Stephen Jelley led the way for Team Parker Racing in Rounds Seven and Eight of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Oulton Park, taking his second win of the season, the fourth of the year for the Leicester based outfit.
Jelley was third fastest in qualifying around the Island circuit, while his second fastest time saw him line up second for race two. In the dry opening race, the former BTCC ace stuck on the tail of the front two throughout the race, before squeezing into second place past Michael Meadows on the last lap.
Jelley said: “I thought I was already past him on the penultimate lap. I passed him on the brakes but he stonked across the grass and chopped in front, which I was a bit miffed about. On the next lap he did exactly the same, and I thought 'I'm not having this', so I just stuck it down the inside into the next corner.
“I'd have been right on James Sutton, the leader, without that – it definitely cost me a win. We had the car spot-on for the race and it was very consistent.”
A great start at the beginning of a wet race two saw Jelley leap into the lead in his Parker with Juta entry. Leading by over a second by the end of lap one, he coped best with the tricky conditions to cruise home to a near five second victory, taking the races fastest lap, as he had done the race before.
Jelley, who now lies third in the championship, commented: “I saw I had a big gap and thought the tyres might not last the race – there was a very dry line appearing and I was having to find the wet bits to cool them. It was just a matter of keeping my head – I'm very happy with that.”
For two-time race winner this season Euan Hankey, Oulton Park proved a disappointing weekend. The Somerset racer was sixth in the opening race and fighting for fourth before he ran off the road at Druids, costing him three places for an eventual finish of ninth. In race two, he ran as high as fourth, but had to settle for sixth.
Hankey, who has now dropped to fourth in the points, reflected: “In the first race I was going into Druids, hit the brakes as normal and the front end just went away completely. I almost hit the barriers before I got back on the track sideways. In the second race the tyres went away and there was nothing I could do.”
For the team's two Carrera Cup rookies, the weekend saw varied results. Richard Plant spent most of race one stuck behind a rival, before eventually making his way through to finish sixth, before taking seventh in race two to complete a strong weekend.
Sam Tordoff ran well in Round Seven, before contact with a rival damaged his radiator and forced him out the race. He looked to make up for this in race two and ran in the same battle as fellow Yorkshireman Plant, ending up tenth at the finish.
Plant commented: “Once I got past Ahmad in the first race I felt I could have made up more places, but the car was a bit loose by then and I ran out of time. In the second race I was drifting everywhere and it was difficult.”
Tordoff said: “We had a problem in qualifying with locking wheels but I had a great first half of race one. In the second race I was happy to make progress in the wet, but annoyed that I ran wide onto the grass and gave away ninth.”
Also running for the team in the Pro-Am 1 class were Derek Pierce and Alex Martin. Scotsman Pierce spent the opening race challenging for a class podium before settling for fourth place, while Martin finished not far behind in sixth. Race two saw Pierce running fifth in class, but a mistake saw him run wide, allowing Martin through, the pair finishing fifth and sixth at the end.
Pierce added: “I got a brilliant start in race one, but apart from that I haven't really got properly into the groove this weekend. I tore most of the splitter off when I went off in race two, then I just did my best. Not a great result, but onwards and upwards.”
Marin reflected: “We took a gamble on set-up for the opening race. It didn't really pay off but I didn't lose anything. I wanted to copy Stephen Jelley's for race two, but then it rained.”
Team Principal Stuart Parker summed up the weekend: “It's been a good weekend. In both races, wet or dry, Stephen was the fastest man out there. He drove a fantastic first race, had the legs on the guys ahead, but didn't quite have the opportunity to go for the lead. In the second he got them at the start and controlled it. Euan had a character-building weekend but with a bit of work he'll be on form in the next round at the Nurburgring.
“Planty and Sam had never driven these cars in the wet before, so it was a huge learning curve for them. They did a cracking job, acquitted themselves well and they keep building for the future.
“Derek and Alex both had another learning weekend. They got some good results by keeping it on the island to get to the finish and keeping the cars in one piece – not an easy task in those conditions!”