Porsche Sprint Challenge GB traveled to Norfolk for its second weekend of the 2023 season, racing on the Snetterton 300 circuit in support of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Toby Trice (Redline Racing) drove to victory in the weekend’s first race while Marc Warren (Raceway Motorsport) made history in the second encounter, becoming the first Am category racer to take an overall win, a feat he repeated in round six.
Saturday morning’s qualifying session was a closely contested affair. Proceedings were interrupted by a red flag period following an incident for Graeme Mundy (Toro Verde GT), but when the session restarted several drivers were in contention for pole position. Warren was an early pacesetter, chased by Steve Roberts (Redline Racing), Matthew Armstrong (Team Parker Racing), and Trice. In the closing stages Trice produced a time good enough to secure the second pole position of his Porsche racing career, Warren taking second with Roberts third – at the flag just 0.040 seconds covered the top three.
Trice led into the first corner of the weekend’s opening race on Saturday as Roberts grabbed second and Armstrong third. Warren continued his impressive weekend, forming part of an eight car battle for the overall race lead. Trice produced a strong defence to the attacking Roberts who, try as he might, could not find a route through. Time penalties for Joe Warhurst (Team Parker Racing) and Callum Davis (CCK Motorsport) dropped both drivers down the order on corrected time, but at the front Trice’s drive saw him collect his second victory of the season. Roberts was second with William Jenkins (Century Motorsport) third. Warren took Am glory, joined on the category podium by Danny Dwyer (Xentek Motorsport) and Matthew Kyle-Henney (SW Engineering).
The second race was interrupted by a Safety Car period which reduced the number of racing laps. Pole-sitter Warren delivered a confident performance to become the first Am category driver in championship history to take overall victory. Pro category runners Armstrong, Roberts and Warhurst followed Warren home. Warren stood atop the overall podium before returning to the top step of the Am category podium, this time joined by Davis and Dwyer.
The final race of the Snetterton weekend saw Warren get away cleanly from pole position to lead Armstrong into the first corner. The round five winner managed his race perfectly to record a lights-to-flag victory, Armstrong finishing second with Roberts third. With Warren topping the Am category once more, the battle behind saw Davis and Dwyer take further podium places, a close dice for fourth between Edward Stanton (Toro Verde GT) and Kyle-Henney resolved on the last corner of the final lap.
Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying session took place in dry and sunny weather conditions. Am category driver Warren continued his good form from Friday’s practice sessions to emerge as the early pacesetter with Roberts, Trice and Warhurst chasing his benchmark time of 1:56.265. With just over 10 minutes of the session complete, Mundy found the barriers in the first sector resulting in a red flag. The action would restart with 15 minutes remaining on the clock.
Several drivers made improvements in the second half of qualifying, including Jenkins and Davis. Having sat out the first part of the session, Armstrong took to the track to challenge for pole, although he initially saw some of his laps removed for overstepping track limits. In the final 10 minutes of the session Warren improved while Robert Cronin (Parker Classic Works) moved into third overall. With four minutes left on the clock, Armstrong went quickest overall with a 1:56.237.
The final three minutes of qualifying saw several changes in quick succession. Roberts initially leapt to the top of the timing screen on a 1:56.189 before his lap was deleted for an infringement of track limits. Trice then moved into provisional pole position with a 1:56.095 before Warren improved again, lapping to within 0.015 seconds of Trice. When the chequered flag fell Trice’s time was good enough to net him the second pole position of his Porsche racing career, Warren the fastest Am in an impressive second place overall.
A driver’s fastest and second-fastest laps are used to form the grid for races one and two, with the grid for race three determined by the finishing positions of race two. Trice took the overall pole position for round four with Warren – the fastest Am – alongside. Warren would head the grid for round five with Armstrong – the fastest Pro – occupying second.
The weekend’s first race took place on Saturday afternoon in dry and sunny conditions. When the lights went out Trice led into the first corner as Warren attempted to challenge him around the outside, while further back Neil Tofts (Redline Racing) was slow away. As the pack jostled for position on the opening lap, Warren slipped back with Roberts assuming second and Armstrong third, further gains being made by Max Coates (Team Omologato by Graves Motorsport) and Jenkins – both up two places by the end of the first tour. As the cars began their second lap, Roberts was tucked up under the rear wing of Trice in the lead, while in Am, Warren led Davis and Kyle-Henney.
Keen to make a speedy recovery, Warren soon overtook Armstrong for third at Murrays before setting after Roberts. He challenged to the outside at Oggies while Armstrong looked to the inside of both cars ahead, but the order would remain the same. As Roberts continued to harass Trice, eight cars were now running line astern in the fight for the race lead. On lap four Warren moved to the outside of Roberts for second at Riches, although on the same lap Warren and Armstrong fell backwards, the latter continuing in seventh while the former now found himself in P12. That left Davis leading the Am drivers with Dwyer second in category and Warren third.
On lap six, Warhurst and Davis each received a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits, on corrected time that saw Warhurst drop from third to eighth with Davis falling back to P12. With Trice and Roberts still battling for the overall lead, Jenkins assumed third on corrected time with the new Am order Dwyer from Davis and Warren. Warhurst and Davis soon received new penalties – a further 10 seconds – dropping them back to P11 and P15 respectively. This allowed Kyle-Henney to assume the final Am category podium place.
Trice took the checkered flag first to record the second victory of his Porsche racing career, joined on the overall podium by Roberts and Jenkins. A recovering Warren secured Am glory with Dwyer and Kyle-Henney completing the category podium.
For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Roberts (Pro) and Warren (Am) each received one additional championship point. Following the race, Warhurst’s 10 second time penalty was rescinded, leaving him with a penalty of five seconds, moving him up the final order from P10 to P7.
The weekend’s second race took place in dry and sunny conditions on Sunday morning. Warren made a good start to lead into the first corner while Armstrong and Roberts slotted in behind. Warhurst raced from fifth on the grid to fourth, but Ethan Hammerton (Team Omologato by Graves Motorsport) made the biggest gains – moving up four places on the opening lap. Davis found himself battling with Dwyer, the latter attempting to pass through the Brundle and Nelson complex, but the pair would remain in the same order.
On the second lap of the race Mundy found the barriers at the exit of Wilson, the Safety Car scrambled to enable the recovery of his car and repairs to the track. At the restart seven minutes remained on the clock. Warren maintained his advantage to lead Armstrong and Roberts. Dwyer soon attacked Davis for second in Am, P9 overall, but as he attempted to gain an overlap Coates took the advantage, passing Dwyer at Bomb Hole to split the dicing Am drivers. On the following lap Coates closed on Davis and overtook with a clean move at Wilson.
On the penultimate lap of the race Trice homed in on Warhurst, making it five drivers in close formation for the race lead, Warren leading Armstrong from Roberts, Warhurst and Trice. However, Warren quickly distanced himself from the chasing pack, building a small gap on the final lap to cement his position in the lead. The result marks the first time in championship history that an Am category driver has taken an overall victory.
Warren took to the overall podium alongside Armstrong and Roberts, then returned to the top step for the Am category podium, this time joined by Davis and Dwyer. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Coates (Pro) and Warren (Am) each received one additional championship point. The finishing positions from the weekend’s second race formed the grid for the final race held later in the day.
The last race of the weekend took place on Sunday afternoon in the same dry and sunny conditions. Warren started on pole position and led into the first corner with Armstrong and Roberts just behind. Rupert Laslett (Raceway Motorsport) left the circuit early on ending his race, Tofts soon ran wide but he would continue. Coates was once again the driver on the move, advancing three places on the opening lap to sit sixth by the start of lap two. At the same time Armstrong closed on leader Warren as Roberts and Warhurst gave chase. In Am, Davis and Dwyer battled for second in the category while Warren led outright.
On lap two, Hammerton and Reece Somerfield (Breakell Racing) engaged in a close scrap for P12 that soon became a fight for P11 as Stanton dropped back down the order. On the fifth lap Armstrong began to push Warren harder, closing the gap to just 0.294 seconds. Roberts would soon have his mirrors full of Warhurst’s car as the youngster closed up to his rival’s rear wing. A battle between Kyle-Henney and Stanton for fourth in Am intensified, Kyle-Henney trying to generate an overtaking opportunity in several places but he could not find a route through. On lap seven Coates was handed a five second penalty for track limits, dropping him from fifth on the road to seventh on corrected time.
On lap eight just 1.008 seconds covered the four cars with five minutes of the timed race remaining. One lap later Somerfield was another driver given a five second penalty for track limits, dropping him down one position to P12 on corrected time. In the closing stages of the race a train of five cars formed the battle for the overall lead, Warren leading Armstrong, Roberts, Warhurst and Coates – the latter with his pending time penalty. On the last corner of the last lap Kyle-Henney and Stanton made contact, the former leaving the circuit at Murrays and colliding with the barrier.
Warren was delighted with his second win of the weekend and in a repeat of the day’s earlier race he was joined on the overall podium by Armstrong and Roberts. Warren then returned to the top step to form the Am category podium with Davis and Dwyer. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Trice (Pro) and Warren (Am) each received one additional championship point.
Following its stop at Snetterton the championship heads to Croft on the weekend of 29-30 July. Roberts now enjoys a nine point championship advantage at the top of the Pro category table, while fellow race winner Trice sits second with Warhurst third – the latter still searching for a breakthrough maiden win. Following his points haul at Snetterton, Warren now assumes the lead of the Am category from Davis and Dwyer.
Steve Roberts – Redline Racing – 53
Toby Trice – Redline Racing – 44
Joe Warhurst – Team Parker Racing – 35
Marc Warren – Raceway Motorsport – 58
Callum Davis – CCK Motorsport – 52
Danny Dwyer – Xentek Motorsport – 34
*results remain provisional
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