Carrera Cup GB: Nail Biting Finale!
The 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship went down to the wire at Brands Hatch in one of the most memorable meetings for some time. Three drivers went into the final two races with a mathematical chance of taking championship honours; Porsche GB 2016 / 2017 Scholar, Charlie Eastwood, GT Porsche contributor, Dino Zamparelli, and double champion (2015/2016) Dan Cammish, each had all to play for…
Following a typically close qualifying session, round fourteen started with drizzle and a damp track. Cammish led the field around the full Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch behind the 919 Hybrid, on show for static display and action laps over the course of the weekend. As the lights went green Tio Ellinas made the best start from the front row, passing Cammish. Championship leader, Eastwood, took third with a move on rival Zamparelli as the pair headed into Graham Hill. Zamparelli responded going into Surtees but ran wide onto the grass, allowing Eastwood back through, dropping to sixth.
Early into the race three cars found the gravel at Clearways, bringing out the safety car. Racing resumed on lap five, Ellinas and Cammish got locked into a battle up at the front whereby Cammish got ahead for the lead of the race. Further back Tom Oliphant got by Lewis Plato, then passed Eastwood for third. When Plato ran wide, Zamparelli took the position and points to finish just behind championship leader, Eastwood.
In the Pro-Am1 category points leader Alex Martin came home behind a charging Karl Leonard, with John McCullagh third. It was enough to secure Martin the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am1 championship after a hard-fought season with Sherwood. In Pro-Am2, Peter Kyle-Henney moved himself to the top of the all-time Pro-Am2 rankings with a nineteenth career win. A season-long championship battle with Shamus Jennings went down to the final race.
With the ever-present threat of rain in the air, round fifteen saw the championship rivals, now reduced to just Zamparelli and Eastwood, get off the line evenly from the front two rows – Cammish led Zamparelli in second. Contact between Plato and Eastwood allowed Ellinas through to third, Plato and Oliphant got past Eastwood. Now sixth with Zamparelli in second, Eastwood would lose the championship if things finished this way. Eastwood needed to cross the line fifth or higher to equal Dino’s points tally, he’d then take the title on his number of wins in 2017 – four to Dino’s three.
Up front Zamparelli maintained the gap to Cammish at just under one second, but further back the pressure was on Eastwood. On lap 10 Eastwood got up the inside of Oliphant in a battle that lasted through a series of corners. Now fifth, Eastwood had done enough to win the title, unless Zamparelli could pass Cammish at the front. On lap 14 though Oliphant retook Eastwood, the championship advantage once again swung towards Zamparelli.
Eastwood replied almost immediately, re-passing Oliphant and taking back the championship lead. Zamparelli took every opportunity to erode the gap on leader, Cammish, but it was not to be. The race finished with Cammish first, Zamparelli second, Ellinas third and Eastwood fifth, giving Eastwood the title. In Pro-Am1, Karl Leonard took his first category win of 2017. In Pro-Am2 Peter Kyle-Henney took victory and the 2017 title, setting an overall record of 20 Pro-Am2 wins on the way.
The thrilling meeting was a suitably fitting way to wave goodbye to the first-generation 991 GT3 Cup car, which will be replaced next season. So too was it a fine way for Dan Cammish to bow out of the series, the double champion has taken a staggering 31 victories over just three seasons. After an emotionally charged day, four champions of 2017 were crowned and the Porsche Carrera Cup GB family will gather in November at the annual awards night to celebrate what has been an outstanding season of competition. You can read the thoughts of championship runner-up, Dino Zamparelli, in the November issue of GT Porsche.
Final Championship Points Standings After Round 15:
|1.||Charlie Eastwood||Redline Racing||228 points|
|2.||Dino Zamparelli||JTR||228 points|
|3.||Dan Cammish||Redline Racing||210 points|
|1.||Alex Martin||Team Parker Racing||123 points|
|2.||Justin Sherwood||Team Parker Racing||112 points|
|3.||Graeme Mundy||Team Parker Racing||67 points|
|1.||Shamus Jennings||G-Cat Racing||121 points|
|2.||Peter Kyle-Henney||IN2 Racing||120 points|
|3.||Iain Dockerill||Asset Advantage Racing||104 points|