Richardson Racing enjoyed the perfect end to its first season in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, with a double victory at the Red Bull Ring allowing Robert De Haan to wrap up the 2023 title.
The Northamptonshire-based team made the trip to the Austrian circuit with one hand on the championship crown after Rob picked up his sixth victory of the season in the previous event at Assen.
After a solid showing in the two free practice sessions, Rob produced a storming lap in qualifying to secure pole position for the opening race of the weekend, with his second-best time also good enough to snare pole for race two.
Before the race action even got underway, there was drama after the car of title rival Glenn van Parijs failed technical checks, with the Belgian driver only permitted to take part in the races under appeal.
When the lights went out for the start, Rob found himself squeezed between van Parijs and Horst Felix Felbermayr on the run to turn one and dropped back to third place, with the teenager then holding off the challenge of WTCR race winner Gilles Magnus mid-way through lap one.
Fending off Magnus, Rob wasted little time in moving back ahead of Felbermayr into second place when he slipped up the inside into the penultimate corner on lap two, and mindful of the fact that the title was in his grasp, he then followed van Parijs home to the finish.
With his rival then removed from the results, Rob took his place on top of the podium, having taken an unassailable lead in the points,
Heavy rain ahead of race two saw the action start behind the safety car before the decision was taken to call a halt to proceedings given the conditions, with a lengthy delay before it was deemed safe to allow the cars back onto the circuit.
After a handful of laps under caution, the race eventually started with just over 17 minutes remaining and Rob took full advantage of the clear track in front of him to romp away from the field and score a dominant victory – giving him an eighth win from twelve starts.
Rob also picked up the Rookie Cup title, with his success in the Benelux series coming on the back of a championship win in the Porsche Sprint Challenge Southern Europe at the start of the year.
Team-mate Micah Stanley meanwhile would elect to withdraw from the weekend after qualifying in the midfield, with the decision taken to avoid the risk of getting caught up in a repeat of the incident that had forced him out of the previous meeting.
“At the start of the season, I came into Carrera Cup Benelux as a rookie, and the team was also new to the series – so to end up winning the championship is fantastic,” Rob said. “We have worked so hard to achieve this and our results over the course of the season have shown how strong we are as a team.
“It’s an amazing achievement and I want to thank everyone who has supported me this season and helped me to get to this stage in my career. In particular, everyone at Richardson Racing has worked to give me a mega car every time I’ve gone out on track and we’ve been rewarded for it.
“Adding the Carrera Cup Benelux to the Porsche Sprint Challenge Southern Europe title I won earlier in the year is great, and more than I could have expected from my first year racing these cars.”