Charlie Eastwood extended his run of podiums in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB to four in a row, with another pair of second place finishes on his first visit to Knockhill.
Following his best weekend in a Porsche to date at Snetterton, the 21-year-old Porsche scholar arrived in Scotland riding the crest of a wave and eager to maintain his good form on the busy 1.3 mile circuit.
With all 20 cars completing sub-1 minute laptimes, finding clear track in qualifying would be a real challenge, but Eastwood clearly hadn’t read the script. Showing that a lack of circuit knowledge was no hindrance, he pumped in four times each within a few hundredths of each other to put himself on the front row for both races.
“We knew that qualifying is fairly crucial at most tracks, but especially around here. We struggled a bit on Friday but on Saturday we put a couple of really good laps together to get ourselves onto the front row and give us a chance to try and go for the win”
From his outside grid slot, the Northern Irishman tucked into second behind Redline Racing team-mate Dan Cammish at the start of race one before setting off in pursuit. Their laptimes were very close – Eastwood only 0.012 away from taking a second fastest lap of the season – but with only one line through the stretch from Scotsman over the blind, uphill chicane, it was difficult to follow Cammish through the traffic and he would have to settle for second, 2.1 seconds in arrears. The second 31-lap encounter unfolded in much a similar fashion, as Eastwood again made a good start, before settling into second place. The gap between the two leaders ebbed and flowed throughout the race due to the traffic, but all the while Eastwood was able to keep himself out of the clutches of the chasing Tom Sharp.
“I tried a move around the outside, especially in the first one, but he covered it well and really used all the exit to give me no room. Because it’s such a small track, I knew that the traffic was going to play it’s part but it does average out by the end – you gain a little bit and you lose a little bit. It was quite a lonely race for us, unfortunately it wasn’t a lonely race out front but in second place, but all in all, it was another good haul of points. These four second places show we can be consistent and fast, so hopefully we can keep that going for the rest of the year.”
His fourth P2 finish in succession means Eastwood has now closed to within 16 points of second in the overall standings, while another pair of rookie class wins – Eastwood’s ninth and tenth of the year – have consolidated his margin over nearest rival Lewis Plato. With two rounds to go, the Northern Irishman is now well on course to meet the targets he set himself at the start of the season.
“This year we were really focused on winning the rookie championship and I think we’ve dominated that quite well. Our goal was just to be pushing for podiums, but here and at Snetterton, we’ve really been able to push Dan hard for the win, which shows we’re getting closer and closer. We’re closing in on Dino Zamparelli a lot now and if we can finish the year with the rookie championship and second overall, we can’t ask for much more.”