Jota Sport claimed two podiums in the Porsche Carrera Cup’s visit to Croft despite a tough weekend in changeable conditions at the North Yorkshire circuit.
Both drivers stood on the third step of the rostrum, Sam Hancock in race 1 and Phil Quaife in race 2, securing vital championship points for both team and driver standings.
With just half a second covering the top six in qualifying, Quaife lined up fourth on the grid with Hancock, who sacrificed an outright qualifying attempt to save his tyres for the race, in fifth. Too much wheel spin at the start cost Quaife two places off the line, but benefitted Hancock who jumped ahead. He matched the pace of the front three in the opening stages, but couldn’t close the gap significantly enough to make a challenge, ultimately settling for what was fourth on the road, but in actuality a podium finish due to second place man, Stefan Hodgetts, being a non-scoring invitational driver. Quaife meanwhile dropped to sixth at the start as Hancock and Michael Caine got past and drove a lonely race for much of the 15 laps. He closed the gap to Caine in the early stages, but had to settle for sixth at the chequered flag.
Sunday's race two proved to be a chaotic affair. Torrential rain all day meant the entire field took to the warm up lap on wets, but with a dry line forming, several cars dived into the pit lane before the start to bolt on slicks. Hancock, who qualified third, and front row starter Tim Bridgman were two cars who opted to remain on wets, but soon regretted their decisions. Running second in the early stages, Sam was quickly loosing 10 seconds per lap to the slick-shod drivers and took the difficult decision to make a mid-race tyre change to avoid losing more time. Rejoining last, he fought his way back to eighth at the finish. Quaife however, made the right call to take slicks after the formation lap and saw his decision pay off. Starting from the pit lane, he passed six cars during the race to take a well earned fourth on the road, which was again a podium due to Hodgett's invitational status.
Quaife said: “This hasn’t been our best weekend, but the conditions changed so much from the test on Friday. We were very quick then, but the track temperature was ten degrees warmer on Saturday and that meant it was very difficult to get the right set up for qualifying and the race. The bonus for me is that I’ve scored more points than some of the guys ahead of me in the championship.”
Hancock said: “Staying out on wets for the start of race 2 was a tough call and ultimately the wrong one, but sometimes you have to gamble to wins races - if only they all paid off! I was pleased with Saturday's podium however and with a title race that looks like it's going to go right down to the wire, every point we get is crucial.”