Team Parker Racing enjoyed a trio of podium finishes at Thruxton in the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB, as Matt Armstrong recorded his maiden top three in race one and followed up with second in race two, while Tim Harvey took third on his modern racing return.
Steadily improving all season – his first out of karting, Matt showed how much more comfortable he is behind the wheel of his Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 Clubsport, as he was in prime position to capitalise in the opening contest as Jack Bartholomew spun off and had a great re-start after a Safety Car in race two to sweep into second position.
Behind him, two-time Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Tim Harvey enjoyed his debut in the series in a guest car, run by the team, taking fourth in the Pro class in race one and biding his time well in race two as he snuck into third overall when Charles Clark and Alex Malykhin came together at the chicane.
In the Am class it was a forgettable return to the series for Kurt Leimer however, as he was forced to retire from both contests, spinning whilst challenging Chambers for position in race one, and suffering a puncture at the chicane in race two which spat him into the barriers and brought out the Safety Car, though he was unharmed.
There is now a lengthy seven week wait for the final two races of the 2021 Porsche Sprint Challenge GB season, which are due to take place alongside the British GT Championship at Donington Park over the weekend of October 16/17.
Matt Armstrong, #9, Pro
G1 – 5, R2 – 3
G2 – 3, R2 – 2
Championship: 5 (43 points)
“It’s my first podium in the car so I’m pretty proud of that and hopefully it’s the start of where I can go on and win some races as it gives me a bit more confidence. I have Josh [Webster] training me now and what he says is really constructive so I can build confidence so when I get to qualifying, I think I’m ready and I believe that I can be better than I have been previously.
“I felt comfortable in qualifying but it’s a shame I made a mistake on my fastest lap, but it just shows you that it doesn’t always have to happen in qualifying. Race one was a little bit boring on my own, I think everyone in front of me had new tyres, so they dropped me at the start. It was just a case of getting it round for race two when I knew I’d have an advantage. I was lucky to get third really, but you might make your own luck sometimes.
“I got a mega start for race two and it’s shame that the Am came past me, but I still got in behind Theo [Edgerton] and I think if I was a bit closer, I could have challenged him, but you’ve got to take it. I’ve not had a podium all year so I’m pretty happy!”
Tim Harvey, #0, Pro
G1 – 7, R1 – 6
G2 – 6, R2 – 3
“It’s been a fabulous weekend. It’s been quite emotional to be back in the paddock with all my Porsche friends and racing colleagues. Just to get back behind the wheel of a Porsche GT product in a competitive race environment has reignited a fire that I realise I miss.
“Race one was a little bit of a loss leader for me, because I didn’t have very good carryover tyres, so I was just trying to manage that race, but I made an appalling start and that made me angry, so then I had to pass a few people and get back. The race gave me a chance to get into really good rhythm in the car and, from halfway on, I was lapping really well. I think my fastest lap was on lap 11 and I was setting good times, so I felt very confident for second race with better tyres, but that was the point at which I started to really feel I was at one with the car.
“I got the start absolutely nailed for race two, and then messed up the first corner, because when I went to move it across from automatic to manual, I also managed to change down with my hand! Having done the hard bit, I messed it up myself, but it’s just familiarity with the car really more than anything else. It meant I had to do a bit of recovery drive – obviously the Safety Car helped close us up a little bit and then it was just a case of putting some pressure on Charles Clark until something happened which it did.
“A big thanks to the team – I’ve been channelling the inner Harry King and trying to make it work, but I haven’t succeeded in that! It’s been fun and thank you to Team Parker Racing as the car was perfectly prepared all weekend.”
Kurt Leimer, #88, Am
G1 – 6, R1 – DNF
G2 – 7, R2 – DNF
Championship: 7 (18 points)
“Friday practice was my first day back in the car for a couple of months. I had COVID and I was getting my body back into the swing of driving a race car. We did all right and on Saturday in qualifying I found a bit more time and where to improve.
“In the first race I didn’t get the start right and then was just playing catch up, I didn’t pick the right moment to overtake and messed it up. The second race is probably the most disappointing because I had really good pace, I was catching up behind the Pro drivers, and I was right on their tail at the last chicane but then I had a blowout which threw me into the wall, but I know the pace is there.”