Solid pace for Richardson Racing in Porsche Carrera Cup GB opener
The Richardson Racing team showed solid pace on track as the new Porsche Carrera Cup GB season kicked off at Snetterton, with four top ten finishes from the opening weekend of the campaign.
The season opener marked the first meeting for the Corby-based team running a multi-car Porsche programme, with returning driver Will Martin joined by Ginetta GT5 champion Josh Malin and the experienced figure of Will Bratt for the 2021 season.
After a test at the circuit during the week, the team then hit the track for Friday practice, with Martin posting the fifth fastest time, Malin slotting into eighth and Bratt taking twelfth in his Comline AutoParts-backed car.
A hard fought qualifying session on Saturday afternoon then yielded similar results, with Martin leading the team's challenge in fifth spot having lapped just seven tenths of a second off pole, with Josh - now reclassified in the Pro category - qualifying directly behind him in seventh as the second best of the rookie drivers.
Bratt would line up in P12, with a best time just three tenths of a second away from the top ten.
When the lights went out to kickstart the opening race, Martin lost a place on the opening lap when Harry King made a forceful move out of the first turn, with James Dorlin also getting ahead as he slipped back to P7. Fighting past Lewis Plato on lap two, Martin then chased down Dorlin before claiming fifth place on lap eight and held the place through to the finish.
Malin would slip a place on the opening lap to run in eighth spot but held his position through the finish, with Bratt pending the first half of the race battling for position with Jake Rattenbury. Finally getting ahead of his rival on lap eight, he then diced for places with Michah Stanley before crossing the line in eleventh, just a tenth of a second outside the top ten.
The reverse grid for race two saw Martin lining up on the front row and he quickly took the lead when the lights went out before an error at Nelson saw him run wide and slip back down the order. A long battle with Plato would follow that would run until the finish as will took the flag in sixth spot, although he would then be excluded from the results for a technical infringement.
Malin would run just inside the top ten throughout the race, with a late move on Dorlin ensuring that he crossed the line in eighth spot, inheriting a further place as a result of Martin's penalty. Bratt meanwhile spent the whole race fighting with Ryan Ratcliffe before taking the flag in tenth place, with his promotion into ninth spot meaning he opened his points account for the season.
Will Martin, #10 Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
"We had two solid races this weekend on track, even if we didn't end up where we wanted to be in the end results - particularly in race two. This wasn't my favourite circuit in the Porsche last year and it certainly wasn't this weekend but I think we made some good progress and showed decent pace when you consider that we haven't done as much testing as a lot of the other teams. The field this season is very strong and I feel the pace of the whole grid has gone up but we have shown that we have the speed to fight with them. I'm sure we'll be strong at Brands Hatch in a few weeks."
Josh Malin, #90 Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
"Considering it was my first weekend in the series, I'm really pleased to bring home two top ten finishes. With the mentality of a racing driver, you always feel you can push for more and that it what I'll be doing going forwards, but it's a huge step up for me from the Ginetta so it was important to stay out of trouble and get a solid weekend under my belt. Managing the brakes and tyres - and having so much more power under my right foot - is different to what I've been used to in the last few years and it has been a challenge but I feel I've done well and am looking forward to getting back out at Brands Hatch."
Will Bratt, #91 Comline Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
"It was a very late deal to join the grid this season so I didn't have much pre-season running, and I think that has been reflected in the results this weekend. I didn't quite have the pace that I was hoping for and it meant we were a little bit further back down the order than I wanted to be, but I know that there is more time to come. We need to sit down and look at the data from this weekend to see where the areas for improvement are, but the extra track time this weekend is certainly something to benefit from and I'm looking forward to taking a step forwards at Brands Hatch."