Snetterton was always going to be pivotal in the narrative of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB title fight of 2017. With Dan Cammish away on Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup duties at the Hungaroring, the performance of his main rivals was gauranteed to be under the spotlight in GB.
Ultimately, the likes of Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing) and Dino Zamparelli (JTR) had to assert their dominance over the rest of the field and hoard the big points, to guarantee a sizeable buffer to Cammish upon his return at Knockhill.
Without wishing to give in to melodramatic tendencies, every point really does count this weekend. In that regard Eastwood has started his time in Norfolk in consummate style.
Two pole positions the headline, and in 2016 Snetterton was the meeting that signalled a jump in pace to his then one time champion team mate. If Eastwood is to be our champion in 2017, he still faces the pressure of knowing he must execute a flawless weekend. Step one in that plan complete.
For Zamparelli, a small error on his second qualifying run puts him one foot back ahead of tomorrow’s two races. The Bristol Sport supported racer has demonstrated that he is every bit Irishman Eastwood’s equal, and looked to have an edge in Friday practice. Whether he can rediscover that by Sunday morning could well determine his ability to challenge for this year’s crown.
JTR enjoyed their strongest performance so far in their debut year of Carrera Cup GB, with Tio Ellinas and Lewis Plato locking out the second row for rounds eight and nine of the championship. Nick Tandy’s squad seemingly have a subtle edge over Redline for the first time this season, and the teams championship could potentially now be more open than it appeared pre Summer break.
Tom Oliphant claimed two fifth positions and namesake Wrigely two sixths, Redline and In2Racing respectively. However, Wrigley’s torrid luck continues to haunt his season, a technical infringement meaning he will start the opening race from the pit lane and the second from the back of the grid.
Cammish’s super sub, former Formula Ford GB champion, Scott Malvern adapted from GT4 Cayman to GT3 Cup 911 with impressive ease, and will start his first Carrera Cup GB race from eighth. For his second he improves one position. Euan McKay (Redline) shares the fourth row with debutant Malvern for both races.
Brother Dan McKay (Redline) and Slidesports‘ Ross Wylie round out the top ten and the Pro classification on both grid sheets.
The remaining nine drivers are thus split across Pro-Am1 (four) and Pro-Am2 (five), and both classes feature identical race one and race two grids. PA1 is emphatically in the hands of Team Parker Racing, with Justin Sherwood claiming a pole position double, and team-mate Alex Martin a pair of seconds. Whilst the third member of Parker’s PA1 squad Graeme Mundy finds himself at the back of the class grid cards, the interloper carries significant pedigree.
2015 Pro-Am2 champion and Pro-Am1 race winner John McCullagh made an impressive return to Redline Racing and Carrera Cup GB with two thirds after missing the first half of the season. He returns in place of former Ginetta front runner Jamie Orton, who will not complete the season.
Peter Kyle-Henney gave In2Racing a much needed boost after Wrigley’s technical maladies by securing a pair of Pro-Am2 poles. The order behind the imperious Kyle-Henney is static for both races; Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing), Ian Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing), David Fairbrother (Slidesports) and Rupert Martin (Parker) the running order.
Race one kicks off pivotal Porsche proceedings in Norfolk at 10:00, with race two live and televised on itv4 at 16:05. Full results from this weekend’s TOCA drama at Snetterton may be found here. Eastwood has the upper hand at the head of the order, with Sherwood and Kyle-Henney trailblazing in Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 respectively.