Carrera Cup GB: Zamparelli and Wrigley Win at Snetterton
The second half of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship got underway at Snetterton, which witnessed close racing throughout the field. On Saturday championship leader Tio Ellinas had claimed pole position in qualifying for round nine of the series, title rival Dino Zamparelli put his 911 alongside on the front row. Come Sunday inclement weather forced the entire grid onto wet tyres prior to the start of the day’s first 14 lap race, which welcomed three new drivers including Carrera Cup France hot shot Valentin Hasse-Clot. A former Porsche France Junior driver, Hasse-Clot is looking to dovetail his existing commitments in the French championship with appearances in Carrera Cup GB throughout the remainder of the season.
GT Porsche contributor, Zamparelli, made the better start off the front row passing a wheel-spinning Ellinas for the lead before the first corner, Lewis Plato, Porsche GB Junior Dan Harper and newcomer Hasse-Clot followed him through further demoting Ellinas. Plato was subsequently overtaken by Harper and Ellinas in the tricky conditions, but it was Hasse-Clot that most impressed in the very early laps. The Frenchman’s good form, on a circuit he had never driven on before, looked promising as he worked his way up from seventh on the grid to second, however, the glory was short lived as he soon unceremoniously slid off the circuit, making contact with the barriers and retiring. That left the order at the front: Zamparelli, Harper and Ellinas, while Plato did repass Ellinas for the final podium spot their positions were later reversed when both drivers were reprimanded for overtaking under yellow flags.
Pro-Am drivers Jamie Orton and Seb Perez were virtually inseparable all weekend, the pair being locked into a dice for top category honours. The scene was replicated in the Am category where championship rivals Peter Kyle-Henney and Peter Mangion were joined by newcomer Dan Kirby who, like Hasse-Clot, showed promise in his first Carrera Cup GB race driving the GT Marques car formerly run by ex-BTCC racer James Kaye. At the front Zamparelli’s win was a confident one, he was followed home by Harper and Plato.
The reverse grid for round 10 later in the day saw Tom Wrigley start on pole followed by Plato, Ellinas, Harper, and Zamparelli. Dry conditions saw Wrigley getaway well, fending off Plato into turn one – Ellinas occupied third but not for long. On lap four Zamparelli found a way by Ellinas for P3, then set about closing the gap to the front runners. Though the three closed right up to each other’s bumpers there was nothing any of them could do to change the order before the flag fell on lap 14, and so that’s how the Pro category drivers finished the second race. Pro-Am runners Orton and Perez renewed their close battle from race one, running nose-to-tail for the duration of the second race, while Am category drivers Mangion and Kyle-Henney did the same only this time they had Kirby in very close company. Both category fights ended without a chnage to the order though.
With his retirement in the first race forcing him to start race two from the back of the grid, Hasse-Clot continued to impress. He made confident moves to advance to seventh position overall by lap seven highlighting what might have been had he not crashed out of race one. However, the afternoon belonged to Wrigley, took the chequered flag to claim a lights-to-flag victory – his second win of the 2018 season. Plato finished second having resisted consistent pressure from Zamparelli in P3. For Zamparelli two podiums were enough to see him reclaim the lead of the championship which he only lost last time out at Oulton Park – now just four points separate Zamparelli and former F1 test driver Ellinas. The next meeting takes place at Knockhill, Scotland, at the end of July.