Porsche Centre Tonbridge sponsored driver Esmee Hawkey consolidated her lead in the GTA title battle with another podium finish as the GT Cup travelled to Oulton Park for rounds 13 and 14 of the Championship.
After testing on Friday and getting down to a good benchmark time in the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, Esmee and team-mate James Birch entered qualifying confident of a good result. The pair lined up in second place on the GTA grid behind the Ginetta G55 of Daniel O’Brien which is an impressive achievement given that the Cayman is currently 250kg heavier than its rival.
The one day event at the picturesque Cheshire circuit was interrupted when a three-car incident resulted in round 13 being abandoned due to time limits. With the cars stranded on track requiring lifts, the decision was made to cancel the race and reschedule it for later in the year to ensure there was sufficient time for the longer, 50-minute pit stop race to be run in its entirety.
With the grid for the pit stop race being determined by the qualifying order for round 13, the race got underway and Esmee moved the Porsche Centre Tonbridge sponsored car into the lead of the race from the start. The 18 year old ran a controlled race from there and brought the car in to the pits on lap 16 to hand over to James.
Their recent run of form meant that the Cayman carried 25 seconds of success penalty for its run of podium finishes, which meant that James would rejoin down the order. A timing error led to a stop and go penalty being issued for a short pit stop, leaving Esmee and James in fourth place on the road. However, the yellow Porsche of Colin Broster and Marcus Clutton did not score points, meaning Esmee and James were elevated to third.
“It’s been a really good weekend,” said Esmee. “I haven’t had any exam pressure this time so on the track I have been more focused. We tested on Friday, which really helped us build up our pace and was really beneficial in qualifying because we were second in the group.”
“I started the 50-minute race and took the lead into the first corner and led the group until I pitted to hand over to James. I’m really happy with the performance and to get another podium really helps with our championship. We’re still leading and we’ve got a good margin to second place.”
“Overall, I’m really happy. We’re looking forward to Donington where I’ll be sharing the car with my dad. We’ll be testing on the Thursday before so we should be in good shape.”
The next race for Esmee will be at Donington Park on the 13th & 14th August.
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