PORSCHE CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT: DONINGTON
Kevin Molyneaux picked up another pair of impressive podium finishes – Photo: Chris Valentine
Now the third driver to join our ranks from Classic Stock Hatch, Ryan Lowry landed a pair of first place 924 Class trophies with wins in two of our three races at Donington this weekend. In the Boxsters, Alex Stocker, Andy Hack, Angus Archer and Ed Hayes all returned to our ranks having missed recent rounds, along with Gerrards Cross-based Garry Goodwin, who put in personal best performances.
A distinct chill in the air welcomed the BRSSCC Porsches to Donington park – heavy rain a promise for later in the day. Rick Styrin demonstrated his mastery of wet weather racing by heading the field with Ed Hayes and Richard Avery in tow. Hull briefly made it into the top three but Garry Goodwin landed a season best of 4th on the grid.
Jamie Callender performed similarly in Class C – grabbing his first ever Porsche 924s pole; guests Philip Waters and David Jones took 2nd and third respectively. Jamie said later "I'm bouncing off the walls here – now to compose myself – this isn't silverware".
Three cars didn't make it out for our scheduled session and had to qualify separately, including Darren House, whose car had sustained damage at Anglesey.
Apart from a brief puff of tyre smoke from Croft's 924, all cars are cleanly through Redgate at the start of Race 1, but before a single car has reached the line there's a crash at the Roberts chicane with Nick Hull going agricultural, losing control and taking out Garry Lawrence, leading to a safety car deployement – the BRSCC marshals quick to assist the drivers of both stranded cars.
Garry Goodwin has grabbed third ahead of Ed Hayes; Waters has taken the 924 lead from Jamie Callender. A "live snatch" facility at Donington means the stranded Boxsters, both quite badly damaged, can be recovered without having to stop the race.
Four laps down and racing resumes, Styrin leading Avery by less than half a second across the line. The lead 924s are three abreast through McLeans, meanwhile Andy Hack gains a couple of places while Goodwin drops back. Ed Hayes goes wide on the exit of the chicane.
No change at the front of the 924s with Waters retaining his lead over Calleder and Jones; Croft has dropped back to fifth behind new boy Lowry.
Lap 6 and Jones has passed Callender for 2nd; Styrin has extended his Boxster lead ahead of Avery and Hack in third.
There's a 924 spinner – David Jones – at Old Hairpin, but he recovers; Bernie Printy then spins existing Roberts.
Rick Styrin suddenly and unexpectedly pits – but is straight back out again leaving him 6th. No change to the front of the 924s, Waters having some comfort in the lead but Lowry right up with Callender.
As Styrin comes around again, he's slow across the line so there's something amiss, so Avery is now comfortably at the front. Molyneaux takes 4th off Goodwin. 924 driver Gavin Johnson retires with a brakes issue – later diagnosed as a servo line failure.
Lap 10 and Lowry now is right up with Waters at the front of the 924s, Croft now third having passed Callender. Molyneaux looses it at Redgate so Goodwin re-takes 4th.
The front three 924s are side-by-side across the line, less than a 10th between them with Lowry then just grabbing the lead through Redgate just as Avery takes the chequered flag.
Waters later admits to backing off, letting Lowry take the 924 win ahead of Adam Croft and Jamie Callendar third. David Jones regains a place after two spins put him back to 6th. Styrin limps home overall last, an as-yet undiagnosed misfire the cause of his earlier pitstop. David Jones and Styrin put in the fastest laps.
The heavens opens just as the two class winners are interviewed for TV, rightly featuring an impressed Lowry.
The Team Force mechanics have worked feverishly to repair both Hull and Lawrence's Boxsters after their coming together in Race 1 but after re-scrutineering this morning, both are ready to go out again.
Heading to the assembly point and finding he has no brakes, John Broadley retires from the initial grid lineup but with the second green flag lap – due to debris being found at the Roberts chicane – after a lighting-fast brake system bleed by the Victoria Garage mechanics, does join for the start.
As the cars line up again, Hull pulls into the pit lane for attention and quickly finds team members for attention – and the hasty addition of extra coolant. Lowry looses his initial 924s lead to Adam Croft who surges efficiently off the front line.
Before the first racing lap is complete, Styrin is off into the gravel at McLeans, later blaming a failed fuel pump; Richard Avery picks up the lead with the yellow 986 of Kevin Molyneaux in 2nd.
Forging his way through the 924s to catch up, Hull the retires at Redgate with a coolant leak and is out of the race.
Ryan Lowry grabs back the 924 lead while Waters and Croft battle for the 924s third – Croft less than 2 tenths behind. Callender is again doing well in 4th.
Ed Hayes now takes the Class A 2nd, demoting Hack, and Lawrence has got past Goodwin for 5th, Molyneaux 4th.
Lap 8 and Ed Hayes, posting a new fastest lap, is now challenging Avery for the lead. Hack drops another place for Goodwin back up to 5th.
Lowry continues to lead the 924s now, looking more comfortable out front with a 6 second gap ahead of David Jones. Croft has got past Waters for third but is gaining on Jones.
Backmarkers are keeping out of the way as the lead Boxsters catch them, Avery hanging on the lead. Hayes is again right with Avery at Coppice and Molyneaux is now catching the pair, less than 1.5 seconds back.
In Class C, Lowry's lead has dropped slightly with Jones now around 5 seconds back, while Croft and Waters battle for third – both drivers expertly swapping lines.
As the flag is waved, in the Boxsters its Avery from Hayes and Molyneaux – all equally spaced across the line. And its another 924 win for Lowry from Jones and Croft.
With our traditional reverse grid for the final race of the day, Hack takes full advantage is away from the lights like a startled deer with Lawrence giving chase.
A collision between Waters and Peart at Roberts leaves the #36 car stranded in the gravel and the deployment of the safety car. Meanwhile Styrin pits, his replacement fuel pump obviously not the solution to his weekend's woes.
Avery and Croft are also out, Avery after a tap from beind puts him into the gravel. Hayes is third up to second now, demoting Molyneaux. Broadley leads the 924s from Jones and Lowry.
Having returned to the track, Styrin is however very slow across the line, shortly followed by Hack and Hayes who lap him just 0.14 seconds apart. Now Lawrence pits and his team are removing his roof to gain access to the top of the 987's mid-mounted engine.
Molyneaux is up to second and the first three cars are a mere 0.6 apart; shortly after, Lawrence's roof is back in place and he's back out again.
The front three 924s are also staying together, while Hayes is challenging Molyneaux for the Boxsters' 2nd across the line and up to Redgate.
Jones and Lowry are now closing on Broadley in Class C. Archer, Goodwin and Hull are together challenging for 5th behind Alex Stocker. Bernie Printy and Johnson collide in the closing seconds of the race and are both DNFs, Printy's orange car suffering a minor fire.
At the flag its Broadley, Jones and Waters taking the podium slots for the 924s, but Waters is subsequently excluded for his clash with Peart. Boxster winners are Andy Hack – his first win with us, and indeed in any rear-wheel-drive car – followed by Ed Hayes and Kevin Molyneaux, getting ever more familiar with the third step.
Aaldering Wines awards, courtesy Fine Drinks Cooperative, go to Team Force – for their rapid repairs to both Hull's and Lawrences' cars; Ryan Lowry for his outstanding debut; and Kevin Molyneaux for showing such consistent improvement in his first season with us.
While Rick Styrin's early season wins have put him at the top of the Boxsters Championship, this weekend has been a gift for Richard Avery, leaving him a not insurmountable 36 points adrift; meanwhile Moylneaux is closing on Gary Lawrence for third. Linda Warren's superbly tactical driving, keeping both the car out of trouble and her at arms length from the Clerk, landed points equal to three third places where 924 drivers finishing ahead of her, being guests, did not receive points. Hugh Peart tails John Broadley by just five points for 2nd.
We're are Mallory Park for our penultimate weekend of the season on Sunday 25th September, squeezing three races into a single day.