Dino Zamparelli produced an outstanding performance to claim 2nd overall at the Carrera Cup support race at the Le Mans circuit in France.
Arguably the biggest race of the year, with over 61 cars gridded up at Le Mans to support the main race on Saturday, this was definitely a race the 24 year old Bristol driver was aiming to impress at.
With hot temperatures greeting all 61 drivers from France, Belgium and the UK, it was going to be a tough 45 minute race on Saturday. Zamparelli started in 2nd place, with a solid qualifying effort on Thursday previously.
He made a lightning getaway and shot straight into the lead of the race on the start through turns 1, 2 and 3. Immediately after, the safety car came out for an incident in the mid pack. Zamparelli controlled the field before heading the restart after the safety car period.
Dino was overtaken on the straight line on the restart, and fell back to 2nd, before being further demoted to 3rd and then 4th in the subsequent laps. Seemingly struggling to keep up in the straight lines, Zamparelli held station in 4th for a number of laps. He then cooly regrouped and overtook for 3rd and on the final lap, the top 4 drivers had one of the best battles Porsche Carrera Cup has seen, with the lead changing a handful of times.
Zamparelli was sat in 3rd place on the final lap, but would keep his head to move up to 2nd with an opportunistic move into the Porsche Curves section. He would then have a good run through the final section before crossing the line 0.6 tenths down on the winner, also from Porsche GB, Dan Cammish.
After such an eventful and exciting race, Dino said:
"It was a crazy race! An amazing race to be a part of and everyone has rang me and told me it was the most exciting race they've ever seen. It was a real shame as I was losing performance in the straight lines due to a high water pressure alert from lap one. I believe when the safety car picked us up on lap 1, a stone cracked my radiator and caused temperatures to be too high. As a result, my speed down the straights was not so good.
"However, I kept a cool head despite dropping to 4th, and almost even further down the field. I was so close to being dropped outside the top 6, but I managed to hang on and then fight back to 2nd overall. 2nd out of 61 cars is a great feat and I'm pleased for myself, the team and all my sponsors. I'm gutted generally speaking, because I feel without the high engine temperatures, we could potentially have fought harder for victory. However, the engine could also have blown up! So it's a result that we'll take away and move on with and be proud of what we achieved.
"Le Mans is such a special circuit - I had great fun learning it and driving it. It's a 4 minute lap, which is crazy in itself. The highlight for me was being fastest in Free Practice, and being only 0.016 off Pole position! The race itself was another highlight and as I say, I'm proud of what we achieved here and confident going into the second half of the Carrera Cup GB Championship."
The next round of the Championship takes place at Snetterton on the 29th/30th July 2017.