Richardson Racing enjoyed a strong weekend on track as the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux season resumed at Assen, with a maximum score allowing the team to extend its advantage at the top and move within touching distance of the championship title.
The fourth event of the campaign would be the second successive meeting to run in the Netherlands, giving championship leader Robert De Haan the opportunity to add another win on home soil to the one he had secured at Zandvoort prior to the summer break.
Despite it being the first time either driver had visited the circuit, Rob would set the quickest time during Friday practice to leave confidence high going into qualifying, with team-mate Micah Stanley 14th quickest as he put valuable miles under his belt – improving his lap time between sessions by more than half a second.
Qualifying would prove to be astonishingly close as Rob missed out on pole by just 0.008s to multiple Porsche Supercup champion Larry Ten Voorde, who joined the grid as a guest entry for the weekend.
That was all the more impressive given the teenager was restricted to one run after being held in the pits for a five minute stop go penalty following a single installation lap for exceeding track limits during practice, with a red flag also impacting on his session.
Micah’s progress also continued as his fastest lap of the weekend moved him up into the top ten, with the second-best time for the pair being good enough for third and tenth respectively for race two.
Although he would briefly drop behind Wouter Boerekamps off the line in race one, Rob wasted little time in getting back ahead into second place mid-way through the opening lap and would hold station all the way to the finish to take the chequered flag behind Ten Voorde.
However, with Ten Voorde not eligible to score points, Rob secured a maximum score as well as a bonus point for being the quickest eligible driver in qualifying – extending his advantage in the standings after closest rival Glenn van Parijs was forced to retire after hitting debris on the circuit.
Micah meanwhile was left with work to do after contact on lap one dropped him down to 15th place, but he would recover well with a number of solid overtakes allowing him to fight his way back through to ninth by the finish despite nursing damage to the rear of his car.
Both drivers would hold station at the start of the second race, which would be halted after a two-car incident on the opening lap resulted in barrier damage that had to be repaired.
The race would eventually resume under a shortened distance of 20 minutes, with Rob immediately heaping pressure on Boerekamps in a bid to get ahead. After another brief safety car, Rob was able to make a move stick to get ahead of his rival and would once again chase Ten Voorde home to score maximum championship points with the additional bonuses for pole and fastest lap.
As a result, the teenager now leads the overall standings by 50 points, with a slightly larger advantage in the Rookie Division, and can provisionally secure the title at Zolder if he outscores van Parijs by four points.
Stanley meanwhile would survive being run onto the grass by Rik Koen shortly after the restart to secure another solid ninth place, showing his pace by going third quickest amongst the Benelux racers and picking up more valuable points to move into eighth in the standings.
Crucially, the combined efforts of the pair mean Richardson Racing now heads the Teams’ Championship, having edged ahead of the rival August by NGT squad with two rounds left to run at Zolder and the Red Bull Ring.
Micah Stanley, #5 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
“After the summer break, practice was all about getting back into the groove in the car, and the performance when we got to qualifying was much better – particularly on a circuit I didn’t know having never been to Assen before.
“The races were both quite tricky because I was hampered by contact, but I was still able to bring the car home for a pair of top ten finishes and some solid points.”
Robert De Haan, #46 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said:
“I tried to be sensible this weekend and not take any big risks, and the strategy worked. In the first race, I knew Glenn had retired so I just made sure I brought the car home and I didn’t want to do something stupid trying to pass Larry when he wasn’t scoring points.
“Scoring another podium in race two was great, and it means we have a handy lead to now take to Zolder for the next round.”