Dino Zamparelli produced a determined display during rounds 8 & 9 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship at Snetterton, to take a win and a 2nd place, scoring 38 out of a possible 40 points.
Qualifying took place under sunny conditions on Saturday, and with overtaking fairly limited at the Norfolk circuit, it was all down to who could qualify on pole position. With chief rival Dan Cammish having to miss the round due to European commitments, both Eastwood and Zamparelli knew it was a big chance to make some ground up in the Championship battle. Initially the 24 year from Bristol took pole, but on the second set of tyres, it was Charlie Eastwood who took pole by 0.086, demoting Zamparelli to 2nd on the grid.
From there, Zamparelli knew it was going to be a close race, but that the only realistic hopes of winning would be down to pressuring the leader into a mistake during the two races on Sunday.
Once again, the sun came out on race day, and the 20 strong Porsche Carrera Cup grid would blast off the line for round 8 and race one of the day. The race was a tactical battle between the top two, with Zamparelli slotting in behind Eastwood, despite a sluggish start from the #8 JTR run Porsche. The pair would trade fastest laps after fastest laps, but with no mistakes from either, it was to remain stalemate with Eastwood crossing the line 0.9 tenths ahead of Dino, who despite taking the fastest lap, couldn’t mount a serious challenge for the lead.
He said: “The first race was a bit dull. It had rained overnight, so the track was pretty greasy and we decided to compensate for that in the set up – it was my call and I just misjudged how fast it would dry up for our race. This meant that despite having the pace over one lap, I couldn’t keep the pace last for the entire race distance.
“I finished behind the leader but just couldn’t really get close enough to challenge. Still, 2nd place with fastest lap is a good strong effort to kick start the weekend and let’s see how race two goes this afternoon.”
For Round 9, and race two of the weekend, Zamparelli would once again make a steady start, slotting in behind the pole man Eastwood off the line. This time however, Zamparelli was able to keep up a strong pace throughout the race and it was evident he would be able to pressure for the lead a lot stronger this time round.
With Zamparelli now posting fastest lap time, lap after lap, the pressure got all too much for the erstwhile leader and Eastwood made a mistake in turn 2 on lap 12 of 14. Zamparelli dummied his car to the inside and Eastwood took the bait, distracted, he locked the rear tyres and ran wide. This allowed for Zamparelli to cut to the inside and firmly shut the door to take the lead with only two laps remaining.
From there, Zamparelli looked untouchable and crossed the line over a second ahead of his rivals to take the first win of the year, as well as JTR’s first win in Porsche Carrera Cup.
Dino said of his win: “That was amazing, I couldn’t have played that any better I don’t think. We made a change to the car compared to race one, which we were always going to do. The car felt a lot more alive and I could tell from the opening laps that I was going to be able to put pressure on Charlie (Eastwood).
“I drove really cleanly, but I was able to put some good pressure on the leader, and eventually he cracked and made a mistake into turn two. He tried to get it back immediately, but I shut the door and scampered off as best I could.
“The car felt great, and it was testimony to our pace this weekend, as I feel we’ve been the quickest driver/car all weekend on average. We were unlucky not to take pole position, but this is retribution enough! A massive congratulations to the team, JTR, for their first win in the category! We’ve worked hard as a group and we are certainly improving each race weekend.
“I can’t wait to get back out there in a couple of weeks at Knockhill to pick things up. The car feels great and I want to get some more wins on the board!”
Rounds 11 & 12 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship take place at Knockhill in Scotland on the 12th/13th August 2017.