Lloyd wins wet Porsche thriller at ThruxtonPosted: May 2, 2012
Scholarship winner Daniel Lloyd took a stunning first Porsche Carrera Cup GB victory at a wet Thruxton last weekend, while Michael Meadows shared the wins to extend his championship lead.
Conditions at the Hampshire circuit were fairly moist to say the least all weekend, and on Saturday it was championship leader Meadows who once again shone the brightest by securing the pole position for the third time in three events.
The opening race started behind the safety car as conditions were still tricky, where Parker Racing’s Richard Plant caught the pole-sitting SAS driver napping and drew alongside Meadows into the lead as they headed up to the Complex for the first time.
Plant – they only man to have beaten Meadows so far this season in four races – then quickly edged out a two second lead over his rival early in the race, but after lap five the pace swung towards Meadows who began closing the gap once again.
The lead was chipped away in no time and Meadows was soon back in front as he dived up the inside of Plant to take the top spot heading into the Complex on lap eight. Without the hinderence of spray in his sight, Meadows then put the hammer down and began stretching a cushion at the front to as much as eight seconds.
Plant then rode the kerbs at the final chicane with too much enthusiasm and ripped the front splitter off the car, making him easy pickings for Ben Barker on lap 15 before Rory Butcher then moved into a podium finish.
Meadows eased off towards the end of the race and almost came under pressure from Parr Motorsport’s Barker late on, taking his fourth win of the season in five races by just under three seconds.
Plant’s team-mate Lloyd finished fifth after he too lost his splitter, ahead of Pro-Am1 winner Ahmad Al-Harty who was superb in the wet, over 20 seconds ahead of nearest class challenger Oly Mortimer in 11th.
Race two was one for the fans to really savour on Sunday, and as the lights went out Meadows and Barker both got shocking starts that saw front-row starter Butcher surge into the lead, while Jonas Gelzinis made side-to-side contact with Meadows at turn one that dropped Gelzinis to fourth.
Lloyd attacked Meadows for second and slid up the inside at Goodwood as the field nervously tiptoed their way around the first lap.
Butcher was proving to be a real star of the weekend, and his wet weather skill was showing through superbly as he slowly extended his lead to just over two seconds.
As the rain began to worsen and the mixed tyre choices selected by the majority of drivers out there made it more tricky, Lloyd began to edge into Butcher’s lead over the next few laps, but he then suffered the same fate as the first race when he lost his car’s front splitter over the kerbs, one of many drivers to do so as the track became littered with splitters as Meadows in third also lost his.
The extra debris added to the rain situation that saw Sam Tordoff pit for wet tyres, a gamble that made him comfortably the quickest man on track but unable to make up the lost time in the pits as he finished 12th by the finish.
Up front, the damage to Lloyd’s front end didn’t affect downforce too much as he began to close on Butcher once more, while Glynn Geddie was looking the fastest of the lead four cars and soon passed the struggling Meadows for third place.
With three laps to go, the race really heated up as Butcher was reeled in by Lloyd and made a small mistake that allowed him to get a run on the leader coming out of Church. The pair ran side-by-side into the chicane where Butcher locked his brakes and spun the car trying to come back on the inside, gifting the lead to Lloyd who had to shortcut the chicane in avoidance.
Geddie was still flying and now in second, immediately right on the rear bumper of Lloyd who outbraked himself at the chicane again, but the youngster hung on grimly to take his first win in the series by 0.582s, the first time a scholarship winner has won a race in their debut year.
Butcher still finished third ahead of Meadows who still leads the series, while Barker and Gelzinis were next up ahead of double Pro-Am1 winner Al Harthy.
Plant was next up in eighth, while Chris Dymond and Mortimer rounded out the top 10. Derek Pierce spun twice at the chicane after contact with 11th finisher Victor Jimenez on lap one, before Keith Webster also collected the Scot at the same corner shortly after.
Tania Mann finished last in both races as all drivers finished in the two encounters, Mann picking up full Pro-Am2 points ableit being the only class entrant.
Championship standings after rounds 5-6:
1. Michael Meadows – 117 points
2. Jonas Gelzinis – 88 points
3. Daniel Lloyd – 74 points
4. Ben Barker – 73 points
5. Sam Tordoff – 67 points
6. Richard Plant – 65 points