Following a successful return to Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Snetterton a fortnight ago, John McCullagh returned to the Redline Racing line-up for Rounds 10 and 11 of the thrilling championship at Knockhill.
Porsche Carrera Cup Round 10: Knockhill
The weekend began with a Porsche exclusive test session on Tuesday (8 Aug) followed by Free Practice on Friday (11 Aug) on the mile-long circuit north of Edinburgh. Given the undulating and physical nature of Knockhill, the free practice sessions were extremely challenging in cold and changeable weather which added and extra dimension to this outing in the 460hp Carrera GT3 Cup car.
Although the weather forecasts for qualifying had improved, the conditions had not and McCullagh began the session on full wets. With three minutes remaining, the returning Teessider was the fastest ProAm1 qualifier, but the track was drying quickly and nearest rivals Alex Martin and Justin Sherwood took an extra run on slick tyres and pipped McCullagh just before the chequered flag.
Knockhill is an extremely short and twisty circuit, which means that back markers always play a role in the outcome of a race and two-thirds the way through the race McCullagh was gaining on Sherwood when coming into traffic. Seeing an opportunity, the Redline Racing driver closed the gap to second-placed Sherwood, however, he lost ground himself after having to negotiate back markers through the chicane.
Despite his best efforts, John couldn’t reel in Sherwood in the final few laps and finished a creditable 13th overall and more importantly, third in class, the second podium in three races since my return.
Porsche Carrera Cup Round 11: Knockhill
After his Race 1 success, John McCullagh was a man on a mission, keen to build on the great pace from earlier in the day and climb to the top step of the coveted podium. The cars assembled on the grid for the standing start, as the lights went out the mad charge for turn 1 was underway in front of a full house of spectators.
For the second time in the day, McCullagh managed to get a great start and was one of four cars abreast on the straight, ahead was Ross Wylie on the grass after being pushed out there by a fellow driver. His car started to spin towards the pit wall leaving a gap for McCullagh to continue through, however a sudden an unexpected change in direction closed the gap and left McCullagh with nowhere to go other than into a hefty shunt with the rear wheel and side of Wylie’s car.
The resulting impact meant both drivers’ race run after just 300 yards, which then brought out the safety car, while both cars were recovered. Both cars suffered significant damage in the collision but most importantly all drivers were unharmed.
McCullagh said: “I was really looking forward to a tough battle this afternoon, the car was great the conditions were near perfect and I was feeling really confident, however after a great start my race came to a rather abrupt ending.
Clearly the accident was not in the script, but both myself and the team are really happy with the pace this weekend and we’ll definitely build on it for Silverstone in a month’s time.”
Written by: Ian Tonkin
Images by: Porsche Motorsport