Rockingham - 29th August 2010

Back to back Porsche racing!

Hot on the heels of Rockingham on August bank holiday weekend, the BRSCC Porsche Championship rolls into Brands Hatch on Sunday 12th September for the penultimate meeting of the season; one which could prove crucial in deciding the outcome of the 2010 Championship!

But it was the Rockingham Motor Speedway near Corby which hosted Rounds 11 & 12 of the season.The circuit starts on the famous high speed bowl and then turns sharp left to a technical infield. Uniquely, Rockingham is the only anti-clockwise circuit on the calendar and offers a special challenge to the drivers. With most cars setup for clockwise circuits, even the smoothest pilots were looking baffled at their car's apparent bizarre handling!

Race 1 - Sunday 29th August

In the Porsche 924 class, Andrew Hannington started from his first pole position of the season, qualifying a mere 0.2 seconds behind the last Boxster. Richard 'Stiggy' Styrin was again at the pointy end of the grid in 2nd, with Steve Brown 3rd and Alistair Kirkham 4th. Adam Croft found himself in an unfamiliar 6th, behind Jayson Flegg in 5th.

Lights out, and Hannington and Styrin executed perfect getaways with Andy leading into the first hairpin. Brown bodged the start and slipped to 5th, allowing Alistair Kirkham into 3rd and Jayson Flegg temporarily into 4th....but Jayson was to break all his previous records and managed just two corners before retiring with smoke pouring from his car!

On lap 2, Adam Croft dropped it and spun at Pif-Paf, falling back to 9th in class promoting Hugh Peart to 5th. A fired up Croft eventually battled his way back to 5th by race end. Later on lap 2, Brown picked up a good tow on the oval banking and slid past Kirkham at the hairpin for 3rd place.

At the front, Richard Styrin was applying maximum pressure to Hannington with both drivers absolutely on it! So much so, that they had pulled out a lead of over 6 seconds on the rest of the 924 field. On lap 7 disaster struck for Andy; seeing a blue flag he assumed it was to let a faster Boxster through, and hesitated turning in to Tarzan corner. Styrin immediately took advantage and dived to the inside taking the lead.

Further down the field, Sean Siddall had caught up with his team mate Marc Mackenzie and would pass him on lap 3, to eventually finish 6th in class.

The 924 race finished with Richard Syrin taking his 2nd class win of the season, Andy Hannington 2nd and Steve Brown a distant 3rd. Current championship leader Alistair Kirkham finished 4th.

In the Boxster class, Dave Clark took yet another dominant lights to flag victory! Behind him, a frantic battle was unfolding for 2nd and 3rd. Sean Cooper had managed to charge his way up to 2nd on lap one, demoting Gerry Taylor to 3rd and Richard Sykes, who ran very wide at the hairpin, to 4th. This order wasn’t to last though, and on lap 2 Gerry took back 2nd place with Richard reclaiming 3rd place on lap 3.

Further back, Dave Hughes and Nick Hull were having an epic battle for 6th place. Nick executed a superb overtake on lap 5 nipping up the inside of Dave on the inside at the hairpin and then completing the move on the outside of Yentwood corner. Unfortunately, Nick then ran wide at Pif-Paf corner and spun, undoing all his hard work and winding up last of the Boxsters.

Race 2 - Monday 30th August

A rare Monday race outing, a warmed up track and dialled in drivers meant the average 924 lap times for race 2 were almost a second faster than in race 1. For some drivers, finally getting the hang of turning left yielded even greater rewards, rookie driver Richard Jones improving his previous best time by over 3 seconds!

A super start for Andy Hannington saw him take the lead from Richard Styrin by the first corner, with Alistair Kirkham jumping into 3rd, Adam Croft 4th and Steve Brown dropping to 5th. Brown managed to get back past Croft before the end of the lap, and then Kirkham slowed to retirement on the main straight, promoting Steve to 3rd and Adam to 4th.

On lap 7, Styrin span chasing Hannington down, and Brown was quick to take advantage moving up to 2nd. By the last lap Brown was back to within a second of Hannington but couldn’t get close enough to make a move before the chequered flag fell. Hannington led home Brown for his third win of the season, with Styrin and Croft rounding out the top four in the 924 class. On his way to third, Styrin underlined his raw speed by setting a new 924 lap record for Rockingham.

Further down the field, Mark Marshall was delighted to finally lay reliability issues to rest and record his best finish of the year with 5th in class. Team-mates Sean Siddall and Marc Mackenzie had a cracking race long battle, with Sean ultimately beating Marc to 6th place by 0.7 seconds.

In the Boxster race, Richard Sykes out dragged Dave Clark off the start line to lead into the first corner. At the hairpin, Sean Cooper shuffled into 3rd leaving Gerry Taylor demoted from 2nd on the grid to 4th. Clark fought his way back to the front on lap 2 and set about building a lead which he was never to relinquish, taking his eighth win of the season! Dave Hughes and Nick Hull found themselves locked in battle again, this time for 5th place with Hughes coming out on top. Martin Braybrook who came 5th in race 1 found himself last of the Boxster runners in race 2.

Special mention to ex 924 racer Matt Upchurch who succesfully competed in his new Boxster for the first time at Rockingham. Due to a couple of irregularities with his car, Matt entered in the Invitation class for this round but will be joining the Boxster class for the next race at Brands Hatch. Matt performed well all weekend, outqualifying a couple of the regular Boxster runners, and steering his car home to 6th overall in race one.

So with barely the time to catch our breath, it's on to the infamous Brands Hatch in Kent on Sunday 12th September. A tight schedule on the day will really put the emphasis on car reliability and driver focus as the battle for final Championship position starts to hot up.

There are 100 points still up for grabs from the last four races.....what a season finale we are in for!

Come and see us at Brands Hatch on Sunday 12th September!


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