UK: Ryan Hooker Porsche 924 season finale summary

Lodge Sports Porsche 924 Championship, United Kingdom Ryan Hooker: Celebrates Success at the season finale Ryan Hooker (Essex) had plenty to celebrate at the final round of the Porsche 924 Championship held at Donington Park on Saturday 23rd ...

Lodge Sports Porsche 924 Championship, United Kingdom
Ryan Hooker: Celebrates Success at the season finale

Ryan Hooker (Essex) had plenty to celebrate at the final round of the Porsche 924 Championship held at Donington Park on Saturday 23rd October. Celebrating his 25th birthday on the same day, Ryan entered the event with the opportunity to claim an amazing season feat - taking top points from every round of the series he has entered this year.

Ryan came to the last race of the season having only competed in eight of the 14 round championship, due to his commitments in the prestigious British GT Championship this year. Having won the Porsche 924 championship in 2002, he has continued to support the series which has given him such a strong grounding enabling him to go forward as one of the most promising young drivers within sportscar racing.

The Donington Park race day soon proved to be as much a battle against the elements as against one another. Qualifying took place just after noon and despite intermittent showers a dry line had formed.

"The track was still a bit green in places" said Ryan, "so I ran on higher tyre pressures than normal. I suffered poor grip on the left hand side but was able to put in some solid laps in the twenty minute session." Ryan qualified in second place, 0.467seconds behind pole sitter, Steven Cheetham.

As the packed afternoon racecard started, Ryan had just over three hours to prepare for the race and it soon became evident that this would be their first full wet race of the season. The Leicestershire circuit was deluged as heavy rain fell without break. As the track commentator noted, at points the circuit had nothing short of water splashes running across it.

"As I sat in the car ready to go to the grid the windows just steamed up as quick as I could wipe them!" Ryan reported back. "The rain continued to fall and I wondered whether or not the day would be cancelled."

The racers were given two 'green flag' laps to drive the circuit and acclimatise themselves in the atrocious conditions before taking their place on the starting grid. As the lights went out, Ryan made a good start and went into the lead at the first corner.

As the cars made their way down the famous Donington Craner Curves and into Hollywood, Ryan was the first to find out just how treacherous the conditions were.

"I went down a gear, when I went to brake there was no braeks, the track was just awash with water and I was a passenger as I went straight on and into the gravel" But Ryan wasn't alone as the following three cars made copycat journeys!

But the birthday boy's luck was in. The race was red flagged, the four stricken cars were all rescued with none suffering serious damage or ill effect, and the decision was taken to restart the race, with the original grid placings taking effect.

"I couldn't believe I was going to get a second chance" said Ryan who lined up on the grid in second once more.

Following a further sighting lap the race was go and Ryan and Steven had a hammer and tongs battle into the first corner, Redgate, with Ryan taking the lead. As everyone took an even more cautious route down the Craner Curves, Ryan was able to eke out a healthy lead.

"I honestly enjoyed myself out there" Ryan reported back. "The visibility was appalling and I could just see the haze from lights behind me through the rain and spray. But it was really good despite the invisible puddles and aquaplaning!"

With the race reduced to ten minutes, only six laps were possible and Ryan took the race win by almost fourteen seconds to retain his 100% points record for the year.

With his 2005 British GT plans to be confirmed shortly, Ryan remains dedicated to supporting the Porsche 924 series and is hoping that he will be able to compete at many rounds next season and encourage other would be racers to follow suit.

-rhr-

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Ryan Hooker , Craner Curves