Chris DymondParr Business Partner Club backed driver Chris Dymond made a strong return to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB in rounds 5&6 of the championship at Thruxton, Hampshire over the weekend (28th &29th April).

Dymond driving for the Parr Motorsport team made his intentions known from the start. With no Friday testing immediately prior to the weekend, the 30 minute qualifying on Saturday afternoon was the drivers first time on track.

With a wet and greasy but drying track, conditions were difficult for all, initially opting for wets, Dymond after only a handful of laps pitted.

“The circuit was drying quite fast with all the cars on wets and the strong wind, the wets were ruined, but it wasn’t quite dry enough to try slicks, so we waited.”

Dymond sat for nearly fifteen minutes whilst track conditions improved, then with just under 6 minutes to go Paul Robe (Parr team owner) gave the call and Dymond was sent out.

“Whilst sat there I honestly wondered if this was the right call as spits of rain were still appearing on my screen. But full credit to Paul (Robe) he called it perfectly, I went out knowing I’d only have one maybe two laps to get the tyres up to temperature and set the time, the complex was still pretty wet but mostly dry or big dry patches everywhere else, my favourite track conditions, I worked the tyres hard and the lap came together. It was a bit of a shame that my second flying lap was cut with a yellow flag but I’m very pleased with the performance!”

Dymond’s single lap on the slicks placed him 4th on the grid for Sundays 1st race, round 5 of the championship. Sunday morning saw a significant change in weather, as forecasts proved to be correct. Torrential rain and strong winds flooded and rocked the Hampshire circuit.

Due the circuit having significant amounts of standing water around its entire length, round 5 of the championship was started single file under the safety car giving the drivers the chance to see the state of the circuit before they tackled it at full racing speeds.
Starting 4th Dymond made a strong start holding position through the opening 3 laps, before being passed and moving to 6th having damaged his front splitter on lap 5.

“I made a good start and was right on the tail of the top 3, visibility was appalling, there was so much water and the wind caused the spray kicked up by the cars to basically form a wall of water, at times it was pretty touch and go. I think I lost my splitter when I was right up behind Ben (Barker) early on going into the chicane, I literally couldn’t see a thing, he was maybe 1 car length ahead I knew by instinct the chicane was close so I pulled right and hit the brakes but was about 3 or 4 car lengths shy of where I thought I was and slowed a bit too much so when I hit the kerb it damaged the splitter causing a lot of under steer till the end of the race”
Dymond wasn’t alone in losing his front splitter both Dan Lloyd (running 5th) and the race leader at the time Richard Plant had lost their splitters in the same way.

“There were people’s splitters littering the circuit at the chicane and complex, and I could see I was starting to catch both Dan (Lloyd) and Richard Plant with about 10 laps to go, I was catching quite fast and got to Dan’s (Lloyd) bumper at the complex but the rain was coming down hard again and out the back of the circuit I just couldn’t see, so as a result couldn’t try for a move!”

As the race moved into its final stages the torrential rain had returned and even though the cars were running on wet tyres with full wet setups aquaplaning was becoming more frequent as the standing water built up once more.

On the final lap Dymond was holding sixth place having dropped back slightly from Lloyd due to visibility.

“I came through turn one and the car kicked out; because it was so wet I couldn’t really tell if it was a puncture from all the debris or the standing water causing aquaplaning, I kept on it and as I came out the complex everything was fine but as I turned into the left hander at Noble the car kicked once and then again it happened so fast it has to have been standing water before I knew it I was on the grass, luckily I gathered it up and rejoined but by then 2 cars had slipped by.”

Dymond recovered to cross the line in 7th place after the car of Glen Geddie was given a time penalty for cutting the chicane.

“That was a tough race, throughout visibility was dire and at the end when the standing water came back the track was very unpredictable, I’m pleased though it was my first time driving this car in the wet and took a few laps to figure out but the pace was good once I’d worked it out and even with the broken splitter I could catch cars or pull away from cars with splitters intact. There’s a chance the 2nd race will be dry so I’m looking forward to that, we showed yesterday in qualifying we can run in the top 4 if the track is dry but I guess we’ll have to see what the weather does.”

For round 6 of the championship later in the afternoon, the sky had cleared and the track was drying, presenting teams with a difficult decision of what tyres to run!?

Dymond opted for slicks as did the whole of field.

“It was really touch and go with what tyres to use, it looked like it did before qualifying yesterday and from that we knew wets wouldn’t last the distance so we choose slicks.”

The race was started from a normal standing start and with the track wet several cars spun the rear tyres, Dymond made a good start and immediately picked up several positions from his 9th starting spot.

“I made a good start and jumped a few places on the opening lap, the track was definitely not dry but we were all banking on it drying quickly, everyone was pretty cautious and struggling to find grip. I’d driven clean round the outside of several cars and found myself trying to do the same to Ben (Barker).”

Dymond was running in 7th place and applying pressure to those in front throughout the opening laps.

“I was really able to capitalise on people being quite tentative, especially as out the back of the circuit the rain started to fall again.”
With the rain starting to fall again just as in race 1 the circuit began to be littered with debris as the track conditions became perilously slippery with all the cars still running on slick tyres.

“We’d all managed to just about get some temperature into our tyres when the rain came down, it was so slippery all of a sudden at the chicane the road was covered in splitters I had no choice but to drive over them and doing that took mine off.”

Dymond was losing about 2/3 seconds a lap to the cars in front once he lost the splitter and that allowed cars behind to close the gap too.
As the race progressed the rain began to fall harder but at times would stop completely. During the final ten laps the rain was constant and Dymond was battling hard with Richard Plant.

“Every lap was different it was pretty hairy at times, Richard (Plant) caught me pretty quick once I lost the front especially through the fast stuff but seemed to struggle getting the power down so I could keep him behind but all the way it was really close, as we went on to the final lap he was right there, as we approached the chicane I was still ahead but on the exit I guess it was a bit wetter than before I got back to the throttle and the rear wheels just lit up it was a real drag race to the line as we crossed the line we were neck and neck I couldn’t tell if he was ahead or not it was so close.”

Dymond lost out to Plant by 0.010 of a second as the pair crossed the line to finish 9th.

“I thought the first race was hard work, but that was unreal! This circuit with slicks in the rain, driving these cars was definitely a challenge to say the least! But a real testament to the level of driver there is in this series, Richard (Plant) and I battled hard lap after lap but never once touched even though we were sliding all over the place!”

“It’s been a good weekend, I’ve shown to everyone the pace we’re capable of now, it’s a very encouraging platform to build strongly off now for the rest of year. Looking forward to Oulton Park in 6 weeks time now!”

Rounds 7 & 8 of the Porsche Carrera cup GB will take place at the historic Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire over the weekend of June 9th and 10th
You can follow Chris via Twitter and Facebook.
Twitter: @C_Dymondracing
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Dymond/97560217811

Photo by Tom Dymond.