Carrera Cup GB: Dramatic Season Opener
The 2018 Carrera Cup GB season got off to a flying start at Brands Hatch for Rounds 1 and 2 with new second-generation 485hp GT3 Cup cars, and a host of new and familiar names ready to do battle. Having moved from JTR to Redline Racing over the winter, GT Porsche contributor Dino Zamparelli emerged from an action-packed season-opening meeting at Brands Hatch leading the championship from Lewis Plato, but that only tells half the story.
Zamparelli grabbed pole for the first of the weekend’s two races and converted it into a dominant victory, despite heavy rain and a mounting challenge from Tio Ellinas – also with a new team for 2018, Slidesports. Also of note was rookie Dan Harper, the 17-year old from Dublin is the Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior, he showed exactly why that’s the case with a feisty performance in his debut race before clashing with former Ginetta sparing partner, fellow rookie George Gamble. Both suffered punctures, Harper’s leaving him to limp across the line in 13th.
On the podium; Zamparelli, Ellinas, Plato, came the first ‘new for 2018’ surprise designed to spice up the racing, Dino was asked to select a number between four and six from a bag of balls in order to reverse the grid positions of the top four, five, or six finishers from round one. This formed the starting grid for round two. It sounds complex but the concept is sound in practice, it ultimately saw the championship hopeful start from fifth on the grid in the second race, prompting Pro-Am runner, Jamie Orton, to pole.
The second race of each weekend now starts from a standstill, a vast improvement on the old rolling start format. On this occasion it saw Plato make the best getaway on a now dry Brands Hatch Indy, but it was rookie Gamble who came through to win, despite the chaos behind him. Two safety car periods featured in the race, as the pack slowed for the first, Am runner Fraser Robertson made contact with Peter Kyle-Henney on the outside of Clearways, this spectacularly flipped Robertson’s car into a barrel roll before it came to rest on the tyre barrier. Robertson emerged unscathed.
Under the resultant safety car the pack was headed by Plato, but now the rain came down again delivering a greasy track for the slick-shod 911s – it caught a few out. As the safety car peeled off the track Plato made a break for it up front but seemingly misjudged the amount of grip available to him and ran wide into the gravel at Clearways, rejoining in front of Zamparelli but allowing Gamble through to lead. When Iain Dockerill spun further back and was collected by Justin Sherwood, the safety car was required once more, the eventful race was subsequently red flagged.
The next meeting – rounds three and four – take place at Donington Park on 29th April 2018.