Come from behind Andrew stars in wild Porsche opener

Donington Park may have proven a tough opening Porsche Carrera Cup GB weekend, but Cape Town youngster and Cup debutant Andrew Rackstraw made best of the tough conditions to emerge as top rookie and even leave with pole position for the next race weekend.

Andrew knew that the weekend would be a challenge with so many cars on the South England racetrack’s shorter National layout. That became an even tougher prospect when the best of Blighty weather not only caused chaos, but also contributed to continuously changing track conditions through the weekend. Qualifying proved precisely as tough as he’d anticipated, but what transpired to be the only race of the weekend went very well as Rackstraw charged from 14th to fifth and winning rookie.

“Donington was a bit of a baptism of fire,” Andrew explains. “I had to fight back in the race, so I’m happy to have made up most of what we could. “It’s a pity about quali, but we knew all along that it would be difficult to get a clean lap in and still, we really struggled. We only have a two lap envelope to get the best out of these tyres when they are fresh and new, before they degrade. As luck would have it, I was compromised by slower drivers on both those laps and I was left to do the flyer on off-peak rubber.

“Then Race 2 was canned because of the rain that prevented any racing before two on Sunday afternoon. So, I lined up fourteenth on the grid, albeit just three-tenths off a pole position we knew we had the pace to challenge for. We knew that it was a case of damage control, keeping out of trouble, and avoiding crashes at all costs, so I drove as smart as I know how, while still pushing as hard as I could.

“It was a bit of a blur to be honest! I made nine passes en route, but I also had a bit of trouble when a car ahead shed its spoiler lip, which clattered into my car, broke the left headlamp, and damaged the lip below. That cost a couple of points of downforce and affected the car’s balance through the righthand bends. But it never prevented me from fighting up to fifth on the road and the best rookie prize in my debut Porsche Carrera Cup GB race weekend, so job done!”

The canned second race will now be postponed to a third heat at the second round Brands Hatch races next up on 11-12 May, for which Andrew will start on pole position. “We draw the second race grid top six from a hat and I pulled number one!” Andrew grinned. “The weekend came to me to the extent that I go to Brands as the leading rookie and knowing that I am on pole for one of the races there, which is really is awesome!”