Morris Double at Croft Porsche Club Championship

Pete Morris took the overall spoils in the Porsche Club Championships two races at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire on Saturday July 21st, winning race two after a restart had wiped out his initial advantage. Championship leader Paul Follett took the Class Two win in race one, but lost out to the hugely experienced Brian Robinson, making his seasonal debut, later in the day.

Qualifying

A determined Morris claimed pole for both the 25-minute races, setting the best time of the 20-minute qualifying session on his fourth lap in his 996 C2. Mark Sumpter, back in the series after missing the previous round at Donington Park, was second quickest ahead of local racer Mark McAleer and Sumpters Paragon team-mate Andy Purdie.

Weve done some work on the set-up of the car, explained Morris. Weve put some more camber on the front and altered the diff, and the car is going well. Pleased with pole, we were on old tyres, and the car felt very consistent.

Donington race-winner Richard Ellis had his Strasse 993 C2 fifth quickest in the session, just heading Class Two pace-setter and overall championship leader Paul Follett.

I like this circuit, said Follett, and Ive been watching a lot of laps on last years race video from here and on YouTube, but as there was no testing after that it was straight into qualifying. The car is going well, we havent touched it from Donington as it as feeling so good!

Behind came a group of competitors split by less than half a second, Ben Demetriou heading John McCullagh, Chris Dyer and Marcus Carniel. The grid for race two was set from competitors second quickest lap times, the top four places the same but Dyer jumping to fifth on the grid.

Race One

Morris was slow away form pole at the start of race one and it was the Paragon duo of Sumpter and Purdie who took advantage to lead at the end of lap one with Morris third ahead of McAleer. Morris went outside Purdie into the first corner to take second on lap two, and halfway round the lap had demoted Sumpter from the lead.

McAleer moved into third on lap three, while a man on the move was Mark Proctor, already up to sixth from 11th on the grid and pushing hard. Morris eased away at the front, opening up a gap, as Sumpter came under pressure from McAleer. He held off the Yorkshireman until lap eight, when McAleer finally nosed ahead, though Morris was already seven seconds clear at the front.

Exiting the final hairpin on lap ten, McAleer and Sumpter touched, the former rotating out of second and rejoining in the latter half of the top ten. Purdie was running third but a lap later through the quick chicane was inadvertently baulked by a back-marker and lost momentum, allowing Proctor to power past into Tower and take third.

Morris was well clear and made no mistake on the way to his first victory of 2012, while Sumpter was secure in second. The attention was on the battle for second, Proctor slow out the final hairpin with three laps to go, Purdie having to jink wide to avoid him. A lap later Proctors car was smoking, though he still had the pace to just hold Purdie off at the flag.

Its been a long time coming, said Morris of his first win of 2012. I was on new tyres and Mark McAleer was really fair and didnt block me when I went past and I was able to get away. I owe the EMC team my thanks for getting the car so sorted.

It should have been a 996 one-two to be honest, said Sumpter, Pete got past me quite easily and I expected Mark to have been second, but he got it sideways coming out the Hairpin and we touchedwhich was unintentional. Mark and I were similar pace and Id rather have beaten him in a cleaner way that that.

The car was good, I think I just overdrove it in qualifying, said Proctor after his charge up the order. I knew Morris had gone, but as I caught Andy Purdie he knocked the tyres out a bit at the chicane and I clipped them with the rear of my car and I think something has broken. Im happy to be third after that.

The Hartech Boxsters of Demetriou and Carniel took fifth and sixth, never quite able to get on terms with the lead group, with McAleer having recovered to seventh. Paul Follett claimed Class Two for his fourth win in the previous five rounds to extend his championship lead, but only after series returnee Robinson had closed early in the race before the grip from his tyres went away.

Race Two

Morris made a better start as the red lights went out to send them on their way for race two, his EMC Motorsport 996 C2 coming round over a second clear of McAleer, Sumpter, Purdie, Proctor and Demetriou, who were all in close formation. As Morris and McAleer traded fastest race laps, Dyer and Carniel tagged on the six car train fighting over sixth.

With the leaders holding an advantage, what was brewing up to be an exciting battle for the final podium slot came to naught as the red flags came out on lap eight. A spin for Richard Bennett left him stationary in the middle of the track on the blind hairpin exit, and as cars jinked round him it was an unsighted Mark Koeberle who drew the short straw and hit the 993.

Once the cars had been cleared from the track, the grid was formed up, using the race positions from a lap before the incident, for a five lap sprint. Morris once more made a strong start, but Proctor, his GM Porsche team having worked hard to repair the broken engine mount on his 993 C2 that had seen him smoking in race one, flew off the line, leapfrogging Purdie and Sumpter and holding third at the end of lap one.

Purdie went round the outside of Sumpter at the hairpin to take fourth, but the reigning champion was already in trouble and retired to the pits a lap later with a problem at the rear of his 964. McAleer started to close on the leader, but the chequer flag flew at the end of lap five as Crofts curfew loomed and it was Morris taking his second win of the day.

When I saw the red flags I though here we go again, said Morris, last time we had that I threw the car off. The car was so driveable and strong, Mark McAleer gave me a good race and he wasnt holding back, but I kept it clean and it had been a good weekend.

I felt I could match Petes pace, said McAleer. I was too far back to challenge him in the first part of the race, but we were on it and I enjoyed the second race and took a good podium.

Proctor just held off Purdie to take third, while Demetriou and Carniel claimed fifth and sixth with Richard Ellis seventh.

I got an awesome start to gain places at the first start and got past Andy Purdie, said Proctor. At the restart they put me back behind him and I started to argue, but then realised that put me on the inside for the first corner. I got the row in front off the line and then managed to hold on!

Follett had led Class Two early in the first part of the race, but Robinson had closed in and went past just as the red flags flew, losing the slot as the results were wound back a lap for the grid for the restart. Robinson was another to make a storming getaway, taking the class lead on the opening lap and staying clear to take a fine win in his borrowed 968 CS.

I got past Paul at the Esses in the first part, then they put me back behind him, said Robinson. The second time I wanted to get past him quickly so did it into Tower on the first lap. Its Anthony Olivers car, so it is up to him if we are going to come out again.

Porsche Club Championship Round 7: 1 Pete Morris (996 C2) 16 laps; 2 Mark Sumpter (964 C2) +8.221s; 3 Mark Proctor (993 C2); 4 Andy Purdie (964 C2); 5  Ben Demetriou (Boxster S); 6 Marcus Carniel (Boxster S); 7 Mark McAleer (996 C2); 8 Chris Dyer (968 CS); 9 Paul Livesey (968 CS); 10 Paul Follett (968 CS). Class Winners: Morris; Follett. Fastest Lap: Morris 1m36.092s (79.61mpg).

Porsche Club Championship Round 8: 1 Morris 5 laps; 2 McAleer +0.507s; 3 Proctor; 4 Purdie; 5 Dememtriou; 6 Carniel; 7 Richard Ellis (993 C2); 8 Dyer; 9 Brian Robinson (968 CS); 10 Follett. Class Winners: Morris; Robinson. Fastest Lap: McAleer 1m35.595s (80.02mph).

Next Rounds: Oulton Park, Cheshire, August 11th.


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