Dan Cammish claimed pole-position for both the first and second races of the new Porsche Carrera Cup GB season on Saturday afternoon at Brands Hatch. However, one of the closest qualifying sessions in recent memory has fifteen cars covered by less than a second.
Frantic early running meant several of the leading contenders took turns at the top of the timing screen, but ultimately Cammish was able to snatch pole-position at a pivotal moment. Traditionally the times set in the second portion of the qualifying session are quicker than those set on the first tyre runs. High track temperatures though-out seemed to negate this impact and allowed Cammish to claim his twenty-third and twenty-fourth category pole-positions.
On both grids the margin between him and Redline Racing team-mate Charlie Eastwood is virtually non-existent, less than half a tenth covering the two men at the front of the field. Eastwood maintained that there could be more time to find, and ultimately the start to both races will be pivotal as to their outcomes.
Behind Lewis Plato shone as the top JTR driver, third on both grids ahead of more experienced stable-mate Dino Zamparelli. Tom Oliphant (Redline) and Tio Ellinas (JTR) round out the evenly split top six for the opening race. Oliphant holds fifth on the grid for race two, with Ellinas slipping back a position to seventh. Euan McKay claimed a seventh and a ninth, Dan Mckay a ninth and an eighth as the closely matched siblings of Redline Racing began their quest for consistent top-six finishes. Tom Wrigley’s debut for In2Racing netted him a seventh and a sixth, within three tenths of the pole-sitter on both occasions.
Jamie Orton (Redline) and Ross Wylie (SlideSports) both endured trying category debuts, neither netting a top-ten qualifying result, although both were pragmatic pre-season about wishing to learn the championship and progress as the season continued. Eleventh and twelfth for race one, eleventh and fourteenth for race two.
In Pro-Am1 the order for both races is identical. However, team-manager of G-Cat Racing Greg Caton deserves extra recognition for a stunning tenth overall on the grid for the 2017 season opener. Team Parker Racing trio Justin Sherwood, Alex Martin and Graeme Mundy complete the second division roster for round one and line-up in that order for round two as well.
Another less-acclaimed contender deserving of recognition is Pro-Am2 pole-sitter Peter Kyle-Henney driving for In2Racing. It is all too easy to over look the performances of the contenders in the third portion of the order, their pace often going unrecognised. Kyle-Henney not only has pole for both races, for the first of those encounters he is within a second of the double-champion Cammish and for the second a mere one-point-two-seconds off the top. Again the remainder of the class order is static for both races. Lead by the returning Ian Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing), Thomas Jennings (G-Cat Racing) and Peter Parsons (The Race Car Centre). Debutant David Fairbrother (SlideSports) adapted well on his series debut, narrowly just over a second off the class pole on both occasions. Rupert Martin (Team Parker Racing) and Matt Telling (Welch Motorsport) complete the grid for both races.
Dan Cammish on pole-position may not seem like something new in Carrera Cup GB, and to a large extent today’s events may give you a distinct feeling of de ja vu. Don’t be fooled though. Qualifying reflects a far-tighter, more competitive order than we have seen for some time. Sunday’s races at 10:00am and 03:40pm, rolling and standing start respectively, are going to be utterly enthralling. Carrera Cup GB is back… Closer than we’ve seen for a long time.
Full event results for the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and TOCA Support Series weekend of the year can be found via this link: http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/171303