Both of Friday’s Carrera Cup GB practice sessions at Oulton Park saw drivers in all three categories separated by the smallest of margins. The cars set a breathtaking pace around Oulton Park’s fast and flowing 2.26-mile Island Circuit, some lapping more than half a second faster than the official lap record set by Michael Meadows in 2015 (1:22.847). Lewis Plato (JTR) topped the time sheet in the morning session, while Championship leader Dino Zamparelli (Redline Racing) was quickest in the afternoon as all of the drivers sought to assert their authority on the weekend.
Just half a second covered the top four in Practice 1, a hard-charging Tom Wrigley (JTR) ended the session 0.194s behind Plato while Zamparelli finished the morning in P3 with title rival Tio Ellinas (Slidesports Engineering) directly behind in P4. However, the margins were closer still in the afternoon’s fast and frantic session which saw positions swapping in quick succession. In the combined classifications only 0.448s covers the top six Pro drivers, which also includes 17-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) and Rookie George Gamble (Amigos Team Parker).
In the Pro-Am category an equally enthralling battle began to take shape. Points leader Jamie Orton (JTR) topped both Friday sessions but Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance), Rory Collingbourne (Welch Motorsport) and Seb Perez (Amigos Team Parker) were pushing hard and keeping him in sight. At the end of Practice 2 just a few tenths of a second covered all four drivers in the combined times establishing an exciting category tussle going into tomorrow’s qualifying session.
One of the tightest battles of the season so far looks even closer at Oulton Park – the fight for Am category honours. Four drivers were almost inseparable on the timing screens throughout both Practice sessions – Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing), Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing), Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) and Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) each set very similar lap times. Just 0.093s split Jennings, Kyle-Henney, and Mangion in FP1, with 0.019s separating Jennings, Kyle-Henney, and Dockerill in FP2 making it difficult to predict a winner.
Session 1 – 09:50 to 10:35
Track temperature: 20.0 degrees
Will Bratt (IN2 Racing) is the first Pro runner on track, followed by Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance) in Pro-Am, and Am category championship leader Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing)
Two Pro runners are experiencing issues with timing transponders – Dino Zamparelli (Redline Racing) and Tom Wrigley (JTR)
George Gamble (Amigos Team Parker) is the early pacesetter as the drivers gradually work their way up to recording representative lap times
In Pro-Am Vaughan delivers an early marker for his category rivals, Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) does the same in Am
With 30 minutes of the session remaining Tio Ellinas (Slidesports Engineering) trades times with Gamble at the top of the time sheet
Jamie Orton (JTR) is one of the first drivers to lap in 1:23s, he now heads Vaughan and Seb Perez (Amigos Team Parker) in Pro-Am
Lewis Plato (JTR) sets a 1:22.979 to move into P1 overall ahead of Ellinas and 17-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR)
In Pro-Am Kyle-Henney leads Mangion and Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing)
With 25 minutes remaining the session is red flagged due to an incident involving a stranded vehicle, action restarts with 19 minutes to go
Retrospective times for Wrigley and Zamparelli appear on the timing screens, Wrigley sits P2 overall 0.058 behind Plato, Zamparelli is P3 0.080 behind
Am runner David Fairbrother (Slidesports Engineering) improves his time, Rory Collingbourne (Welch Motorsport) jumps Perez for P3 in Pro-Am
In the dying moments Jennings pips Kyle-Henney to the fastest time in Am by 0.035 seconds – the top three Am runners are separated by just 0.093
Pro: Plato, Wrigley (+0.194), Zamparelli (+0.274)
Pro-Am: Orton, Vaughan (+0.525), Collingbourne (+0.672)
Am: Jennings, Kyle-Henney, (+0.035), Mangion (+0.093)
Session 2 – 13:10 to 13:55
Track temperature: 23.9 degrees
First drivers out in each category are Pro: Tom Wrigley (JTR), Pro-Am: Rory Collingbourne (Welch Motorsport), Am: Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing)
Dino Zamparelli (Redline Racing) leads Pro early on, Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance) heads Pro-Am, Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) Am
Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing) moves ahead of Mangion in Am, a close four-way battle with Dockerill, Mangion, Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) and Jennings ensues
In Pro-Am Jamie Orton (JTR) leads Vaughan and Collingbourne
Dan Harper (JTR) joins the battle at the top of the time sheet going P2 0.036s behind Zamparelli, Wrigley sits 0.239 further back in P3 overall
With 15 minutes of the session remaining, Wrigley is fastest 0.045s ahead of Zamparelli, who in turn is 0.036s faster than Harper in P3
Lewis Plato (JTR) sets his first representative time of the session with eight minutes left on the clock – he moves into P3 0.013s behind Zamparelli
Seb Perez (Amigos Team Parker) moves into P3 in Pro-Am 0.014s behind Collingbourne in P2
The top four Pro category drivers: Wrigley, Zamparelli, Plato and Harper are covered by just 0.081s. In Pro-Am just 0.024s covers Collingbourne, Perez and Vaughan. In Am 0.019s separates Jennings, Kyle-Henney and Dockerill during the closing stages of the session
In the final moments of FP2 Zamparelli moves into P1 overall and Tio Ellinas (Slidesports Engineering) leaps into P2 displacing Wrigley
Pro: Zamparelli, Ellinas (+0.221), Wrigley (+0.252)
Pro-Am: Orton, Collingbourne (+0.226), Perez (+0.240)
Am: Jennings, Kyle-Henney, (+0.006), Dockerill (+0.019)
Qualifying for round seven will take place tomorrow between 13:05 and 13:35, with drivers fighting for the two points awarded in 2018 for the fastest time posted in each category over the course of the session. Follow the battle on Twitter via @CarreraCupGB.