For the penultimate round of the BRSCC Porsche Championship, we headed to my local circuit of Silverstone for three 20-minute races and to continue my chase of the overall title I needed more than three third-places. As it turned out, I did a lot better than expected.
As with a previous round, qualifying and two of our races had grids shared with the Alfa Championship but with us starting behind them, this mostly didn’t the 924 class races at all. I qualified third behind Pete Smith and Hugh Peart – pretty much where I expected to be – but this proved to be Hugh’s best time and it was soon apparent that, for some reason, he was off his game.
The first race was on a dry track and although I had my usual poor start, I finished second behind Pete and just 0.17 seconds off his fastest lap. So I was already a point up on where I expected to be and pace was again improving.
Race 2 on the Sunday morning – again sharing the grid with the Alfas – was on a damp but drying track and I quickly used my confidence to take the lead. Towards the end of the race a couple of stranded Alfas led to the deployment of the safety car and just as I exited Club corner onto the start finish straight, Pete overtook me under the just-deployed yellows – a clear violation of the rules. Although I expected him to be disqualified – or at least penalised – I did stay with him finishing just over a second behind after one of the Alfas got in the way. Pete and I was, as expected, called the Clerk’s office and his review of my in-car footage confirmed what he had already admitted to. I left before the ruling was given but to my surprise – and disappointment – the Clerk let him off completely and he kept his win and fastest lap point, meaning I’d lost out of at least one extra point. Despite going back to the Clerk later, he wasn’t willing to change his judgement – so I had to live with it.
By the time we lined up for Race 3, the track was completely dry. Yet again I was left behind at the start and while Pete disappeared into the distance, Hugh and my team mate John Jones battled relentlessly, blocking my options for getting past the both of them to challenge the leader. About half way through, on the exit of Abbey, I was closing on the pair of them to try to take them both on the sharp right at Village when Hugh dived right – probably with the same idea – and contacted my front left, spinning me off the circuit. I recovered to chase the pair just in time to get past John to take a third.
Mixed feelings from the weekend, then, as I left with more points than expected – leaving me third in the championship – but fewer than I really deserved. We have just a single weekend remaining – at Donington – which will consist of one 20-minute sprint and a 40-minute race on the Sunday to include a compulsory pit stop. This final race of the year had been planned to be shared with Moluto team mechanic Clive – who raced 924s a while back – but a sudden re-read of the regulations has left that up in the air. It is still possible for me to win the championship outright, but that would depend on a particularly poor performance from Pete which, frankly, is unlikely. I’ll just have to play it as it comes.