Michael Caine battles handling in Round 2 of 2011 Carrera Cup – Harbour Cars
Harbour Cars driver and 2010 Carrea Cup runner up continued to battle with handling difficulties brought about by issues with the rear diff and struggled his car to 7th place in round 2.
Stephen Jelley took victory in round two at Brands Hatch today (Sunday 3 April) to take the early advantage in the championship. Jelley (Parker with Juta) dived ahead to lead from pole position as his team mate Euan Hankey slotted into second from James Sutton (SAS/Redline) but further down the field there was drama as the cars of Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) and Alex Martin (Dextra by Team Parker) clashed on the rush to Paddock Hill Bend. That contact pitched Butcher into a spin and his car tagged Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) into a spin. Fortunately, despite some very near misses, everyone else avoided the incident, but the safety car was deployed while Butcher’s stranded car was moved.
Shortly after the re-start the safety car was back out while Richard Denny’s Parr Motorsport car was moved from the gravel at Clearways after being tagged, so it was lap 12 before the race really got into a rhythm. Jelley was able to re-establish his lead at both re-starts and held his margin at around a second from Hankey and Sutton. Just behind them, Tim Harvey (Nationwide/Motorbase) had his mirrors full of the cars of Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing), Michael Meadows (SAS/Redline) and Richard Plant (Team Parker Racing).
Jelley was able to control the pace from the front and make sure of his first victory of the season. “The safety car gave me a nice breather and I got two good re-starts,” said Jelley. “It’s really good to go out of the weekend with a win and a points’ lead.” Hankey was never much more than a second adrift of his team mate. “I struggled a bit to begin with but as the race went on the balance equaled out. Later on I just kept it safe,” he said, as Sutton dropped away in third. However, that later became second when Hankey was penalised for running wide at Graham Hill Bend and dropped out of the final top 10. “I had a really good car for the first half of the race and for the first time this weekend I was as quick as them,” said Sutton. However, he started hearing a vibration from a rear corner and, conscious of the risk of punctures, he eased back his pace to make sure of taking what became second.
That allowed Harvey to get close by the finish and he had Tordoff, Meadows and Plant in close formation right behind. Meanwhile, Caine struggled home seventh, battling against an ill-handling car despite changes to the car after the opening race.