Dino Zamparelli got his Porsche Carrera Cup campaign off to a solid start by claiming a 5th and a 3rd place finish during the opening rounds of the Series this weekend.
Qualifying was a much anticipated tight affair, with only 0.086 of a second separating the top four drivers. Unfortunately for TeamDZ, Dino would line up in 4th place for both races, narrowly missing out on the pole position lap time. He said of his qualifying performance:
"I was quickest in Friday Free Practice, but not by much, and I was 4th in Qualifying, again off pole by not much. We didn't quite nail it and we feel as a team we know why that was. We can't be too unhappy, it's our first Qualifying session of the year together and we'll need time to get things spot on. I was obviously frustrated to miss out by less than a tenth, but that's how it goes. The car had the potential to be on pole, we just didn't line everything up. We know what to do for next time."
Race 1: 5th
Zamparelli would line up in 4th spot on the grid, and make a sluggish start for the first race, which was a rolling start. Seemingly getting pushed out a bit wide on turn 1, he would lose a position early on and settle into 5th place.
After several early laps, the Bristol racer's pace was evident, as he hounded 4th place and made a brilliant move down the inside of Tom Oliphant (Redline Racing) for 4th place. Dino then pulled clear and set about chasing his team mate down for 3rd place. However, whilst he managed to catch his team mate Lewis Plato, he would then make a mistake and run wide in Turn 1. This allowed two cars to overtake and Zamparelli would fall back to 6th place.
Undettered, Zamparelli got back on the road quickly re-overtook for 5th place before crossing the line in 5th overall. He said:
"Well it was an eventful race that's for sure! It was a shame because we had so much pace compared to everyone else! The car was really good and I just made that small mistake in the first corner which sent me wide into the gravel. I managed to recover and in the end I only lost one position."
"I am however pleased with my performance, despite the mistake, as I was driving hard and fast, and the car was allowing me to push the boundaries. It's so hard to overtake around Brands Hatch, but this all bodes well for the future races."
Race 2: 3rd (+Fastest Lap)
The second race of the day was entertained live on ITV4 and as in race 1, the sun was shining brightly. Zamparelli made a fast start from 4th place on the grid, this time the race was a standing start, and the 24 year old from Bristol made it up into 3rd place after the first corners.
From there, he pumped in some fastest laps of the race to hound the top 2, but nothing was giving. Around a difficult circuit to overtake, Zamparelli would be forced to settle for a podium spot and the fastest lap.
He said: "It was a decent race, I'm just annoyed I got blocked quite drastically by a backmarker in the middle of the race. I must have lost about 2-3 seconds to Charlie (Eastwood - Redline Racing), as I was all over him for 10 laps, and then suddenly I could barely see him!"
"However, in summary, it's been a positive start to the season. Whilst it was not perfect, we must remember that the top 2 in these races were there last year with their respective team. My team, JTR, and I are working well and still need time to gel. We have lots and lots of things we must improve on for the next race - so when you consider that we have space to improve, 3rd and 5th with a fastest lap really isn't a bad start."
"It's onwards and upwards from here."
Championship Standings After Rounds 1 & 2:
1st: Dan Cammish 40 points
2nd: Charlie Eastwood 36 points
3rd: Dino Zamparelli 28 points
4th: Tom Oliphant 28 points
5th: Euan McKay 20 points
Rounds 3 & 4 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship take place at the Donington Circuit on April the 15th/16th.