- Simon Paice
Jack McCarthy Stars In The Croft Rain To Challenge For Overall Victory
Jack McCarthy almost secured a surprise maiden overall win in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft this past weekend (15/16 June), with a fantastic display earning him a stunning second place result and another crucial Pro Am class podium finish to continue his title challenge. McCarthy had shown impressive pace at Croft over the last couple of years in the Renault UK Clio Cup and he translated that pace across into his GT machinery, with a great start to the meeting seeing him set the Pro Am class pace in both of Friday’s free practice sessions. With torrential rain starting on the eve of qualifying the next day, McCarthy was greeted with tricky conditions for the session. The 18 year old adapted to them superbly and stormed his way to a maiden Pro Am pole position and fifth overall, his best result of the season so far. Sunday’s opening race unfortunately proved to be short-lived. A strong start saw him maintain fifth, however heading through the complex he was unable to avoid a spinning car in the middle of the road and contact with that car and then the barriers led to retirement. With heavy damage to his Shandon Spa & Hotel, SAS International and TMJ Interiors backed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, the Redline Racing team were in a race against time to get it repaired for race two but a heroic effort saw them complete the job with ten minutes to spare. Just as they headed out to the grid, the heavens opened in Yorkshire and as they completed their green flag lap, McCarthy joined the majority of the field in pitting for wet tyres. A superb turnaround by the team got him out on track first and ready to hunt down the top three on slick rubber. Immediately going ten seconds a lap quicker than them, the Bromley based driver swept into the race lead on lap four and went on to build an impressive nine second advantage at the front. Unfortunately, the safety car appeared to wipe out his advantage. With the standing water increasing around the circuit, as the leader of the pack McCarthy was the first to experience the changing conditions at full speed once the action resumed and unfortunately a large puddle at the chicane caused him to aquaplane and run wide off circuit. Some fantastic car control saw him quickly get back off the wet grass and recover in third position. Clearly quicker than the driver in front, the Kent racer bided his time before making a move on the penultimate lap at the complex to take second position at the chequered flag. With that also being second position in the Pro Am classification, he now lies second in the class championship standings, while a fifth Rookie win in the opening six races has grown his lead in that category heading into the next rounds at Oulton Park in Cheshire in two weeks’ time (29/30 June). Jack McCarthy: "Heading into the weekend, I never imagined that I’d be ending it gutted that I hadn’t won a race! It was truly a crazy meeting and the changing weather was unlike anything I’ve experienced in a race weekend before. “I’d had some positive pre-season testing here so I knew our pace was strong and I’m really pleased I could turn that into our best qualifying performance of the season. Unfortunately it didn’t go my way in race one, there was just nothing I could do. “A massive thank you to the team for their fantastic effort getting the car back out for race two and I’m gutted I couldn’t reward them with a victory. I knew straight away on the green flag lap that I had to go in for wet tyres and the team did a great job doing the fastest pitstop. “I was comfortable at the front and in a good rhythm, but unfortunately the safety car cost me. I aquaplaned on standing water and dropped back, so to recover to second overall and in class was a great result. We’ve made a big step forward this weekend and I’m excited for Oulton Park.”
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.