John McCullagh signed off on the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season with a fourth-placed finish and a stunning fourth-straight podium at the final race at Brands Hatch on 30 September/1 October.
The weekend began in positive fashion during Friday’s practice sessions with McCullagh and his Redline Racing team adapting their set-up to the changeable conditions – the highlight being a Top 10 lap time overall and fastest in class in FP1. The positive momentum continued through into Saturday’s qualifying where McCullagh’s two fastest lap times secured him 11th place on the grid for both races.
Light mist and heavy grey cloud were prevalent first-thing on Sunday morning and this forced all the drivers to choose full wet tyres for the damp conditions. Once the grid had formed the lights went out on the rolling start and McCullagh managed to find a clean line into turn one without any dramas and was right on the back of his PA1 rivals.
As the race developed, two of McCullagh’s nearest rivals, Graeme Mundy and Justin Sherwood, were forced to take evasive action as the close-knit field jostled for position and both ended up in the gravel, forcing an early retirement. This left the door open for McCullagh to move into a podium position, however, the Yorkshireman was virtually alone on track with a commanding 15-second lead over the chasing pack, but, five seconds back from fellow PA1 driver Alex Martin (and eventual PA1 Champion).
As the chequered flag dropped at the end of the first race, McCullagh had secured his fourth podium from the four race meetings he has contested this season, much to the delight of both driver and team.
The second race in the afternoon was an altogether different affair, as the weather had held and the proceeding support races and the British Touring Car Championship had carved out a dry line on the tarmac – on went the slicks.
From the standing start, McCullagh got away cleanly and still maintained track position into the first turn. All the drama happened at the front of the field where a battle for the overall Championship was unfolding is dramatic fashion between title contenders Charlie Eastwood and Dino Zamperelli.
While the front-runners in the Pro class were trading places almost corner-for-corner, the PA1 drivers were also putting on a show for the crowd with incredibly close and competitive racing. Karl Leonard eventually took the victory in Race 2, while Justin Sherwood held off Alex Martin by just 0.161sec for second and third respectively. McCullagh brought his #3 machine home in fourth as the rain began to fall, thus ensuring a seventh points finish from the eight races in which he participated in 2017.
After the race, John McCullagh, said: “I managed to get good starts in both races and it was superb fun racing at Brands Hatch. Throughout the weekend, my lap times got consistently better and I cannot thank the Redline Racing Team enough for their professionalism, expertise and support since joining for the latter half of the season. It was great to drive at Brands Hatch in front of such a large and supportive crowd and it was important to bring the car home and achieve what we set out to do – bring home as many points for the team as possible.”
Written by: Ian Tonkin
Images by: Porsche