Richardson Racing secures stunning Carrera Cup win at Brands Hatch
The Richardson Racing team secured a stunning first victory of the season as the Porsche Carrera Cup GB headed to Brands Hatch for the second meeting of the campaign.
Heading for the famous Kent circuit just two weeks after the season opener at Snetterton, the weekend would start well for the Corby-based team with an encouraging performance in Friday testing.
Will Martin produced the second fastest lap on the combined times with Josh Malin slotting in just behind in third, whilst Will Bratt was also firmly in the mix in eighth.
Come qualifying on Saturday, all three drivers would improve on the lap times they had set during practice, with Martin leading the challenge in fifth spot and Malin in P9, both youngsters lapping within half a second of pole.
Bratt meanwhile was little more than a second away from pole himself, but the tight nature of the times meant he would line up in 17th on the grid.
The opening race of the weekend would be a hectic affair on a greasy circuit after light rain prior to the start.
Martin held position when the lights went out to hold on to fifth and then made up a spot on lap two when Dan Cammish suffered a spin at Paddock Hill Bend. Moving up to third when leader Harry King then ran into problems, Martin pushed hard to try and get ahead of Kiern Jewiss into second before settling for the final place on the podium.
Malin made up a place in the opening lap and he battled his way into the top six shortly after the half-way stage of the 32 lap encounter. King's retirement then moved him into fifth spot, and he retained the place through to the finish.
Bratt had looked set to be one of the stars of the race as he worked his way through the field, making up three spots on the opening lap alone. By lap three, Will was on the fringes of the top ten and was part of a train of cars dicing for seventh place.
Having climbed to eighth, Bratt was making a move for position at Druids with three laps to go when he tagged the rear of Charles Rainford's car - damaging the suspension and forcing him off into the gravel.
The grid for race two saw Malin lining up on the front row in second spit, with Martin directly behind in fourth and Bratt back in eleventh as a result of his race one retirement.
Martin was able to make his way up a place on the opening lap into third spot as Malin dropped back to fourth, and he then battled his way ahead of Lewis Plato into second place. Aware of the fact that there were a number of quicker drivers coming through the pack behind, Martin put pressure on leader Jamie Orton and managed to get ahead at Druids on the 14th lap.
From there he was able to edge away from the field behind to secure an impressive victory by more than three seconds.
Having slipped back down the order when he was forced wide off the racing line the end of the fourth lap, Malin soon settled into a rhythm in the midfield pack and a trouble free run saw him cross the line in seventh spot, although a penalty elsewhere meant he would end up classified in sixth.
Bratt meanwhile recovered well from dropping back to 14th in the early phases of the race, and fought his way through into the top ten, taking the chequered flag in ninth place on the road.
However, a five second penalty for a track limits infringement undid his good work as he was classified in an unrepresentative 13th spot.
At the end of the weekend, Martin sits fourth in the championship standings, with Malin in seventh and Bratt holding tenth.
Malin also holds second in the rookie standings, with Richardson Racing second in the Entrant Championship.
Will Martin, #10 Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
"This weekend couldn't have gone much better. I felt a little bit down after round one at Snetterton but I kept my head down and pushed hard and the team has done a perfect job.
"Scoring a podium in race one was a good start and in race two, I got my head down and pushed as hard as I could to get to the front. Orton isn't an easy driver to pass but I made it through and was then able to pull out a gap to secure the victory. The field this season is really strong, so I'm delighted to get a win on the board."
Josh Malin, #90 Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
"It's been another great weekend for me in the Porsche and as as Snetterton, I enjoyed every moment of it! Even though we went quicker than we did in practice, qualifying didn't go as well as I hoped and it meant I had work to do on Sunday, but the races more than made up for it.
"To come away from the weekend with a fifth and a sixth is really good as I didn't quite have the pace needed to get onto the podium, but I'm confident that it will come. Considering that I wasn't able to test much before the season started due to budget, I think I'm doing okay so far and I've got to thank the team and all my sponsors for their support. Hopefully I'll be able to fight for some silverware soon."
Will Bratt, #91 Comline Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
"Overall it's been a tough weekend given where we qualified as it left me with work to do in the two races. However, if there has been an award handed out for the most overtakes in the two races on Sunday, then I think I'd have probably won it!
"Although the results aren't what I was hoping for this weekend, I feel we have made good progress with adapting the set-up of the car to something that will work better for me in the future, and that is more suited to my driving style.
"I'm looking forward to getting some testing in to spend more time in the car, and on pushing for some stronger results in the upcoming races."