John McCullagh has moved up into second position in the Pro-Am1 championship, after maintaining his 100% finishing record in the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB with a pair of very strong points-scoring finishes at Knockhill in his Inlec.com-backed 911 GT3.
The 52-year old North Yorkshire driver narrowly missed out on a podium finish – a spin seeing McCullagh finish 5th in the first race and a great battle seeing him finish 4th in race two. Another double points-scoring race weekend puts him second in the hotly contested Pro-Am1 category, behind Euan McKay and ahead of Sean Hudspeth, with just four races remaining.
Qualifying at Knockhill on Saturday (13 August) was incredibly close, with McCullagh almost inseparable from rival Sean Hudspeth. Three personal best sector times saw McCullagh set a 50.855s best, which put him 4th in Pro-Am1, a mere 0.564s behind the class pole sitter, Euan McKay. McCullagh’s two best times in Qualifying were so close that he’d start from the inside of Row 7 in both races.
Albeit cloudy, the Scottish weather continued to be kind as race day dawned on Sunday (14 August) and a huge crowd of spectators arrived at Knockhill. McCullagh made a good rolling start as Round 11 of the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB began. As 20 911 GT3 Cup cars thundered around the tight and twisty 1.27 mile rollercoaster track, John was pushing hard to open up a gap between himself and Justin Sherwood, but in doing so spun exiting Taylor’s Hairpin. That small mistake cost McCullagh any chance of a Pro-Am1 podium, as he recovered well to take the chequered flag in 5th.
McCullagh made an excellent standing start in Round 12 and overtook Sean Hudspeth off the line, although Sherwood managed to overtake them both on the sprint to Duffus Dip. McCullagh and Hudspeth collided at Turn 3, although both continued without damage – until the latter pulled out of the race with a clutch problem. This let McCullagh press on hard and finish 4th, having closed the gap to just 2.562s behind Sherwood.
John McCullagh said: “I really enjoyed the Porsche Carrera Cup GB meeting at Knockhill. It’s a great circuit to race on, the big crowd was very enthusiastic and we really enjoyed the Scottish hospitality – even the weather behaved itself, allowing us to run on slick tyres the entire weekend.
“I made two good starts, enjoyed some good battles and came away with two points-scoring results, which has moved me up to second on the Pro-Am1 standings, so I’m quite happy with that. In the one hundred and twenty laps we did around Knockhill I only made one mistake, when I spun on the exit of the Hairpin in the first race, so it was a strong and consistent performance. My pace was good throughout and it was a very positive race weekend.
“Next up is Silverstone. That’s another circuit I like and have always gone well at – and I’ll certainly be aiming to get back onto the podium when we race there next month.”