Porsche Carrera Cup GB: Knockhill review

Porsche Carrera Cup GB: Knockhill review

Burton and Martin share the spoils in dramatic trip to Scotland

Porsche Carrera Cup GB – the fastest single-marque GT racing championship in the UK – arrived in Scotland amid one of the closest battles for championship supremacy yet. Following a dramatic start line incident involving five cars, Gus Burton (Rosland Gold Racing by Century Motorsport) drove to his maiden victory in the weekend's first race. The afternoon's reverse grid race saw Will Martin (Comline Richardson Racing) emerge ahead after winner on the road – Porsche GB 2022 / 2023 Junior Adam Smalley (Duckhams Yuasa Racing with Redline) – received a time penalty.

Saturday's qualifying session was interrupted by two red flag periods, but Burton emerged ahead to take his second pole position of the season. Championship leader Kiern Jewiss (Team Parker Racing) followed, Smalley was third and Matthew Graham (Redline Racing) fourth. Charles Rainford (CCK Motorsport) continued his good form to head the Pro-Am category drivers, while Mark Radcliffe (Valluga) finished in front in Am. At the flag, one second covered the top 20 cars, underlining the close nature of the 2022 grid.

Round seven took place on Sunday morning and saw Graham, Hugo Ellis (JTR), Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker Racing), Mark Radcliffe (Valluga) and Will Aspin (Team Parker Racing) involved in a start line incident ending their races. At the restart, Burton maintained his lead over Jewiss, with Smalley slotting into third and Martin fourth. At the midpoint of the race, Martin got ahead of Smalley for third overall. Burton went on to secure the maiden victory of his Porsche racing career, with Rainford emerging ahead in Pro-Am and Josh Stanton (JTR) taking the category top spot in Am.

The weekend's second race took place on Sunday afternoon. From reverse grid pole position, returnee Josh Malin (Comline Richardson Racing) was slow away allowing Smalley to assume the lead of the race. Martin chased Smalley for all 32 laps but he could not find a way through. Smalley took the chequered flag first but with a five-second penalty for track limits applied, it was Martin who emerged as the overall winner. Smalley was second with Malin third. Rainford continued his run of consecutive category wins in Pro-Am, while Stanton maintained his unbroken record of Am category victories.

Two practice sessions took place on Friday – both in dry conditions. The 40-minute morning session was interrupted by two red flag periods, Graham was the early pace setter – the first driver to lap the 1.2-mile circuit in under 49-seconds. Meanwhile, Angus Whiteside (Toro Verde GT) showed strong pace in Pro-Am, and Radcliffe initially topped Am. The first red flag period was caused by the stricken car of Am category newcomer Dominique Bastien (Team Parker Racing) following an off.

When the action got back underway, Jewiss set a benchmark time of 48.656, Oliver White (Duckhams Yuasa Racing with Redline) lapped to within 0.009 seconds of his rival. Contact at the hairpin between Martin and local driver Ross Wylie (Toro Verde GT) saw the latter pitched into a dramatic roll. His car landed on its wheels but the resulting damage eliminated it from the rest of the Knockhill weekend. With the Scotsman safe, a final five minutes of activity took place on the track. At the flag, the three category leaders were Jewiss, Nathan Harrison (Redline Racing) and Stanton.

At the start of the afternoon's 35-minute session, Smalley was the first to set a quick lap. Just behind came Burton and Theo Edgerton (JTR) – the Rookies managed the exact same time of 49.010. Despite challenges from Whiteside and Charles Bateman (Team Parker), Rainford appeared to have the measure of his category rivals - at one point the Pro-Am championship leader set the quickest overall lap.

In the second half of the session, Martin, Malin, Smalley and Edgerton each took a turn to feature at the top of a busy timing screen. Finally, Burton recorded the day's quickest lap – 48.567. At the flag Harrison narrowly topped Pro-Am from Rainford by just 0.009-seconds, and Stanton emerged ahead in Am.

Saturday afternoon's 30-minute qualifying session took place in dry conditions but with the threat of rain in the air. Following his spectacular exit from Friday's running, Wylie was able to rejoin the weekend at the wheel of reigning Am category champion Justin Sherwood's vacant car. In line with the competitive spirit of the championship and the friendly nature of the Porsche paddock, Sherwood's absence from the Knockhill weekend allowed Team Parker Racing and Toro Verde GT to collaborate, arranging the car swap late on Friday afternoon.

At the start of qualifying, all 23 cars immediately took to the circuit shod with slick Michelin racing tyres – keen to set lap times before precipitation slowed progress. Burton was the first driver to set the pace with a 48.963, and soon improved on that with a time of 48.512. Martin and Wylie followed, before Malin, Jewiss and Edgerton joined the fight to be fastest overall. In Pro-Am, Rainford was initially quicker than category rivals Harrison and Aspin, meanwhile Stanton, Radcliffe and Peter Kyle-Henney (Toro Verde GT) battled for Am honours.

With eight minutes remaining on the clock the red flag emerged as a result of Radcliffe making contact with the barrier at McIntyre but, following a short delay, the session was restarted. With just three minutes remaining on the clock, Graham went quickest with a time of 48.458. Burton improved but found himself 0.043 adrift of the pacesetter, in second. A second red flag caused by incidents for the cars of Bastien, Bateman and Stanton brought the session to a slightly early close.

Graham's time was enough to see him top the timing sheet at the end of the session, however, following qualifying, the fastest times of five drivers – White, Martin, Graham, Edgerton and Burton – were deleted, having been set under yellow flag conditions. The amended results saw Burton on pole position with Jewiss starting alongside. Rainford remained ahead in Pro-Am and, despite sitting out the latter stages of the session, while Radcliffe was the fastest Am.

The 2022 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format meant that Burton earned two championship points with his pole position, as did the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Rainford (Pro-Am) and Radcliffe (Am).

Race one
The first of the weekend's two races took place on Sunday morning in dry conditions. When the lights went out, the front row got away cleanly, however, Graham stalled from third causing the rest of the grid to take avoiding action. An unsighted Ratcliffe collided with Graham's stationary car which began a chain reaction of contact leading to retirements for Graham, Ratcliffe, Ellis and Radcliffe. The race was immediately red flagged, the remaining cars returned to the grid, while Aspin pitted to make his retirement – also with damage from the incident at the start.

Following a short delay, the race was restarted with a reduced distance of 20 laps, and the grid spots of the five missing cars were left vacant. At the second start, Burton maintained his lead over Jewiss into the first corner with Smalley running third and Martin fourth. Rainford was the leading Pro-Am driver with Harrison and Whiteside giving chase, while in Am Stanton led Rice from Kyle-Henney. On the second lap of the race, Kyle-Henney left the circuit before rejoining, allowing Bastien through for third in Am.

As the race settled down, Burton and Jewiss began to pull away at the front, however, Smalley came under increasing pressure from Martin. Martin tried to pass the Junior several times: his favoured option was to force Smalley defensive into the hairpin in an attempt to get a cut-back onto the start/finish straight. On lap 10, Kyle-Henney spun before rejoining. At the same time, Smalley ran slightly wide which gave Martin the opportunity he had been looking for – Martin immediately snatched third. On lap 12, Malin overtook Edgerton across the start/finish for fifth overall.

With five laps of the race remaining, Jewiss began to push harder, setting a new lap record of 48.607 in the process, however, leader Burton's cushion of almost two seconds was enough to maintain the running order. On lap 18, a recovering Kyle-Henney passed Bastien for the final podium spot in Am. At the flag, Burton took his maiden victory, joined on the overall podium by Jewiss and Martin. Smalley kept fourth, crossing the line just ahead of the chasing Malin. Rainford secured his fourth consecutive Pro-Am category win, with Harrison second and Whiteside third. Stanton maintained his unbroken record of Am victories, joined on the category podium by Rice and Kyle-Henney.

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Jewiss (Pro), Rainford (Pro-Am) and Stanton (Am) each received one additional championship point. As part of the 2022 podium procedure, winner Burton selected at random the number five ball, which reversed the grid positions of the top five overall race finishers from the opening race. That made the grid order for the weekend's second race Malin and Smalley on the front row, Martin and Jewiss on row two, Burton and Edgerton on row three.

Following the race, the drivers involved in the start line incident were cleared from the circuit medical centre having suffered minor injuries. Graham, Ratcliffe, Radcliffe and Ellis would take no further part in the weekend as a result of the damage to their cars.

Race two
The second race of the weekend took place on Sunday afternoon in dry and sunny conditions. Malin was slow away from his reverse grid pole position slot allowing Smalley to get ahead before the run through Duffus Dip. Martin jumped Malin, too, with Jewiss behind in fourth. In Pro-Am, Rainford stayed ahead of category rivals Harrison and Whiteside, who went side-by-side through McIntyres. The Am battle was led by Stanton, with Rice second and Kyle-Henney third.

As Jewiss shaped up for a run at Malin for third, he came under pressure from Burton just behind. Meanwhile, at the front of the race, Martin closed on leader Smalley – on lap 11 the gap between the two was down to 0.417-seconds. On lap 15, Bastien spun at Clarks before continuing his race. In quick succession, Malin, Smalley and Martin were warned for track limits, meanwhile the gap between leader Smalley and chaser Martin ebbed and flowed between one second and as little as three-tenths of a second.

On lap 25, Martin was tucked directly under Smalley's rear wing, Martin attempted to put the Junior under pressure, flashing his headlights and looking for an overtaking opportunity but Smalley was equal to the challenge. On lap 27 Rice and Kyle-Henney came together at the hairpin as they diced for the final Am category position, the incident resulted in Rice spinning to the inside of the track before rejoining and Kyle-Henney snatching second in category.

On lap 30, Smalley received a five second penalty for track limits, relegating him to second on corrected time despite leading Martin on the road. Smalley took the flag first but victory went the way of Martin – his third win of the season. Smalley would be classified second with returnee Malin joining them on the Pro category podium. Rainford took his fifth consecutive Pro-Am category win, with Harrison second and Whiteside third. Stanton's Am result maintained his unbroken record of category wins, with Kyle-Henney and Rice joining him on the Am podium.

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Smalley (Pro), Rainford (Pro-Am) and Stanton (Am) each received one additional championship point.

Following the championship's visit to Scotland, the second half of the 2022 season gets underway at Snetterton on the weekend of 13 and 14 August. Following the weekend, Jewiss has seen his championship points advantage over Martin reduced to a single point. Smalley is now five points adrift of the championship leader. With his perfect weekend in Fife, Rainford has increased his Pro-Am category lead, meanwhile Stanton has also increased his advantage in Am.

Championship positions*

Kiern Jewiss - Team Parker Racing - 62
Will Martin - Comline Richardson Racing - 61
Adam Smalley - Duckhams Yuasa Racing with Redline - 57

Charles Rainford - CCK Motorsport - 69
Nathan Harrison - Redline Racing - 56
Will Aspin - Team Parker - 42

Josh Stanton - JTR - 91
Justin Sherwood - Team Parker Racing - 43
Mark Radcliffe - Valluga - 39

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