CLUTCH WOES ENDS GRIFFIN'S PORSCHE CHARGE Matt Griffin's debut appearance in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB races was thwarted when his clutch broke after seven laps of the final round of the series at Thruxton on Sunday. The Team RPM British GT...
CLUTCH WOES ENDS GRIFFIN'S PORSCHE CHARGE
Matt Griffin's debut appearance in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB races was thwarted when his clutch broke after seven laps of the final round of the series at Thruxton on Sunday. The Team RPM British GT driver was chasing third place in the day's second race when his clutch went leaving the Cork-born racer struggling to change gear.
"It was such a struggle trying to change gear," he stated. "I had to completely change my driving style and it took a while to get that sorted and then just as I'd managed to find a way round the problem, I ran off onto the grass and damaged the splitter and then the back of the car got damaged and it ended up working like a parachute!"
"It was fun though, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and I'd like to say a massive thank you to Peter Bamford and Robin Mortimer for putting the deal together."
Taking to the track for the first time in Saturday's 30 minute qualifying session, Cambridge-domiciled Griffin adapted well to the new car and new Michelin tyres to post the eighth quickest time ahead of race one. "Qualifying was the first time I even got to sit in the car so I was quite happy to post a respectable time straight off. The tyres are fantastic, they're very forgiving although you need to really push hard to get the most out them. But once you've done that, you can really push on and they let you get away with all sorts!"
Come race one, the 2003 British GT Cup Champion, making his first standing start since 2002, was able to get off the line cleanly gaining a place off the line. By lap seven he'd moved into sixth ahead of Nigel Rice and four laps later passed Jonny Kane for fifth which he held to the flag. "Race one was good, finishing fifth meant I would start fifth for race two and I was confident of being able to take a podium, which I'd have been very happy with. The car was great to drive, I love the Porsche anyway and around Thruxton it was just such a great experience."
Another good getaway at the start of race two looked set to make the podium dream a reality, but before the cars even entered the first corner, the clutch slipped costing Matt valuable seconds and losing him several places. A storming charge though saw him soon make his was through the field, up into fourth and pushing third placed and eventual champion James Sutton.
However his charge came to nothing on lap seven when the clutch eventually let go dropping Matt down the order, although he held on gamely to cross the line sixth. There was some consolation in twice posting the race's fourth quickest lap.
"I really thought I had a good chance of a podium finish in the second race. I'd managed to get up onto the tail of James Sutton and was looking to make a move to pass him when the clutch just went flat to the floor. I think I could have got him, he only needed to finish fourth to clinch the title so I don't think he'd have made it difficult to keep me behind and I was very obviously quicker than him up to that point as I'd closed the gap."
Despite his problem in race two, Matt was delighted with the experience of racing again on the TOCA package, his first time since racing in Formula Renault four years ago, and would relish a return to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB in the future. "It really was a great experience. The car is good, the driving standards were very high and the racing was hard, but very clean. The whole atmosphere in the paddock is fantastic and to be racing in front of 40,000 people is a real joy and adds to the whole excitement of the event."
Matt will be soon be announcing his exciting plans for racing International GT's in 2008, but has not ruled out the option of driving more races in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB next season.