• 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholarship winners Euan Hankey (Taunton) and Michael Meadows (Banbury) share race wins at Donington Park (April 17)Top model in the Panamera range combines uprated 550 hp twin-turbo V8 with optimised chassis dynamics delivering outstanding performance and agility
• Value of Carrera Cup Scholarship programme in bringing new talent into the Championship underlined with 2011 Scholar Ben Hetherington (Cheshire) finishing fifth in race one
• Just 0.079 secs separated Jonas Gelzinis and Leeds youngster Sam Tordoff in the pole position chase for round 3
• After two podium finishes, James Sutton takes over at the head of the Championship after a great weekend’s action from the full grid of 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars
Euan Hankey (Taunton) and Michael Meadows (Banbury) shared the race victories in rounds three and four of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Donington Park on Sunday (April 17). The two former Carrera Cup GB Scholarship winners were joined on both podiums by James Sutton, and it was Sutton who took over at the head of the Championship points after two action-packed races.
In a dramatic race, Sam Tordoff (Leeds) led from the start, having edged ahead of pole-sitter Jonas Gelzinis (Lithuania) on the run to Redgate. Behind them, Hankey boldly went all the way around the outside at Redgate corner to grab second. Moments later, a clash of wheels at the Old Hairpin wrecked the races of Stephen Jelley (Leicester) and Tim Harvey (Oxford), with Jelley out with damaged suspension and Harvey losing a lap in a pit stop to change a punctured rear tyre.
Tordoff quickly established a lead of more than a second and, driving with an assuredness that belied his Carrera Cup experience, led for 17 laps as Hankey led the chase. Behind Hankey, Gelzinis headed the SAS/Redline pairing of Meadows and James Sutton (London), with Richard Plant (Sheffield) and Ben Hetherington (Cheshire) chasing along.
At the head of the race, it all went wrong for Tordoff at the Old Hairpin on lap 17. He went to go around a backmarker and his car snapped into a spin. “I got onto the marbles at the outside edge of the track, touched the grass and away it went. But until then I did everything right,” he said after only his third race in a Porsche. He recovered to finish eighth.
That left Hankey with a clear lead and he was able to ease off over the closing stages to preserve his tyres. “I never predicted that,” said Hankey. “I was gently eating into Sam’s lead, but then I could back off as I need to use the same set of tyres for the second race this afternoon.”
Meadows drove one of his strongest races to date to head Sutton home for second after Gelzinis became another driver to spin at the Old Hairpin. “I was pushing to the maximum and the corner was a little bit dirty,” said Gelzinis. “I was lucky to just finish,” he added after recovering to seventh and second in Pro-Am1.
“That’s good for the points,” said Meadows, as Sutton took the Championship lead with third place. Plant was a strong fourth, well in touch with the SAS cars, while 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholarship winner Hetherington claimed his best result to date with fifth.
With Gelzinis spinning down the order, Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman) raced to victory in Pro-Am1 with a great performance. “That is my first win in the UK and words cannot express how happy I am,” said Al Harthy. “But it wasn’t an easy race.” Alex Martin (Somerset) had chased hard until a spin at the Old Hairpin, so it was Gelzinis second and Rory Butcher (Kirkcaldy) third in Pro-Am1.
Andrew Shelley (Northallerton) always had Pro-Am2 under control, despite a moment on the grass at the Old Hairpin. “I managed to stay out of trouble and I felt comfortable,” said Shelley, who went clear of team mate Keith Webster (Hook) early in the race. Second in Pro-Am2 in only his third Porsche race was a good result for Webster, but over the closing laps he had to defend his place from George Brewster (Edinburgh) as Brewster recovered from an early spin at McLeans corner.
Meadows headed Sutton home in an impressive one-two for the SAS/Redline team as Hankey completed the overall podium in round four. A tremendous fourth overall and Pro-Am1 win went to Gelzinis, while Brewster won Pro-Am2 after a mighty battle with category rivals Shelley and Webster.
“My start was the next best thing to perfect,” said Meadows after converting pole position into a first lap lead from Sutton, Tordoff and Hankey before a further stream of cars comprising Gelzinis, Stephen Jelley, Tim Harvey and Richard Plant.
Lap by lap, the two distinctive SAS-liveried 911 GT3 Cup cars edged clear and Hankey moved through to third when Tordoff had to pit after 10 laps. Two laps later Hankey nearly spun at the chicane which cost him the ground he had made on the two leaders, and almost allowed Gelzinis to grab what had become third.
That drama for Hankey ensured that Meadows and Sutton were away clear and they drove home for a one-two formation team finish.
“It’s never easy and I was trying all the time,” said Meadows, who became the second former Carrera Cup Scholarship winner to win a race. Sutton shadowed his team mate home. “I was comfortable behind Michael,” said Sutton. “We wanted a clinical one-two for the team.” Hankey accepted that the moment at the chicane cost him any chance of attacking Sutton, but he bagged his third podium in four races by moving clear of Gelzinis, Jelley, Harvey and Plant.
Gelzinis drove a well-judged race among the Pro racers to clinch Pro-Am1 victory, while Al Harthy raced to second as Butcher fended off Daniele Perfetti (Switzerland) to complete the Pro-Am1 podium. “That’s the best weekend I’ve had so far,” said Oman Air-backed Al Harthy.
The battle for Pro-Am2 was one of the highlights of the races as Brewster battled with Redline Racing team mates Shelley and Webster. At one point they ran three abreast into Redgate corner at the height of the battle, as Brewster just held on to a lead he grabbed from Shelley off the line. “It was a good race,” said Brewster. “Once I got a break I was able to hold it,” he added. By the end of the race, Shelley had fought back ahead of Webster to take second. “It was fantastic; the best race I’ve been in,” said Webster.
The next rounds of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship take places at Thruxton, Hampshire, on April 30/May 1.
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