Dino Zamparelli endured a frustrating post race penalty in Round 3. Despite crossing the line in 2nd place and with fastest lap, the result would be a disqualification, awarding nil points. A team error proving costly in both the weekend and championship efforts.
Looking for no errors and an improvement on his 5th place and 3rd place finishes in the opening two races, Zamparelli was eager to get some wins under his belt. However, still not 100% with the balance of his JTR run Porsche Carrera Cup, Zamparelli would qualify 3rd position for both races.
He said: "I desperately wanted pole position as that's the way to win these races, it's almost the only way. But I'm still not confident under brakes and I'm not delivering the lap times I want to deliver. The fact we're only like a tenth off pole makes it even more frustrating for me. We'll carry on making progress for qualifying."
The first race took place under sunny conditions and Dino made a good getaway from 3rd place. With an almighty battle shaping up for 2nd, Zamparelli was able to dart around the outside of his team mate at the first corner, with the breathtaking move securing 2nd place. From there, he set about some quick laps and set the fastest lap of the race, but eventually ran out of laps. He said of his podium:
"I was fairly happy with 2nd place as I felt really fast and was catching the leader. However, the laps were running out too fast and he had built up a big gap after I overtook my team mate. Nonetheless, it's an improvement and we're happy with the points."
However, disaster struck later on Saturday evening as two of the three JTR run Porsche's were found to have a wrong setting, thus running outside the safety regulations and resulting in both cars being excluded from the results of Round 3 of the championship. No points were therefore awarded to either drivers, despite neither having any idea of the technical infringement. Of the disqualification, Dino said:
"Gutting. Absolutely gutting. 160 races, 10 years and not once has any of the teams or cars I've driven failed a post race scrutineering check. To do all that hard work and to make the small progress that we were making; for it all to be thrown away by a small error, I'm just gutted."
Despite no performance advantage with the mistake, the result stood and Dino would lose 18 championship points, and a fastest lap as a result.
The Sunday race proved to be a more difficult affair, but a podium was small consolation for TeamDino, as he fought to a struggling 3rd place, seemingly lacking from a decent balance after the team changed the settings to fall back within the right rules. A defensive masterclass against his rival Dan Cammish was the small highlight as Zamparelli explains:
"What's happened is that someone misread the rules, or there was just an operational error for race one. In other words, we didn't even know we had slightly the wrong settings, and we've been badly punished. For Race 2 on Sunday, I didn't have the balance and I had to defend everywhere from Cammish but just about managed to keep him behind."
"What can I say. We have to come back fighting and keep our heads up to keep scoring points and start winning races from here on in. We've lost so many points but there was nothing I could do about it. I claimed a 2nd and a 3rd with my driving this weekend, and if someone said that to me before the weekend, with the car not yet being 100% suited to my driving style, I would have taken it.
"I want to apologise to all my sponsors, on behalf of my team. It's not something that should have happened but as I said, we'll come back fighting and keep on improving so that we can start fighting for wins at every race. The team are new and mistakes can happen like this. It's my job to pick everyone back up and strive forward as a team to recover."
"We'll come back stronger."
Rounds 5 & 6 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship take place at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire on the 20th/21st of May 2017.