Plant kicks off with maiden win

Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2012'Brands Hatch'Richard Plant (GBR) Team Parker Racing'31st March 2012'Images copyright Malcolm Griffiths'Contact:07768 230706'
Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2012'Brands Hatch'Richard Plant (GBR) Team Parker Racing'31st March 2012'Images copyright Malcolm Griffiths'Contact:07768 230706'

Richard Plant kicked off his second season of racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB by claiming a fantastic maiden victory in the opening race at Brands Hatch.

He then went on to produce a spirited fight back to finish seventh in race two after an early race penalty left him at the back of the field.

Starting from the front row of the grid for the first time in his Carrera Cup career, Plant, 22, hounded pole-sitter Michael Meadows throughout the opening 34-lap contest and eventually claimed the win when his rival was handed a five second penalty for exceeding the track limits.

Plant, from Troway, made a decent getaway and tucked in behind Meadows on the run down to Paddock Hill Bend for the first time.

Meadows then ran wide at Druids Hairpin and Plant was briefly able to haul himself alongside last year’s series runner-up, before a safety car period halted his challenge.

Meadows enjoyed some valuable breathing space at the restart, but Plant reeled him back in over the next phase of the race, while pulling away from third placed Jonas Gelzinis in the process.

The battle for fourth between Plant’s Team Parker Racing team-mates Daniel Lloyd and Sam Tordoff took a dramatic twist on lap ten when the duo ran nose to tail across the start/finish line.

The battle ended seconds later when Lloyd went off at the entrance to Paddock Hill, as a puncture at high speed fired him off and into the barrier.

Plant mounted relentless pressure in the latter stages of the race with the gap rarely exceeding half a second.

Meadows then received a warning after running wide on a number of occasions at Graham Hill Bend and when he did it again with five laps remaining, race stewards were left with little choice but to hand him a five-second penalty.

The decision left Plant in the lead and nearly two seconds clear of Gelzinis in second, with his only task to be consistent for the final four laps. The Multiplex-backed racer did exactly that and crossed the line for his first ever Carrera Cup GB victory, which was celebrated wildly on the pit wall by his Team Parker Racing squad.

Unfortunately for Richard, he endured an altogether different experience during Sunday’s race when the race stewards handed him a drive through penalty for jumping the start. From a promising third on the grid, he found himself at the back of the field after just five laps following the penalty.

Undeterred by the setback, Plant went on the attack and immediately passed a number of cars ahead of him; along with setting the fastest lap of the race on lap ten.

Rory Butcher produced the most vigorous defence in twelfth place, as he blocked Plant’s passing attempts on several occasions.

The pressure eventually paid off however, as Derbyshire-driver Plant forced Butcher into a mistake on the exit of Clearways.

By the time the chequered flag waved at the end of the 34-laps of running, Plant had fought his way back up to seventh position – just over half a second behind sixth placed Chris Dymond.

He also earned a valuable extra point for setting the fastest lap of the race, after being the only driver to lap the Brands Hatch indy circuit inside the 36-second bracket.

Overall Plant was able to showcase his armory of skills over the weekend, during two races under very different circumstances, and will always remember scoring his maiden Carrera Cup win and fastest lap.