Porsche GB 2016 / 2017 Scholar Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing) reclaimed the lead of the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship after winning round eight and taking second place in round nine. Victorious in the second race was Dino Zamparelli, his first win of 2017 and the first for JTR in Carrera Cup GB.
As a result, Dan Cammish drops to third after missing the weekend due to a clashing round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, in which the double Carrera Cup GB champion is running third.
In Pro-Am1, championship leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) shared a win and second with Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing), leaving the gap between the pair at a slender three points. Graeme Mundy (Team Parker Racing) claimed another podium to keep in touch in third, while returning category race winner John McCullagh (Redline Racing) kicked off his season with a podium.
Pro-Am2 provided some of the closest racing all season. Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) had his hopes of taking the championship lead dashed when he failed to finish in round eight, but a win in round nine leaves him second, eight points adrift of Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) who leads. Closing to within one point of Kyle-Henney for third is Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing), two podium finishes moving him into contention.
As the threat of rain clouds passed, Eastwood led the grid around a patchily damp circuit to form up for the first revised rolling start procedure since rounds five and six at Oulton Park. The start was clean and Eastwood led away, Zamparelli’s hopes of a run around the outside of the first corner thwarted by a fast-starting Lewis Plato (JTR). Catapulting away, Plato passed team mate Tio Ellinas before momentarily nosing ahead of Zamparelli into Montreal.
Zamparelli fought back to settle into second with Plato third, just ahead of Ellinas. Behind, Euan McKay (Redline Racing) got the better of Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing) after some confusion as the lights went green, while brother Dan McKay (Redline Racing) passed Scott Malvern (Redline Racing), the super-sub making his first Porsche Carrera Cup GB start.
The top six positions would remain this way for the duration of the 14 lap race, each trading tenths in a tactical battle that saw Zamparelli less than a second behind Eastwood at the flag and take fastest lap on his penultimate tour.
Over the closing laps Plato came under pressure from Ellinas, but was able to hold on for his fourth podium finish of the season. The remaining battle in the Pro category was between Dan McKay and Malvern, eventually decided in Malvern’s favour on lap 11 after a small mistake by McKay on the exit of Bomb Hole.
In Pro-Am1, Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) surged into the category lead from the off, maintaining a furious pace to claim his fourth win of the season and ninth overall. Continuing his run of consistent finishes, category leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) kept out of trouble for second ahead of the returning John McCullagh (Redline Racing), who claimed an impressive podium finish in his first race of the season.
Graeme Mundy (Team Parker Racing) made contact with the barriers coming into Wilson for the first time, putting him out of the race on the spot and bringing out the safety car while his car was recovered.
In a separate incident on the same lap, Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) surrendered his lead of the Pro-Am2 category when he ran off the circuit, allowing David Fairbrother (Slidesports) to take charge of a battle that was to be the closest and longest of the race. Kyle-Henney fought back to work his way into third, but put himself out of contention terminally after running wide on lap seven and ending up in the barriers after making a move on Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) around the outside of Brundle.
Never more than two seconds apart, Fairbrother, Jennings and Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) were left to entertain with a hard but fair race to the flag. When Jennings spun on the exit of Bomb Hole during his final lap, Fairbrother was unchallenged for his first win and second podium of the season. Dockerill claimed second and Rupert Martin (Team Parker Racing) third. Jennings recovered to take fourth and fastest lap, an important result in his battle with Kyle-Henney for the category championship.
A standing start saw Eastwood make a perfect launch from pole position, Zamparelli slot into second and a two-corner battle ensue between Plato and Ellinas. Despite Plato making a strong attempt to pass his team mate, ultimately a successful defence from Ellinas left the Cypriot driver in third and Plato shuffled behind Oliphant at Wilson.
As the frontrunners settled into their places, Zamparelli set after Eastwood, initially pegging the gap then easing towards the leader. Behind, Oliphant was pushing hard to put Ellinas under pressure, Oliphant the fastest driver on circuit at that point in the race.
However, by lap four the focus was back on Zamparelli as he posted fastest lap after fastest lap in his pursuit of Eastwood, reducing the gap to under one second. From lap eight the pair were nose to tail, trading tenths as Zamparelli looked for an opportunity. This came on the penultimate lap, when Eastwood momentarily locked his rear wheels braking into Wilson, running wide of the apex and offering Zamparelli a gap he was quick to capitalise on. Diving into the lead, Zamparelli crossed the finish line with an advantage of one second over Eastwood. Hunting down the pair, Ellinas took fastest lap on lap nine, and almost second as Eastwood recovered, but still earned his best result of the season in third and the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award.
Oliphant maintained fourth, but fifth was only decided on lap 13 when Plato lost out in a wheel-to-wheel battle with Malvern that had raged the whole race. Plato spun to the outside of Agostini after racing contact to finish an eventual ninth, while Malvern claimed an impressive fifth in only his second Porsche Carrera Cup GB race.
In Pro-Am1, Sherwood converted pole position into his second win of the season, Alex Martin giving chase but never able to get close enough to mount a challenge. Mundy added a third podium to his tally after keeping a charging McCullagh at bay over the final stages.
Pro-Am2 once again provided spectacularly close racing, Kyle-Henney shadowing Jennings over the opening laps before making amends for his race one mistake with a successful move into Brundle for the lead. While Kyle-Henney stretched away up front, Jennings, Dockerill and Fairbrother were vying for position just tenths apart.
On lap six Fairbrother made a pass on Dockerill for third, then took Jennings for second in the final stages. Dockerill followed him through to take his second podium of the weekend and close up the championship battle even further.
Both Eastwood and Zamparelli made the best of a weekend when they had to deliver maximum points, taking 38 apiece from a maximum of 40 available. Zamparelli’s win was not only his first in 2017, but the first for JTR in sportscar racing after making the decision late in 2016 to convert from single-seaters. This secured the squad their first ‘Team of the Weekend’ award.
Against the 38 points lost, Cammish is able to drop one score under the 2017 regulations. As things stand, when the double champion returns for rounds 10 and 11 at Knockhill on 12 and 13 August, he will be fighting back from a 15-point deficit in his quest for a record third Carrera Cup GB title. Follow the battle at @CarreraCupGB on Twitter and @carreracupgb on Instagram.
Charlie Eastwood Redline Racing 147
Dino Zamparelli JTR 136
Dan Cammish Redline Racing 132
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 70
Alex Martin Team Parker Racing 67
Graeme Mundy Team Parker Racing 48
Shamus Jennings G-Cat Racing 68
Peter Kyle-Henney IN2 Racing 60
Iain Dockerill Asset Advantage Racing 59