Maiden pole for Quaife

Phil Quaife produced his best qualifying effort of the season before taking a double podium in rounds 17 and 18 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Silverstone.

His free practice pace had promised much and he duly converted that into a maiden pole position in the category during Saturday qualifying. Proving that his best lap of 57.078secs was no fluke, Phil duly matched it on his next tour to also secure the top-spot for race two in a dominant display around the short but fast National configuration of the Northamptonshire circuit.

The performance suggested he would be the man to beat come race-day which would bring with it changeable weather conditions. A dry track ensured that everyone would opt for slick rubber at the start where Phil found good traction to lead into Copse for the first time.

On lap five however his luck would change for the worse when a broken power-steering pump allied to dropping a cylinder put pay to his chances of securing a first Carrera Cup win. Within five laps his two second lead had been pegged back and with the car now too heavy to control, Quaife was forced to give best to both Nick Tandy and Tim Harvey. 

Next to try his luck was team mate Sam Hancock who for the best part of four laps made repeated attempts to pass the stricken Porsche. After a prolonged battle Hancock made his performance advantage count to wrest away the final podium position from Phil who was forced to settle for fourth. As a consolation, he picked up the points for third after guest driver Nick Tandy won.

Race 2 would be run in fully wet conditions and once again Phil started from the front row but excessive wheel-spin off the line left him vulnerable to attack. Championship leader Michael Caine made the most of a good getaway to squeeze up against the wall and through into the lead at the first corner and the fast-starting Hancock also got past as the field nervously tip-toed around the opening lap.

Hancock found a way past Caine into Brooklands on lap two and Quaife repeated the move three laps later and joined the sister Jota Sport car in opening up a gap on the rest of the field.

This time though it would be Phil’s chance to profit from his team mate’s misfortune as a spin from Hancock at the final corner on lap 10 dropped him down to second. Quaife was now out in front and had it not been for the experience and guile of Tim Harvey, would have taken his first victory. The former BTCC champion’s wet-weather nous served him well as one by one he picked off the leaders in a fascinating battle before scrapping with Phil for four of the final five laps. A brave move at Brooklands on the penultimate lap would prove the difference as Quaife settled for second.

Quaife said: “I’m a bit gutted to be honest especially when you consider we had two poles and couldn’t convert either. In the first one we went off into the distance and obviously had the failure which robbed us of power. Then when Sam lost control in race two we had a pretty healthy lead but the pace of Harvey was just unbelievable. Even so, the speed was clearly there so we’ll just have to convert that into victory next time out.

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