Dino Zamparelli (JTR) took a fighting pair of wins in rounds twelve and thirteen to move himself just four points behind championship leader Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing) with dropped scores taken into account. Eastwood fought back from a ten place grid penalty through damp and treacherous conditions in race one to finish fourth, but could manage no higher than third in race two despite starting second.
Their main rival for the title, double champion Dan Cammish (Redline Racing), fought back to second after starting from pole position in round twelve. However, in what was for the Leeds driver an unlucky round thirteen, Cammish was sidelined with a technical issue that resulted in a fire and retirement when running over four seconds clear in the lead.
Tio Ellinas (JTR) scored his best weekend in sportscar racing to date. Third- and second-place finishes were enough to secure him the 2017
Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) made a spectacular return to the Pro-Am1 category, but it was Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) who took the lead in the title fight with a pair of wins. Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) managed third in race one, but a puncture in race two leaves him with a three point deficit.
Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) maintained his lead in Pro-Am2, despite Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) taking two wins from both races – the third double winner of the weekend. David Fairbrother (Slidesports) banked a consistent pair of third places to complete the podium.
Despite one race already having taken place, the Silverstone National circuit remained damp and treacherous as the 22-car grid ventured out for the first of two green flag laps ahead of round twelve. Caught out in the conditions as all the drivers fought to heat their cold slick tyres was Matt Telling (Welch Motorsport). The Pro-Am2 runner impressed in the wet conditions in Friday practice, but was wrong-footed as he warmed his tyres on the Wellington Straight, making heavy contact with the barriers and ending his race before it had begun. Graeme Mundy (Team Parker Racing) also spun, but was able to re-join without any problem.
Suitably cautious as a result, the grid reformed for a rolling start that was led away by pole-sitter Dan Cammish (Redline Racing). Fellow front row starter Dino Zamparelli (JTR) kept wide through Copse, tucking in behind Cammish with Tio Ellinas (JTR) holding third. By the end of the first lap, championship leader Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing) had been making rapid progress from 13th on the grid, already up to ninth.
At the front, Cammish and Zamparelli began to stretch away from Ellinas, Zamparelli seemingly more comfortable in the early stages of the race when he took to the outside of Cammish at Brooklands and swept into a lead he would not relinquish.
Cammish continued to struggle for grip as Zamparelli posted a string of fastest laps to stretch his lead to over two seconds by the end of lap five. Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing) slid his way into a solid fourth, chased by Euan and Dan McKay (Redline Racing). Conditions continued to be slippery as Eastwood made a move at Becketts on Dan McKay for sixth, before settling into a pursuit of Euan McKay that was to last most of the race after the 2016 Pro-Am1 champion responded to the pressure.
Zamparelli began to catch traffic as early as lap eight but, despite a fastest lap to Cammish, ultimately used this to extend his advantage to over three seconds. JTR team mate Ellinas was revelling in the conditions and on lap 11 caught Cammish, traffic at Luffield baulking the double champion and allowing Ellinas to drive into second with a wide line in to Woodcote.
Both Zamparelli and Ellinas began trading fastest laps, but their advantage was to be short lived. As Euan McKay and Eastwood caught Oliphant to make up a battle for fourth, track conditions were coming to Cammish. Zamparelli, conscious of a warning for track limits, momentarily lost concentration and ran wide at Becketts, emerging just ahead of Ellinas who now had Cammish applying extreme pressure.
A fastest lap from Cammish propelled him down the inside of Ellinas at Copse, the Cypriot coming back on the run into Becketts before Cammish switched to the inside at the exit, securing second place and putting Zamparelli – and a win – back in his sights. As Cammish visibly gave it his not-inconsiderable best to hunt down Zamparelli, arch rival Eastwood passed first Euan McKay then Oliphant for fourth. However, even a fastest lap from Cammish on the final tour could not prevent Zamparelli from taking his second win of the season, closing to within just eight points of Eastwood in the championship battle.
The returning Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) started the race very much in control of Pro-Am1, but ended up in a race-long battle that finished with category title contender Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) coming out on top with fastest lap on his way. Martin took the lead on the opening lap, the gap between the pair a scant two seconds by the fifth lap. As Leonard continued to apply the pressure, even running wide at Copse was no barrier to the Irishman claiming the category lead by lap 17.
As points leader Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) was fending off John McCullagh (Redline Racing) for third, Martin was able to reclaim the lead on the final lap and close to within one point of Sherwood in the championship standings.
Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) never looked anything but in control of Pro-Am2. Starting from pole position, he held the lead throughout despite the chasing Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) posting fastest lap. Second for Jennings was enough to maintain a four point advantage of Kyle-Henney with three rounds remaining. David Fairbrother (Slidesports) rounded out the podium in third.
An incredible effort from Welch Motorsport to get Matt Telling back onto the grid for round thirteen sadly came to nothing when the Australian stopped on the green flag lap as the rest of the field, led by Dan Cammish (Redline Racing), lined up for the standing start. It was
Cammish was unfazed, forcing Eastwood to go defensive into Becketts. The Irishman looked to have the position defended, but entered the hairpin too deeply allowing Cammish to retake which promptly set about relentlessly extending. By lap 22 Cammish’s lead was over four seconds, when a fire behind the rear wheel put the race leader out of the race – and potentially the championship fight.
Behind, the tussle for second had produced plenty of its own drama. Race one winner Dino Zamparelli (JTR) made a good start from fourth, passing team mate Tio Ellinas into turn one much as Eastwood had Cammish. In an almost perfect replica, Ellinas retook the position at Becketts and set after Eastwood.
A defence by Eastwood into Brooklands settled the positions until lap 13 when Ellinas lined up the 2016 Rookie champion into Copse. The Cypriot driver ran wide on the exit taking Eastwood with him in sympathy, while Zamparelli took to the inside and emerged on the run into Becketts in second, Ellinas third and Eastwood demoted to fourth. Zamparelli was only able to inch up on Cammish ahead before taking over the lead when Cammish was forced into retirement on lap 22. The resulting yellow flag at Luffield coupled with lapped traffic brought the top three back together, but the order remained Zamparelli, Ellinas, Eastwood as the flag fell. Fastest lap went to Cammish, no consolation for the record-breaking driver when his chances of a third title are almost over.
Completing a starring weekend for JTR, a new team for 2017, was Lewis Plato who just held off Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing) for fourth. Euan McKay (Redline Racing) managed to keep ahead of brother Dan (Redline Racing) for sixth and seventh places respectively.
Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) had a clear run at the head of the Pro-Am1 category, but fastest lap by a margin of 0.2 seconds could not make up for a 15 second penalty applied for exceeding track limits. This handed victory to Alex Martin (Team Parker Racing) after a puncture for Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) dropped him out of second spot. A delighted John McCullagh (Redline Racing) kept Graeme Mundy (Team Parker Racing) behind to round out the podium places.
Pro-Am2 saw Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) take his eighth win of the season and second win of the weekend. Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) led the first half of the race, but an eventual second behind Kyle-Henney was enough to preserve his place at the top of the category points table and earned G-Cat Racing the ‘Team of the Weekend’ award. David Fairbrother (Slidesports) made it on to the podium in third, the fifth visit of his rookie season and moving him into fourth in the standings.
As the championship heads to its conclusion in two weeks at Brands Hatch, follow the battles at @
(including dropped scores in brackets)
Charlie Eastwood Redline Racing 210 (202)
Dino Zamparelli JTR 210 (198)
Dan Cammish Redline Racing 170 (170)
Alex Martin Team Parker Racing 106 (106)
Justin Sherwood Team Parker Racing 103 (103)
Graeme Mundy Team Parker Racing 61 (61)
Shamus Jennings G-Cat Racing 103 (103)
Peter Kyle-Henney IN2 Racing 100 (100)
Iain Dockerill Asset Advantage Racing 90 (90)
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