Harvey wins big on Porsche return in Nordschleife World Cup event

Tim Harvey took a spectacular win in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB segment of the Porsche Carrera World Cup event held on the toughest circuit in the world, the 16.123 mile Nurburging Nordschleife circuit in Germany.

Harvey had left the British championship earlier this season after a tough start as he struggled to get to grips with the new 997 GT3, but the former double British series champion was imperious in this prestigious one-off event, finishing 13th overall in the daunting and very damp six-lap (85 mile) race, finishing 13th out of a field of 98 Carrera Cup cars from different national Porsche championships around the world.

The current British championship leader James Sutton took the GB pole in qualifying with a time of 8m45.249s which was good enough for 17th overall, with Euan Hankey and Sutton’s Red Line Racing team-mate Michael Meadows proving to be his closest challengers. However the session was marred as Hankey was bit hard by the fearsome circuit, suffering a huge accident when he went into the barriers at high speed (said to be 165mph) and rolled three times, leaving the car unrepairable for the race, although luckily he suffered no serious injuries.

Come race day on Saturday, the drivers faced another challenge to contend with when the track was hit by a downpour that coated the circuit in rain and left conditions very slippery. The grid for the race was split into three groups of Porsches regarding qualifying times, each getting underway at different intervals and under rolling start conditions, therefore meaning race results were based on the aggregate race time over the full distance for each driver rather than position on track. Sutton’s time in qualifying was also good enough to start from the first wave of cars with the pack of Supercup championship drivers.

However the conditions were causing carnage early on, and the opening lap saw high drama and attrition rate on the slippery track. Of the British series contingents, Celtic Speed’s George Brewster was knocked off at the first corner in his pack of Porsches, but the biggest drama of all was the demise of top qualifier Sutton, who crashed out on the first lap.

In fact, his Red Line Racing team had a dreadful first lap as a similar fate befell their other drivers Benji Hetherington, Ahmad Al Harthy – who went off into the barriers at the downhill Aremberg corner – and Pro-am2 championship contender Keith Webster who all crashed out on the opening lap.

Sutton’s team-mate Meadows meanwhile struggled at the back of his group in the spray as cars around him battled for position, and found himself battling with Lithuanian driver and fellow Carrera Cup GB rival Jonas Gelzinis, the pairing struggling early on at the back of the first group. Meadows finished 31st overall, one place ahead of Gelzinis at the flag.

This all immediately handed the initiative to Stephen Jelley and Harvey at the start, who had helpfully started towards the front of the second pack of cars that was lead by Italian championship driver Alessandro Balzan.

Jelley had led the opening laps of the race but soon came under pressure from the charging  Harvey, who then made his move on the Parker with Juta driver for the GB lead and began to stretch a gap out on his way to taking the GB series win with a fantastic 13th place finish overall in his championship specification Nationwide sponsored car.

Jelley could not contend with Harvey and was soon caught by the flying Rory Butcher, and in fact the Celtic Speed driver made his way past Jelley on the final lap before later being handed a 30s time penalty for a yellow frag infringement that dropped him to fourth GB driver, although he took victory in the Pro-Am1 class, an impressive 24th overall in the race.

Having started last after gearbox troubles in qualifying, Richard Plant was a star of the race, his 35th place overall (eight in GB) earning him the event’s driver of the weekend award, while Team Parker Racing took the team of the weekend honours in a race where all five of their cars made the finish. Pro-Am2 win saw a new winner meanwhile, after Parr Motorsport’s Richard Denny drove a sublime performance for a well-deserved class win and 55th overall.

The overall race was won by German driver Rene Rast, the reigning Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup champion taking the lead from Norbert Siedler with a brave move on the first lap heading over one the circuit’s flat-out crests early in the lap before fending off his rival to the flag for the Supercup and overall event victory.

Rast’s championship chances in the grand prix-supporting Supercup were boosted further when championship leader, Britain’s Nick Tandy, came away pointless after outbraking himself attempting to pass Siedler for second at the Aremberg corner and aquaplaning heavily straight-on into the barriers. As a result another Brit, Sean Edwards, now leads the Supercup standings as they head off to Silverstone next weekend.

The British series meanwhile starts its summer break before the next round at Snetterton on August 6th/7th, with Sutton’s championship lead having been significantly slashed, now only seven points ahead of Jelley and 11 ahead of Meadows.

Porsche Carrera Cup GB results:

1. Tim Harvey – Nationwide/Motorbase– 13th Overall

2. Stephen Jelley – Parker with Juta – 15th Overall

3. Sam Tordoff – Team Parker – 20th Overall

4. Rory Butcher – Celtic Speed – 24th Overall

5. Derek Pierce – Dextra by Parker – 29th Overall

6. Michael Meadows – SAS/Redline – 31st Overall

7. Jonas Gelzinis – Juta Racing – 32nd Overall

8. Richard Plant – Team Parker – 35th Overall

9. Alex Martin – Dextra by Parker – 43rd Overall

10. Richard Denny – Parr Motorsport – 55th Overall


Tommy Dreelan (Lap 4)

James Sutton (Lap 1)

Benji Hetherington (Lap 1)

Ahmad Al Harthy (Lap 1)

Keith Webster (Lap 1)

George Brewster (Lap 1)

Euan Hankey (DNS)

Class winners:

Pro – Tim Harvey    Pro-am1 – Rory Butcher    Pro-am2 – Richard Denny

Championship standings after round five:

Driver’s Standings Overall Points
James Sutton 151
Stephen Jelley 144
Michael Meadows 140
Driver’s Standings Pro-AM1 Points
Jonas Gelzinis 99
Rory Butcher 65
Ahmad Al Harthy 51
Driver’s Standings Pro-AM2 Points
Andrew Shelley 74
George Brewster 66
Keith Webster 65

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