at chaotic Croft!
Kent-based racing driver Phil Quaife followed up a sixth place Race 1 finish, with fourth overall and third in class in a chaotic Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend at Croft.
Conditions varied from blazing sunshine to torrential rain at the North Yorkshire circuit, but the Jota Sport racer managed to avoid trouble and score some precious championship points, which included a fantastic through-the-field drive in race 2.
Having gone third quickest in Friday’s practice session, Phil was in confident mood for qualifying on Saturday. However, with temperatures significantly higher on Saturday morning and track conditions completely different, his car’s set up didn’t prove to be as quick, leaving him slightly frustrated at fourth on the grid for race 1 and fifth for race 2.
In Race 1 on Saturday afternoon, Quaife got too much wheel spin off the line and lost places to team mate Sam Hancock and championship leader Michael Caine by the first corner. He immediately closed the gap to Caine in the opening laps, but couldn’t maintain the pressure and settled for sixth, and fifth in class, at the chequered flag.
Race 2 was far more eventful as the heavens opened on Sunday. The entire field lined up on wets, but with a dry line forming, several drivers, including Quaife, dived into the pits after the warm up lap to change to slicks.
Starting from the back of the queue in the pit lane, after his Jota Sport mechanics got delayed by the previous BTCC race’s cars in parc fermé, Quaife proceeded to produce a superb drive through the field. He passed Tommy Dreelan, Bob Lyons, Tony Gilham, team mate Hancock and Tim Bridgman in the opening laps to run fourth, and was right on the tail of the second place battle between Caine and Tim Harvey. After battling hard with the experienced duo, and attempting several passing manoeuvres, he touched a kerb and had a grassy moment, losing him a few a seconds, and couldn’t close the gap in the remaining laps. With race winner Stefan Hodgetts competing in the invitation class, Quaife tasted the podium champagne with a third-in-class finish.
Quaife said: “I didn’t make a good start to race 1 and then suffered with high speed understeer and mid speed oversteer meaning I couldn’t do better than sixth. In race 2 we were all looking at each other after the warm up lap to see who was going to go for slicks. I went for it, but the team had a problem getting all their equipment to the car in the pit lane because the BTCC race had just finished and the cars were parked everywhere! That meant I was right at the back, so to get a podium from there is very pleasing.
“It’s slightly frustrating not to have been challenging further up the field after the great pace we showed in Friday’s test, but the main bonus of the weekend is that I’ve scored more points than a couple of the guys ahead of me in the championship.”