Yorkshire trio set for Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft
Michael Meadows leads title race into rounds nine and tenLloyd, Plant and Tordoff carry Yorkshire hopesAhmad Al Harthy and Tania Mann head Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 battlesAfter a year’s absence in 2011, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB returns to the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire this weekend (23/24 June) and, while Michael Meadows heads the overall title race, three talented young drivers from Yorkshire all want to challenge for victory at their home track.Daniel Lloyd, Richard Plant and Sam Tordoff have much in common. Aside from being three of the brightest young stars in the Carrera Cup GB, they are all Yorkshiremen, they raced against each other in karts and they now all race for Team Parker Racing. In addition, they have each scored a debut Porsche win this season and are the three winners of the races not won by championship leader Meadows.Now comes their home weekend at Croft, yet their knowledge of the North Yorkshire track is not particularly extensive. Plant (22) comes from Sheffield, but has not raced at Croft for five years. “Croft is a bit of an unknown circuit to me,” he admits. “I’ve not raced there since 2007 and I’ve only been there twice with Formula Palmer Audi,” said the driver who won at Brands Hatch at the start of the season.Meanwhile, Leeds-based Tordoff (23) cannot rate himself as a Croft expert. “I’ve raced there twice in Clios,” he said. “But even with that and track days, I’ve done no more than 10 days there. Croft is a fantastic circuit with a really good mix of corners,” said the Oulton Park winner.The third of the trio is Lloyd, the 2012 Carrera Cup GB Scholarship winner. He’s got the most Croft racing experience and showed at Thruxton in April just what an emerging talent he really is. The 20-year old from Huddersfield scored his first car racing victory there, so Croft already has a special significance for him. “Croft is my home track and I always enjoy racing there,” said Lloyd. “I’ve raced there in Ginetta Juniors and Clios and I also did a one-off BTCC weekend there.”Each of the Yorkshiremen knows that Meadows is the driver they have to beat this weekend if they are to stop him going into the summer recess with an increased points’ lead. Across eight races to date, Meadows has been incredibly impressive as he spearheads the multi-car squad from local Redline Racing. Based just down the road at Thornaby, Redline is very much on home ground at Croft and will want nothing less than two more wins for Meadows.Joining the Yorkshire trio in the chase of Meadows is Lithuanian racer Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing), who is surely getting ever closer to a debut overall win, British racer Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) and Scotsmen Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) and Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing). In Pro-Am1, Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) is the benchmark and heads to the mid-point of the season with a very useful 32-point lead. But the Omani racer needs to keep pushing hard as Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Parker), Oly Mortimer (GT Marques) and Victor Jimenez (Redline/Marque 1) are all determined to close down the points’ gap. Mortimer and Jimenez each took a win last time out at Oulton Park, while Pierce was a winner at Brands Hatch at the start of the season.Tania Mann (sibsport performance), Will Goff (Goff Racing) and Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) are the contenders in Pro-Am2, although Mann missed Oulton Park due to budget shortfall.After qualifying at 13.30 on Saturday, round nine will start at 16.15 on Saturday, with round ten at 13.50 on Sunday. Round ten will be broadcast live on ITV4 during the extensive BTCC programme which runs from 11.30 on Sunday.