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Round 1 Race Report – Donington GP 18 April 2022

A healthy 22 Porsches entered the first of 2022’s CALM All Porsche Trophy rounds, held on the rarely used full Donington GP circuit on Easter Monday April 18.

There were many familiar faces and cars in the paddock, plus some welcome newcomers including Tom Bowes in the black SPDA Boxster previously campaigned by Leigh Bowden, father and son combination Piers and Theo Bridgeman-Williams in their 944S2 sporting a lovely Rothmans Porsche tribute livery, and Roger Coy in a white 968 shared with the highly experienced Calum Lockie.

Eventually 19 cars took to the track for Qualifying after a couple of late withdrawals and Darren Constant’s 924 failing the noise check due to a split in the system.

Quickest was the brand new SP1 Cayman pedalled by Matt Kyle-Henney and Toby Barlow, sharing the front row with the Coy/Lockie 968, which was some 5 seconds quicker than the next up SP3 car thanks to some epic laps from Calum. The next 10 cars were closely matched with a range of SP2 and SPDA Boxsters mixing it with a variety of 944s and 968s. Jon and Christian Walker’s Boxster was quickest SP2 car followed by Darren King and Ben Demetriou’s similar car lapping fractionally quicker than the James Harvey SPDA Boxster.

Sixth overall was the spectacular McHugh family 944Turbo just clear of the Bridgeman-Williams 968 in 7th and second SP3 car.

David Hornsey put the 924 shared with Chris Valentine on SP4 pole from Karl Rossin, Hugh Peart and Richard Jones with Darren Constant’s repaired 924 bringing up the rear.

As the field completed the green flag lap and the lights went out, the only car missing was the unfortunate Sam Callahan’s Boxster due to an engine failure in Qualifying.

The #22 Cayman of Matt Kyle Henney took an immediate lead followed by Jon Walker’s Boxster. This pair immediately started to pull clear of the rest of the field, led by the King/Demetriou Boxster which soon became embroiled in a closely fought multi car group including the impressive Stuart Ings SP3 leading 944S2, the McHugh 944Turbo, plus the Archer, Harvey, Gick and Wayne Gregory Boxsters.

The front-row sitting Coy/Lockie 968 dropped to 12th on lap one after an incident, but their pace picked up in the latter part of the race setting a new class lap record on the way to 10th overall.

The midfield Boxster and 944/968 battles continued after the mandatory pitstops, but it was all change at the front of the field with the#51 Boxster now driven by Christian Walker ahead of the Cayman with Toby Barlow now at the wheel. Both cars were still comfortably clear of the field as Barlow set about closing the 8 second gap to the leading Boxster. Both drivers were pushing the limits as the gap came down to just half a second after 17 laps when they went straight on in parallel at the chicane, with Toby finally getting past 3 laps before the end after some brilliant driving from both which saw Christian Walker win the Driver of the Day award.

In 3rd overall at the head of a gaggle of Boxsters was the King/Demetriou car followed by Dan Gick, the Archer car and the SP3 winning 944S2 of Stuart Ings who held off the McHugh Turbo by under a second at the flag.

With a handful of laps to go, Darren Constant’s brakes gave out, landing him in a gravel trap and requiring recovery under local yellows. Early class leader Karl Rossin was looking comfortable for the win until he had to pit late in the race due to his radiator coming adrift, meaning SP4 was won by the Valentine/Hornsey 924 from Hugh Peart, who finished second despite a lurid spin at Redgate. After hasty pit lane assistance, Rossin was returned to the track just in time to take third.

Top three by class are listed here. Gallery of photos courtesy official photographer Sean Mulcahy – more on his Flickr account.

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