Dino Zamparelli drove two faultless races to claim both victories during the penultimate round of the Porsche Carrera Cup 2017. Starting the weekend 14 points behind championship leader Charlie Eastwood, Zamparelli moved to within just 4 points with one round remaining at Brands Hatch on the 1st of October.
The weekend started out well, with the 24-year-old showing strong pace during the Free Practice sessions, before going on to claim a 2nd and 4th place for the two races on Sunday. It was by no means the perfect qualifying session, but Zamparelli was in ambitious mood before the two races:
"We didn't quite have the pace yet again in Qualifying. We're just struggling to unlock that final tenth out of our package. It's all really close, but the two times I set were only good enough for 2nd and 4th. Still, I'm excited to push on for the races and see how we get on. I won't be sitting back."
The opening race of the weekend on Sunday got underway in damp conditions, with all 24 Porsche Carrera Cup cars opting for slick tyres in treacherous conditions. Zamparelli made a strong start from the front row and slotted in behind the leader Dan Cammish. On lap 2, Zamparelli made an audacious move around the outside of the Brooklands corner to grab the lead of the race.
From there, Dino set some blistering laps to pull out a lead of around 4 seconds to his rival Cammish. Seemingly in control of the race and making the best out of the damp conditions, Zamparelli lost a handful of seconds with 5 laps to go. But undeterred, he crossed the line to take victory in front of Cammish and teammate Tio Ellinas.
He said: "I love those conditions and the car felt really good. I was on a mission and pulled out a huge lead! Unfortunately what happened was, I got a track limits flag which was effectively a warning to not go off track again. So I decided to go a bit conservative - which of course meant that I went off the road and came back on with no lead at all!"
"But it was all cool and the win feels great and other than the small error, it was a dominant win! A massive thank you to team JTR for the great car."
For the second race, the sun came out and greeted the drivers with a full dry circuit, and Zamparelli knew he had a lot more work to do from 4th place.
He made a strong start and momentarily moved into 3rd place, but lost out on the exit of turn 2 to his teammate Ellinas. Cammish was leading and escaped up the road, as the battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th between Eastwood, Ellinas, and Zamparelli, intensified.
On lap 12, Ellinas moved up the inside of Eastwood at Copse, turn 1, opening the door for Zamparelli to sail by both cars and move into 2nd place. A well thought out double move from the #8 car allowing him to take the 2nd spot and start to look at closing in on the leader.
However, only a few short laps later, it was drama for Cammish as his exhaust caught fire and he had to pull off the circuit with a failure. This meant that Zamparelli inherited the lead, and suddenly the top 3 were battling for the win.
Dino remained calm and crossed the line ahead of his teammate Ellinas and championship rival Eastwood, to take the win and close the championship gap to just 4 points.
He said of his race: "Well a win is a win I suppose! We've had bad luck like that happen to us and it's unfortunate for Cammish of course. But I was quite content to stay 2nd there as I still had the points gap to Eastwood. Naturally, though the win feels good and we'll take them as they come!"
"What an immense weekend it's been. We've had over one hundred sponsors and guests all watching and supporting me this weekend, the home of British Motor racing! It was a crazy couple of races and I'm proud I could take both victories and give all my sponsors and guests something to cheer about! We're right in this championship and we'll keep pushing on with the final round at Brands Hatch to go."
He added: "I'm not focussed on the points or the championship. This championship is Charlie Eastwood's to lose, not mine. We're just having some fun and claiming podiums and wins. I'll be entirely locked in on trying to win at Brands Hatch, and naturally, will start by trying to unlock our Qualifying pace."
The final rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship, 14 & 15, take place at Brands Hatch on the 1st of October 2017.