The Comline Richardson Racing team was left counting the cost of an on-track clash at Silverstone after seeing its Porsche Carrera Cup GB title hopes take a major hit during the penultimate weekend of the season.
The Corby-based team made the short trip to the home of the British Grand Prix looking to build on a strong showing in the previous event at Thruxton – where a double podium for Will Martin saw him close to within two points of the championship lead.
Will would be rejoined at Silverstone by regular team-mate Jack Bartholomew as he made his return to action for the first time since an accident whilst cycling back in July forced him to miss three events whilst recovering from a number of serious injuries.
Jack was able to get back up to speed during a solid test ahead of the weekend and ended free practice on Friday half a second off the pace on the fringes of the top ten, with Will fourth on the timesheets.
The pair would both improve when qualifying came around on Saturday, with Will securing the third best time and Jack taking ninth – his second best qualifying performance of the campaign.
Briefly moving up into second on the opening lap of race one, Will found himself shuffled back to fourth and then became embroiled in a battle with Adam Smalley for the final place on the podium.
Will managed to sneak ahead on lap 15 only for Smalley to reclaim the place a lap later, with the fight between the pair allowing Gus Burton to close in behind. When Burton launched his car down the inside at Becketts on lap 17, Will was forced to cede position and would take the flag in fifth spot.
Jack would lose ground on the opening lap when a tap to the rear of his car at Copse saw him make contact with the car ahead and run wide, dropping him back to twelfth spot. From there, he would fight his way ahead of Ryan Ratcliffe into eleventh and then battled past Josh Stanton into tenth.
A track limits penalty for one of the drivers ahead promoted Jack into ninth spot at the finish although there was frustration to follow when he was docked two championship points for the incident on lap one – despite being the victim of contact himself.
Race two kicked off with Will at the front of the grid and he would hold second going through Copse for the first time. However, as the field headed up to Becketts, he would be the innocent party as third-placed Smalley was hit by the driver following behind – pushing his car into Will and forcing him to spin to the back of the field.
With any hope of a strong result having gone, Will knuckled down and rose back through the field to eleventh place by the finish as the seventh best Pro class driver. However, with main rival Jewiss taking the win for the second time in the weekend, Will now sits 22 points in arrears heading into the Brands Hatch finale.
Once again in the heart of the action throughout the race in the midfield pack, Jack would end the race in 13th place as the eighth best of the Pro field to grab the final championship point.
Despite the disappointment of Will’s title hopes taking such a major hit, Comline Richardson Racing will lead the Entrants’ Championship going into the season finale, with a 41 point lead in the standings.
Will Martin, #10 Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
“This has been a very tough weekend to deal with, but I know that the team and myself have given 100 per cent as we have done all season, and I’m incredibly proud of the way we have performed.
“We’ve had some big highs this season but unfortunately, motorsport also comes with disappointments, and that has certainly been the case at Silverstone where we have suffered massively through no fault of our own.
“With one round left at Brands Hatch, we just have to make sure that we go there with all guns blazing, give it our all and see what happens.”
Jack Bartholomew, #89 Richardson Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
“I feel I showed a lot of promise this weekend that isn’t reflected in the results but that is the way that motorsport can be sometimes, and you have to take the rough with the smooth. Missing three rounds – and an awful lot of testing – compared to everyone else meant the level of competition was even higher when I’ve returned, but I feel we have made progress throughout testing and both races to get closer to the outright pace.
“In reality, the big win was the fact that I was even able to get back behind the wheel this weekend considering it is less than ten weeks since the accident. It’s been a huge challenge to recover from my injuries, but all of the hard work and effort paid dividends as I felt absolutely fine when I got back behind the wheel.
“Having had the chance to get my eye in again this weekend, it would be nice if I could push for some strong results to end the season on a high at Brands Hatch. I went well on the Indy circuit earlier in the year with a podium hopefully I can be in the mix towards the sharp end again this time around.”