Donington Double Victory for Richard Morris
Richard Morris’ 2023 European Sports Prototype Cup campaign driving for Revolution Race Cars continued with two races at Donington Park on 18th June – his second ‘home’ event of two this season, following on from his visit to the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit the previous month. Richard came into the event on the back of 3 podiums from 4 races so far this year, including a win in Barcelona. Again, as at Silverstone, the collaboration between the European Sports Prototype Cup and the domestic Zeo Prototypes series ensured that there was a healthy and exciting grid of prototypes for the double-header event.
The weather played its part in adding drama to the day. As the cars were released onto the circuit for qualifying, rain was beginning to fall. While it wasn’t sufficiently wet to force the cars off the slick tyres they all started the session on, it was certainly more than a bit damp! As predicted, the rain did stop only a couple of laps into the session, but the track was only gradually improving.
In the early stages, Richard focused on building heat in his tyres while not taking any life or freshness out of them, knowing that the fastest times would come at the end of the session. A red flag interruption piled the pressure on, though, as the cars filed back to the pits and were only released once more with enough time for two flying laps – with the fastest and second fastest times to set the grids for races 1 and 2. Both laps had to count. Leaving the pits in the pack, Richard was able to force his way to the head of the queue on the out lap and, fortunately, was able to keep his head to put in 2 fast, clean laps which qualified him on pole for both Revolution Trophy races.
Race 1 was a relatively calm one for Richard who was able to control the race from the front in dry conditions throughout. Absorbing some modest early pressure from the sister Revolution 500SC of Joaquim Penteado, Richard was able to build a comfortable gap after the initial three laps of the race and settle into his own rhythm to take his first victory of the day.
Race 2 was far more dramatic but no less successful. Just as in qualifying the cars entered the track for the formation lap on slicks but under threatening skies and one or two drops of rain. Following a mostly dry start, the rain started to fall more heavily. Richard led but was challenged by Revolution team-mate Sir Chris Hoy until Hoy had a half-spin exiting the Melbourne Loop hairpin which gave Richard breathing space. That was short-lived, though, as the safety car was deployed mid-race, bunching the field back up. With the conditions so tricky, some cars had already opted to dive into the pits for wet tyres. Richard had opted to stay out despite the significant rain and that proved to be the right decision as the rain eased up and stopped during the safety car period.
Re-starting with Hoy and Penteado immediately behind him, also on slicks, Richard made a strong start again and was able to build a good gap over the squabbling pair. Richard was then largely unthreatened and simply managing the gap through the remainder of the race until a difficult pair of backmarkers held him up substantially, bringing Penteado back into striking distance with just a couple of laps to go. Richard was, however, once again able to deal with this threat and went on to take another win.
These 2 wins at Donington Park take Richard’s season tallies to 3 wins and 5 podiums from just 6 races and catapult him to the top of the European Sports Prototype Cup standings. Next up, Richard will be driving the Hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 13-16 July, before getting back in the Revolution together with team-mate Milan De Laet to take on the Dutch Supercar Challenge event at Zandvoort in September, and then resuming his Sports Prototype Cup campaign at Spa in October.
Celebrating a successful weekend, Richard said: “I’m so happy with the day and to have got these wins, especially at the circuit closest to where I grew up and in Pride month. Taking both wins and both pole positions, having led both races from start to finish in tricky mixed conditions, felt like a really complete performance. I was under pressure at times, especially in qualifying where I had to force my way to the front of the queue with some overtakes on the out-lap and then put in two laps which I knew would both have to count.
I’m excited for the upcoming events – driving the Hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which is a really special event to be part of, and then back with Revolution and teaming up again with Milan De Laet at Zandvoort, which is one of my absolute favourite circuits.”