third in the final results due to a flag infringement. But he had shown his pace and both Jota drivers could be on the top of the podium at Thruxton.Another driver showing superb form is Charles Bateman (Team Parker Racing) and his first overall Carrera Cup podium cannot be far away. Adding further quality to the pro category is single-seater ace Duncan Tappy, who races the PCGB entry as reward for being a finalist in the McLaren/Autosport/BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.In the pro-am1 category, Nigel Rice is the benchmark for Red Line Racing, but he is still battling to catch former VW champion Tony Gilham (ReDesign Racing) in the points. Rice failed to finish the opening race of the season, and that has helped Gilham maintain a small lead in the standings. Meanwhile, making his Carrera Cup debut in the pro-am2 car from PCGB is former Caterham racer Matt Blyth, a regular circuit instructor at Thruxton.After qualifying on Saturday morning, the opening race will be on Saturday afternoon with the second race scheduled for 3.20pm on Sunday. The second race may feature in ITV4's live coverage of the BTCC action in a programme running from 12.30pm to 5.30pm.