John McCullagh continued his 100% points scoring run in this year’s Porsche Carrera Cup GB, by taking his Inlec.com-backed 911 GT3 to two 4th place Pro-Am1 class finishes at a very hot and humid Oulton Park – narrowly missing out on a podium finish both times.
The 52-year old driver from Northallerton qualified 4th in class and 13th overall, meaning he’d start both races from the inside of Row 7 – Round 5 as a rolling start on Saturday (4 June) and Round 6 (the 200th Pro-Am1 class race in the UK) as a standing start on Sunday (5 June).
John didn’t make the best of starts in the first race, dropping behind rival Justin Sherwood as the lights went out. In an exciting dice, John pounced on a mistake by Sherwood at Druids to retake the position and, despite running wide and onto the grass at Knickerbrook himself, he held on to finish 4th in Pro-Am1 and 12th overall – after the race finished under a Red Flag after 13 of the planned 18 laps.
John made sure of a clean get away in the second race, and did well to avoid a spinning Dan McKay on lap two at Island Bend. John held 3rd in class for most of the race, fending off a hard-charging Peter Jennings, who put John under pressure until the chaser spun. The recovering McKay was a man on a mission, overtaking Sherwood and then John, denying him a podium finish with just two of the 18 laps remaining. John did hold on to 4th, beating Sherwood to the flag by 0.347secs.
Whilst John has slipped from 1st to 3rd in the Pro-Am1 drivers’ standings after six races, only five points separate him from leader Euan McKay – with John’s home race meeting at Croft up next (18-19 June).
John McCullagh said: “It was another great Porsche race weekend – the racing was very close, there was a full house at Oulton Park and the weather conditions were outstanding all weekend. With track temperatures of over thirty degrees, getting heat into the tyres and putting down the 460 horsepower efficiently was not a problem, so it was really fun to push the 911 GT3 as hard as you dared!
“Had I had a better start in the first race I may have been able to get into a battle for third, but I got mugged by Justin Sherwood off the line and that put paid to that. We swapped places after Justin made a mistake at Druids and a couple of laps later I almost returned to favour on the entry to Knickerbrook, but thankfully I had enough margin to recover and stay ahead. Special congratulations should go to the McKay brothers, Euan and Dan, on taking P1 and P2 in our class whilst giving the Pros a run for their money.
“Having been slow out of the blocks on the rolling start, I was focused on a clean getaway in the standing start in race two. I held P3 in class for most of the race, fending off an in-form Peter Jennings who was being pursued by Justin Sherwood. A podium finish was on the cards, but I was unable to fend off McKay, who overtook me with two laps to go.
“Oulton was a great weekend, with the Redline Racing team taking a first, fourth, fifth and sixth in the Pro category, as well as my pair of fourths in PA1. My car race ran faultlessly once again, and the set-up was well adjusted to cope with the high degradation of the tyres in the sweltering heat.
“I’m now looking forward to the official Carrera Cup GB test at Croft, ahead of Rounds 7 and 8 in two weeks time.