Porsche Carrera Cup GB rookie Will Martin has added a good haul of points to his 2020 tally during at a rollercoaster weekend at Oulton Park (22/23 August).
After a challenging visit to Brands Hatch, the East Sussex racer enjoyed a one week break before heading north west to Cheshire for the third meeting of his maiden Carrera Cup GB campaign.
Martin and his Richardson Racing team came into the weekend with a positive mindset after having managed to score points in the first two race weekends of the season, while he also held fond memories of winning twice at the circuit last year in Ginetta Juniors.
The meeting didn't start off well for Martin though. The Proceed Group backed driver, along with many of his rivals, lost valuable track time thanks to intense rainfall in Friday's first free practice session, and a mechanical problem in the second outing meant that he only completed five laps all day.
Martin put Friday’s problems aside and focused on Saturday’s qualifying session, which started in slippery conditions. As the session progressed, the track conditions changed dramatically and eventually he needed to switch to slick tyres.
A composed performance in tricky conditions netted Martin the tenth fastest time of the session, though grid penalties for two of his rivals meant he started the opening race that afternoon from eighth on the grid.
On a now completely dry circuit, the Trenchline Utilities supported driver, made a good start and quickly moved up into seventh position. Over the entire race, the 17 year old had to work hard to defend his position from Ross Wylie, but a minor mistake, two laps from the chequered flag, meant he fell back to his starting position.
Eighth place still scored him a point though and also meant he lined up for a shortened second race on Sunday on the fourth row of the grid. The MT Drains sponsored racer made another good start on wet tyres to move up to seventh, however a small mistake a few laps later cost him ground.
Martin started his recovery straight away, moving up to tenth position within a lap, but just as he was about to make a challenge for ninth, the safety car was called out. When the action resumed, he had only three laps to get back into the points, but the rising star immediately started making progress.
After a couple of impressive moves, Martin found himself on the verge of a points finish and on the penultimate lap, he made a good move on Dorian Mansilla to elevate himself up to the crucial eighth place. He now lies ninth in the Pro drivers' standings heading into round four at Knockhill this coming weekend (29/30 August).
Will Martin: “It always feels good coming to Oulton Park. Both myself and the team have a lot of good memories here. Friday was far from ideal though. The rain was so bad during FP1 that we decided not to go out. Besides, we needed to sort something out on the car and then in FP2, we suffered a technical problem and we were only able to run for five laps.
“Fortunately, things started to turn around on Saturday. Qualifying was always going to be a challenge, learning the Oulton Park circuit in both wet and dry conditions but I gave it my all, the team and I made the right call switching to slicks when we did and I was very pleased to make the top 10 after Friday.
“Race one later that day was really positive. After what happened at Brands Hatch, I was determined to make a good start and I did it. I got up to seventh, but I had to work so hard to try and keep it. I had a good scrap with Ross Wylie, we traded places a bit in the early stages, but I made a mistake and slipped back to eighth right at the end there. Still, happy to get a points finish.
“Race two started well and I was pleased to be up to seventh again. I really wanted to catch the group ahead of me but before I could get close enough to make a move, I made a mistake towards the end of lap six and fell back in the pack.
“I kept cool and made sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I just wanted to get back up the order but just as I started making up ground, the safety car was deployed. Knowing that race two was shortened by three laps, I hoped the safety car period wouldn’t last too long and I understood that I had to get on with it as soon as racing resumed.
“When racing did get going, I had just three laps and I immediately put the pressure on the guys in front. Fortunately, I was able to pull off some really good moves and was able to snatch eighth place on the penultimate lap. I was very pleased with that comeback as the conditions were quite tricky across the whole race.
“I am really proud of how both myself and the team bounced back from such a tricky Friday. To get two point finishes this weekend I think is very important for my confidence but it also shows that we are heading in the right direction. I’m really excited about Knockhill next weekend, it should be a lot of fun in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car”
Image from Dan Bathie / Porsche GB.