John McCullagh announced his return to the Porsche Carrera Cup with a magnificent third-place finish for Round 8 of the UK’s fastest single-make racing series at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk on 29/30 July.
Starting in 13th position overall on the grid, John made a good start and began to establish a good rhythm in his ProAm1 class around the three-mile circuit. Ex-BTCC driver Alex Martin and former Carrera Cup GB ProAm1 Champion Justin Sherwood were up from first and second respectively in the ProAm1 class while Graeme Mundy was putting the pressure on McCullagh in fourth. But just as McCullagh had begun to establish a rhythm, the safety car called into action following a couple of incidents where cars had left the track, necessitating the temporary go-slow.
Following the safety car, McCullagh’s rivals managed to steal a march on the former ProAm2 Championship winner and John wasn’t able to get close enough to challenge for the top step in class. McCullagh, did however manage to storm away from the chasing pack and finished the race in the all-important podium position on his first Carrera Cup outing since October 2016. The podium meant John finished 12th overall and it was a tremendous boost for both the driver and the Redline Racing team.
Onto Round 9 (Race 2 of the day), McCullagh’s second fastest qualifying lap put him in 12th place for the standing start race. As soon as the red lights went out there was trouble for McCullagh, as his car had stalled on the line. He managed to fire up the 3.8-litre 460hp engine but the stall meant he’d dropped back several places before the first turn.
The disappointing start meant John was now going to have to work his way through and past the PromAm2 (PA2) battles before engaging in his own class battle. After passing the PA2 pole man, and one of the quickest drivers of the weekend Peter Kyle-Henney, McCullagh couldn’t put distance between them and it made for an entertaining race for the packed house of spectators. Although having to defend hard at times, McCullagh wasn’t able to make up time to catch his class mates, and finished in a respectable fourth place and 14th overall.
McCullagh said: “One positive to take away from this weekend was that I was racing hard and making up time, which gives me tremendous confidence for the next round at Knockhill on 12/13 August. Between now and then, I’ll be commuting to and from my day job when I can on my new e-bike, and then also take in a few long conventional bike rides to sharpen the mind and body. I’ll be studying some video and our track data ahead of the official Porsche test on Tuesday this week all to prep for rounds 10 and 12 on the compact and very challenging Scottish circuit. If you were at the Snetterton over the weekend, thank you for your support and I’d love to see any photos you took. Feel free to share them on my Facebook page or tag on Twitter.”
In the Pro Class, John’s team mate Charlie Eastwood moved into the championship lead in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB after securing the team’s eighth win of the season in Race 1 followed by a close-fought second place in Race 2. The results meant that Eastwood now tops the standings after his main rival and double championship winner, Dan Cammish was away racing in the Porsche Supercup at the Hungaroring.
The weekend’s results mean Redline Racing maintain a healthy 79-point advantage atop the Teams Championship and hold four of the top five positions in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the next rounds at Knockhill in Scotland next weekend (12/13 August).
Written by: Ian Tonkin
Images by: Porsche Motorsport