PORSCHE CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT: CASTLE COMBE
Once again, there's no stopping Rick Styrin in the Boxster class – Photo: Chris Valentine
The drivers' briefing showed that many of our drivers hadn't raced at Castle Combe before. Alex Stocker was present but not racing, still awaiting an engine refit for his 986; Garry Goodwin was also a no-show.
Qualifying went smoothly with all cars finishing the session. Rick Styrin grabbed pole with James Coleman just 0.35 seconds behind and Garry Lawrence third. Linda Warren made her session look effortless, finishing the 20 minute session a mere seven hundredths ahead of Pip Hammond and Niz El-Chamaa closer still in third – the 924 race already shaping up to be eventful.
Rick Styrin "qual certainly got the new tyres scrubbed in! Its such a fast circuit – we're braking from 130mph for Avon Rise, taking Camp Corner in 4th and then up to 5th".
Niz El-Chamaa, with an eye on the championship title, has this thoughts dominated by the points – and drop scores – situation. Having already had one DNF this season, he could have afforded to miss this weekened providing he attended the triple header at Anglesea. Linda Warren meanwhile just needs to continue her good form with 2nd places quite sufficient to retain her current position.
So six Boxsters and eight 924s take to the grid for Race 1, with the sun trying to break through.
Karl Rossin makes a fabulous start in the 924s, Lawrence and Molyneux also getting off the line particularly smartish. Lawrence is second behind Styrin but as the cars come round for the second lap, Coleman goes wide onto the grass exiting Camp and unable to fully control the car, hits the barrier very hard sending the tyres into the air. Niz follows him and hit the Armco in exactly the same spot and race is red flagged to allow time for the BRSCC marshals to recover both cars and make repairs to the wall. Coleman's 986 is soon on a flatbed showing severe panel damage down the left-hand side but suspension and steering are looking OK as the car is removed from the circuit. El Chamaa's 924 is now pulled from under the elevated tyres with front left damage. Both drivers report to medics for checking but are OK.
The cars are re-gridded for the restart with 15 minutes on the clock. As the lights go out again, the lead cars are three abreast into turn 1; Styrin grabs back the lead after another slightly slow start.
Lawrence gets the jump on Styrin for the Boxsters lead but is wide at Camp and backs off letting Styrin through again. Over the PA we hear that Lawrence has received a 10-second penalty for a jumped start – we'll see if that comes to affect the results later. Bernie Printy has now joined late from the pit lane but its not clear if he will receive points having missed the original start.
Warren leads Hammond by a narrow margin, Lawrence similarly close to Styrin's tail. Avery is past Lawrence for third. Kevin Molyneaux has spun at Tower and is back with the front 924s. John Broadley is third with Callendar 4th in the 924s.
Lap 4 and Styrin is pulling into a lead with Avery and Lawrence equally spaced behind. Pip Hammond is neck and neck with Linda Warrend aross the line while John Broadly is squeezing past Callendar for third.
Hammond now leads the 924s but Warren is holding on with Callendar back up to third; all cars looking very twitchy through Camp Corner onto the start/finish straight.
Callender is on a charge to catch the leaders but Pip Hammond is developing a confident rhythm at the front of Class Cs.
Avery is now less than half a second behind Styin as the clock ticks down. Styrin's 986 is right on the edge as he tries to pull away from Avery but Avery is involved in a minor collision with a coupe of 924s at Bobbies allowing Styrin to pull away again. Callendar goes wide at Camp and Broadley is through to re-take third.
So Styrin takes the Boxster win ahead of Avery and Lawrence – whose earlier penalty doesn't affect his position; Pip Hammond is on the top spot in the 924s ahead of Warren and Bradley.
Afterwards, Hammoned says how he enjoyed the battle with Warren "Linda is getting more agressive – this was a great race".