Intense Porsche Carrera Cup GB qualifying session in prospect as under a second separates top twelve in practice

The two Friday practice sessions that marked the start of the first race weekend of 2017 built to a crescendo that saw five drivers post fastest laps under the record of 46.541 set in 2015. Leading the charge were the top three of 2016: Dino Zamparelli (JTR), Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) and Porsche GB 2016/2017 Scholar Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing).

Looking most likely to threaten the established order was Tio Ellinas (JTR), the single seater convert wasting no time in adapting to the rear-engined 911 GT3 Cup. On average, the championship newcomers predictably found more time between the two sessions that their more experienced competitors (0.5s against 0.35s). With times so close, even the smallest margins will make a significant difference come the end of a an already unpredictable qualifying session that will also see teams adopting varying strategies to try and harness an advantage from the increased 2017 tyre allocation.

Session 1 – 09.00 to 09.45
Track temperature: 14.4 degrees
· Lewis Plato (JTR) sets the early Pro pace, first to break under the 47s mark
· Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) sets the early Pro-Am1 pace with Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) doing the same in Pro-Am2
· Redline Racing’s Dan Cammish and Charlie Eastwood join Plato with sub-47s lap times quickly followed by Tom Oliphant
· Eastwood fastest but less than a quarter of a second separates the quartet
· Euan McKay (Redline Racing) moves up to P2, an impressive debut run in the Pro category for the 2016 Pro-Am1 champion
· Alex Martin still holds the advantage in Pro-Am1 at the half-way point, but Greg Caton (G-Cat Racing) is closing in
· Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) noses ahead of Kyle-Henney in Pro-Am2
· Cammish goes ahead of Eastwood by 0.02s but loses top spot almost immediately to Plato by 0.016s
· Cammish goes fastest on a 46.631 which remains the fastest time of the session – 0.109 ahead of Plato, 0.145 ahead of Eastwood and 0.237 ahead of Euan McKay
· A loose wheel brings out the red flag with 14 minutes to go
· 10 minutes of green remaining and Tio Ellinas (JTR) moves himself up into fifth, the sports car debutant posting a string of personal bests to finish just 0.260 away
· Also posting personal bests on their last lap, Caton ends fastest in Pro-Am1, 0.021s ahead of Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing)
· In Pro-Am2, Kyle-Henney moves back ahead of Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) to head the category at the flag

Session 2 – 12.20 to 13.05
Track temperature: 20.0 degrees
· Faster session, with higher track temperature and more rubber on track
· Plato again first into the 46s posting a 46.823 then a 46.602, team mate Zamparelli is just 0.092s behind
· Caton sets early Pro-Am1 pace ahead of Sherwood, while Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) displaces Kyle-Henney at the head of Pro-Am2
· At the mid-point Zamparelli posts what remains the fastest time of the session, a 46.226, with team mates Ellinas and Plato just behind for a JTR 1-2-3
· Kyle-Henney retakes the lead in Pro-Am2, with a storming 47.221 which takes him less than a second away from Zamparelli’s time
· With 15 minutes to go, the times are closing and Cammish moves to within 0.081s of Zamparelli while Eastwood slots into third, just 0.145s adrift, positions they maintain to the flag
· Alex Martin takes charge of Pro-Am1 ahead of Caton
· Drivers visually pushing the limits harder and harder with 10 minutes to go, a car off at Clearways brings out the reds
· By the time the session is green with 5 minutes to go, track temperature has dropped and only Ellinas improves with a personal best putting him fourth
· For the second session in a row, Caton puts in a personal best on his last lap to edge Alex Martin into second in Pro-Am1 by 0.091s
· Kyle-Henney maintains a comfortable advantage over Shamus Jennings and Dockerill in Pro-Am2

Qualifying for rounds one and two will take place tomorrow between 12.05 and 12.35, with drivers’ first and second fastest laps setting the grid for race one and two respectively. Follow the battle at @CarreraCupGB on Twitter and @carreracupgb on Instagram.

Source. Porsche

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