The Richardson Racing team endured its most challenging weekend of the season to date as the Porsche Carrera Cup GB headed for Donington Park for the latest rounds of the year.
Having missed the previous event at Knockhill due to a clashing commitment in Carrera Cup Benelux, the Northamptonshire-based team was on the back foot going into Thursday practice, where the two drivers had no carryover fresh tyres to make use of.
Robert De Haan would end up posting the seventh best time, whilst Micah Stanley ended up tenth in class to leave the team optimistic about the weekend ahead.
After a day off, Saturday’s qualifying session would then prove to be a hard-fought affair, with Rob spending a large part of the session on provisional pole before he was edged back to second spot, with the lead pair half a second up on the third placed car.
Micah meanwhile would again set the tenth-best time amongst the Pro class runners in 14th overall, with his hopes of qualifying higher being ended when he struck a splitter that had become dislodged from the car ahead on track, damaging both the underside of his car and the radiator.
Rain before the start of race one added a further challenge for the pair but a strong start from Rob saw him draw level with polesitter Adam Smalley on the run to turn one before contact saw him forced wide across the gravel – dropping the Dutch youngster down to 14th place.
From that point on, the teenager would find himself battling hard in the middle of the pack in worsening conditions, and he would end the race eighth amongst the Pro Class runners in tenth overall having been forced to contend with the loss of his splitter and his tracking being knocked out following multiple bouts of contact from other drivers.
A solid start from Micah saw him move to the fringes of the top ten overall but like Rob, he would find himself in the wars as the race wore on, also losing his splitter and being left fighting to keep the car running in a straight line as he brought his car to the finish tenth in class.
Unfortunately for both drivers, the misfortune that had hampered their challenge would continue in race two, with Rob having made up ground after an early safety car period before he was caught up in an unfortunate incident at the chicane.
Running in a train of cars, Rob was left with nowhere to go when one of the cars ahead struck a tyre stack placed at the corner, which was lifted into the air before coming down on the front of the #46 machine, resulting in damage that would ultimately force him to bring the car in and retire.
Starting towards the rear of the field after his race one issues, Micah showed his pace to fight his way to the fringes of the top ten before he was caught out by fluids dropped by another car, resulting in a spin that undid all of his good work and dropped him to the back of the pack.
Despite his car also carrying some damage from contact, Micah continued to show his pace as he recovered to finish in eighth place in class and 14th overall – salvaging the final point in the process.
The team will now turn focus back to the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, with the next round scheduled at Zolder on the weekend of 9/10 September, where it will look to wrap up the championship title.
Micah Stanley, #5 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
“If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have had no luck at all this weekend. It all started with a freak incident in qualifying that put me on the back foot and then in both races, I’ve been the victim of incidents that I could do nothing about.
“The results are no reflection of the effort of the team or the pace we had in the car this weekend, so it’s one to just forget about and focus on the races still to come.”
Robert De Haan, #46 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
“Although pole would have been nice, I was happy with a front row in qualifying and was looking forward to fighting for a win on race day. Unfortunately, we had no luck in the races and after the contact at the start of race one, it didn’t go our way.
“Getting collected by the tyre stack in race two just summed things up and it’s frustrating that we have been unable to secure the results we know we are capable of.”