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PORSCHE CARRERA CUP GB RETURNS TO RACING WITH EXCITING SEASON OPENER

Scorching temperatures greeted the return of Porsche Carrera Cup GB as the 2020 season got underway at Donington Park with two Friday Practice sessions. Porsche GB 2020 / 2021 Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) topped both sessions, fighting off the advances of teammate – 2014 champion and former Porsche GB Scholar – Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) in first Practice, and Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing) in the afternoon’s second Practice session. Esmee Hawkey (Team Parker) showed strong pace to head the Pro-Am category, finishing in the top six overall in both sessions. Reigning category champion, Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing), was Friday’s fastest Am driver.

Qualifying
Cooler track temperatures for Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session did nothing to diminish the heat of the competition – Porsche GB 2020 / 2021 Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) claimed the first pole position of the 2020 season – and the first of his Porsche career – following a closely contested session. Taking an impressive front row start position alongside newcomer, King, was Pro-Am category driver Esmee Hawkey (Team Parker) – she qualified ahead of Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) by just 0.082secs. At the flag less than half a second covered the top six cars. Returnees John Ferguson (Redline Racing) and Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) ended their fierce battle for Am category honours separated by just 0.078secs – Ferguson would start one row ahead of Sherwood. Due to technical infringements Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing) and newcomer James Townsend (Fox Motorsport) were relegated to the last row of the grid with a 10-second delayed start penalty.

Following the 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend format, Porsche GB Junior King has already earned two championship points with his pole position, the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Hawkey and Ferguson – also receive two points each.

Race one
Conditions were dry for the start of Sunday’s first race. When the lights went out Porsche GB Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) and pole sitter Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) got away well, Esmee Hawkey (Parker Racing) was fractionally slower off the line putting her side-by-side with Webster through Redgate – Webster emerging ahead. Pro category driver Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) gained three places on the opening lap, moving up to P5. Behind Hawkey (Parker Racing) in the Pro-Am category fight came Aaron Mason (Brookspeed Connect IT) and Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker). In Am John Ferguson (Redline Racing) maintained his advantage over Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) with Lee Frost (Simon Green Motorsport) P3 in category.

Keen to recover from his grid penalty, Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing) made early advances through the field, the returnee was up to P16 as early as lap 4, gaining a further spot when Will Martin (Richardson Racing) ended his race in the gravel trap on lap 11. Having maintained a one second gap at the front of the race, Porsche GB Junior King (Team Parker Racing) began to come under increasing pressure from teammate Webster (Team Parker Racing) – on lap 12 King clipped a barrier, damaging his car in the process. Webster (Team Parker Racing) soon mounted a challenge on King into the final chicane, getting ahead and successfully defending the lead of the race down the straight and into Redgate. With Hawkey (Team Parker) maintaining third overall, newcomer Scott McKenna (Redline Racing) occupied fourth – third in the Pro category – with Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) in close pursuit.

In Pro-Am, Ratcliffe (Team Parker) moved into P2 in category ahead of Steve Clark (IN2 Racing), though Clark soon ended his race in the gravel at Coppice in an incident involving Lucky Khera (Simon Green Motorsport) – Khera managed to continue after a short delay to his race. In Am, Ferguson (Redline Racing) and Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) developed a close battle for the Am category lead, Justin Armstrong (Team Parker Racing) was running P3 in category. Shortly afterwards Wylie (IN2 Racing) found a way by newcomer Dorian Mansilla (Team Redline Racing) for P8 – the flying Scotsman would gain one further place before the flag fell in an inspired recovery drive from P21 to P7.

Webster (Team Parker Racing) crossed the finish line less than one second ahead of Porsche GB Junior King (Team Parker Racing), Hawkey (Team Parker) took the first overall podium finish of her Porsche career – and victory in the Pro-Am category. Rookie McKenna (Redline Racing) secured the final Pro category podium spot. Having stood on the overall podium, Hawkey returned for the Pro-Am category podium procedure, with Ratcliffe (Team Parker) and Mason (Brookspeed Connect IT) also taking the Pro-Am champagne. The top three in the Am category at the flag were Ferguson (Redline Racing), Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) and Frost (Simon Green Motorsport).

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Porsche GB Junior King – Pro, Hawkey – Pro-Am and Armstrong – Am each receive one additional championship point. As part of the 2020 podium procedure, winner Webster selected at random the number 4 ball, which reverses the grid positions of the top 4 overall race finishers from round one. This made the front row for race two McKenna and Hawkey, with Porsche GB Junior King and Webster sharing row two.

Race two
Sunday afternoon’s race – the second of the weekend – was conducted in dry and sunny conditions. At the start everyone got away cleanly, Scott McKenna (Redline Racing) maintained the race lead into the first corner, Esmee Hawkey (Team Parker) moved to the outside through Redgate, slotting in behind Porsche GB Junior Harry King (Team Parker Racing) as he moved into second position. Hawkey (Team Parker) and Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) battled through Hollywood and the Craner Curves, Webster ultimately overtaking Hawkey. As the cars funnelled into Old Hairpin there was contact between Lorcan Hanafin (JTR) and Hawkey, the Rookie dropping to the back of the pack as a result. Porsche GB Junior King took the lead later into the opening lap, that left the order at the front: King, McKenna, Hawkey and Webster.

In the Pro-Am category battle, Hawkey (Team Parker) led Ryan Ratcliffe (Team Parker) from Aaron Mason (Brookspeed Connect IT). In Am, John Ferguson (Redline Racing) led initially before dropping down the order, Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) then taking the category lead from Lee Frost (Simon Green Motorsport) and teammate Lucky Khera (Simon Green Motorsport). On lap 5 Webster (Team Parker Racing) found a route by Hawkey (Team Parker), the race one podium finisher soon relegated to P6 when Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing) followed Webster through.

At the front Porsche GB Junior King pulled a comfortable gap to McKenna (Redline Racing) in second, Rookie category contender, McKenna, fending off the advances of Webster (Team Parker Racing) who was now missing a section of his front splitter – upsetting the balance of his car. Despite this, Webster gradually closed to within 0.689secs of McKenna (Redline Racing). Further down the order, Rookies Will Martin (Richardson Racing) and Mark Kimber (Brookspeed Connect IT) were engaged in a close battle for P7 in Pro – Martin emerging on top on lap 17. Having set the fastest lap of the race, a recovering Hanafin (JTR) overtook Dorian Mansilla (Team Redline Racing) for P11 on lap 19.

Porsche GB Junior Harry King crossed the line to take the first victory of his Porsche career by just over 6 seconds. In the dying moments of the race, McKenna (Redline Racing) and Webster (Team Parker Racing) – separated by less than half a second – came to lap James Townsend (Fox Motorsport) at the final chicane, McKenna left the circuit to avoid a collision before rejoining – still in P2, also taking avoiding action Webster and a chasing Matthew Graham (Redline Racing) became tightly bunched together – they took the flag for a photo finish – Webster clinching the final podium spot by just 0.069secs.

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Hanafin – Pro, Hawkey – Pro-Am and Sherwood – Am each receive one additional championship point. For her performance, Hawkey earned the Driver of the Weekend accolade, Team Parker Racing were awarded Team of the Weekend.

With the first weekend of Porsche Carrera Cup GB completed the championship immediately heads to Brands Hatch in Kent for rounds three and four on 8-9 August. Webster (Team Parker Racing) took pole position and race one victory on the challenging Grand Prix circuit in 2019. Porsche GB Junior King – who leaves Donington Park leading the overall championship – has fond memories of his title clinching victory at the circuit in the junior racing categories at the end of last season.

Championship positions*

Overall:
Harry King Team Parker Racing 23
Josh Webster Team Parker Racing 18
Scott McKenna Redline Racing 16

Pro-Am:
Esmee Hawkey Team Parker 24
Ryan Ratcliffe Team Parker 16
Aaron Mason Brookspeed Connect IT 12

Am:
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 19
John Ferguson Redline Racing 17
Lee Frost Simon Green Motorsport 12

*results remain provisional

Source. Porsche

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