Brands Hatch (GP) 2011

Brands Hatch GP thriller for Porsche Carrera Cup GB

Media release: 26 September 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

With just four points separating the top three drivers in the title battle, the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB moves to the fabulous Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch (1/2 October) for rounds 16 and 17 of the 19-race season.
 
A fabulous field of 25 450bhp 911 GT3 Cup cars will line up at the Kent track and while Stephen Jelley, Michael Meadows and James Sutton battle for the overall title, the contests in Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 will be every bit as competitive. Adding further spice at the head of the field is the entry for Porsche Supercup ace Nick Tandy, who takes over the Nationwide/Motorbase car previously raced by Michael Caine.
 
By any measure, it has been a fabulous season for the Carrera Cup GB with the strongest field in the history of the championship. With the kudos of a Carrera Cup title and over £60,000 in end of season prize money awaiting the top drivers and teams, there is going to some dramatic action at Brands Hatch.
 
Four drivers are in the hunt for the overall title although Rockingham double winner Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta) remains the outsider after a couple of non-finishes earlier in the season. Michael Meadows and James Sutton (SAS/Redline) and Stephen Jelley (Parker with Juta) are incredibly closely matched and they now face the stunning challenge of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. With dropped scores factored in, there are just four points between the top three drivers. Meanwhile, Hankey has no scores to drop, but really needs the top three to hit trouble for him to move into contention. Hankey is going all out for more race wins, while the other three must try and race for championship points.
 
However, this is certainly not just about four drivers as a gaggle of young chargers are all chasing their first Carrera Cup victory. Richard Plant and Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing), Ben Hetherington (Oman Air/Redline) and Kieran Vernon (Nationwide/Motorbase) are all pitching for a place on the overall podium and they do not have the issues of championship points to consider.
 
With a seventy-one point lead, Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) is looking very strong to win the Pro-Am1 title and should be crowned at Brands Hatch. The Lithuanian racer could settle the title in the opening race on Saturday if he finishes within four points of Rory Butcher. However, the battle for second in Pro-Am1 is far less clear as Butcher (Celtic Speed), Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline) and Derek Pierce (Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker) are all well in contention.
 
In Pro-Am2, where drivers count their best seven weekends, it is almost as close as for the overall title and George Brewster (Celtic Speed) and Keith Webster (Red Line Racing) are the key title contenders. With dropped scores factored in, they are as close as a single point. Meanwhile Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance), Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) and Tommy Dreelan (Celtic Speed) are all chasing and double Rockingham winner Yucel Ozbek (Redline Racing) is currently on great form.
 
After qualifying at 13.50 on Saturday, round 16 will start at 17.40 on Saturday, with round 17 at 13.10 on Sunday. Round 17 will be broadcast live on ITV4 during the extensive BTCC programme, which starts at 11.00 on Sunday.

Tandy heads Carrera Cup GB test at Brands Hatch

Media release: 30 September 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

As temperatures soared at Brands Hatch, Nick Tandy set a scorching pace in testing for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at the Kent track today (Friday 30 September) ahead of rounds 16 and 17 of the championship.
 
Making his debut with the Nationwide/Motorbase team, Tandy blasted to the top of the times in both test sessions and ended the day with a best lap of 1m28.203s, half a second clear of the rest of the field. A superb second overall ensured that Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) topped the Pro-Am1 field while Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) headed the Pro-Am2 files.
 
“I’m very pleased,” said Porsche Supercup pacesetter Tandy after testing on a day when track temperatures approached 40 degrees. “The car is very good and I was quite pleased with our pace on old rubber as well.” Gelzinis was impressive on his way to second fastest. “It’s OK, but it’s a big gap to Tandy,” said Gelzinis. “There was a lot of traffic and maybe I could find another two-tenths.”
 
The four title contenders filled four of the next five places, split by Kieran Vernon (Nationwide/Motorbase). Points’ leader Michael Meadows (SAS/Redline) was third overall from Stephen Jelley (Parker with Juta). “That was average,” said Meadows. “I’m ahead of the title contenders but I think we can improve the car for qualifying.” Jelly, meanwhile, just grabbed fourth best time on his last flying lap of the second session after an earlier red flag interrupted his run on new tyres. “I had just one lap and the next one should have been better,” said Jelley.
 
Vernon continued his encouraging recent form to go fifth fastest and reckoned that having Tandy in the team had been a big help. “I’ve got more confidence and feel good with the car,” said Vernon, who ended the day fractionally ahead of Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta) and James Sutton (SAS/Redline). Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) was eighth fastest to make it eight drivers within a second of Tandy’s best lap.
 
Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) was ninth overall and second in Pro-Am1 from Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline). “I went just as fast on old rubber, but the car is feeling good,” said Butcher after his first experience of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. Ben Hetherington (Oman Air/Redline) completed the top 10 overall times.
 
Parish topped Pro-Am2 where the stage is set for some great battling with the top four drivers covered by three-quarters of a second. “I love it at Brands Hatch,” said Parish. “Out the back on the Grand Prix circuit is the best fun in motor racing,” he added. Yucel Ozbek (Red Line Racing) was second fastest ahead of his first race on the GP circuit, despite ending the second session in the gravel at Westfield. George Brewster (Celtic Speed) and Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) completed the key Pro-Am2 contenders.

Tandy takes Carrera Cup GB poles at Brands Hatch

Media release: 1 October 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

Nick Tandy was the class of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch today (Saturday 1 October) as he dominated qualifying to take pole position for rounds 16 and 17 of the championship.
 
While Tandy (Nationwide/Motorbase) set a fierce pace to be half a second clear on the grid for the weekend’s opening race, Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) topped Pro-Am1 on both grids and Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) set the Pro-Am2 pace.
 
After posting a best time on 1m28.203s in testing on Friday, Tandy’s aim was to break into the 1m27s bracket in testing despite ambient temperatures being even higher. However, even he was surprised to set a best of 1m27.596s on his first set of tyres. He later completed the job with a second best lap of 1m27.793s to make sure of pole for round 17.
 
“I wanted to do two good laps on the first set of tyres and save the second set,” said Tandy. However, he caught slower traffic on his first set and so elected to go back out late in the session on his second set of tyres to make sure of a double pole as the only driver to break the 1m28s barrier. “The car was fantastic and that’s job number one done, but the hard work is in the race,” said Tandy.
 
It was a mixed session for James Sutton (SAS/Redline), who ended qualifying second fastest for race one but only seventh for race two. “In the overall scheme of the championship, second is like being on pole,” said Sutton, who will start ahead of his title rivals in the opening race. Third and fifth overall secured top slot in Pro-Am1 in both races for Gelzinis, but he was frustrated by the session. “I caught slower cars on the second set of tyres and it should have been faster,” said Gelzinis.
 
Michael Meadows (SAS/Redline) set a time good enough for fourth fastest, but that lap was one of several disallowed for drivers running all four wheels off the track on the exit of Graham Hill Bend. Instead, the championship leader will start fifth for race one, but jumps up to second on the grid for race two. Third and fourth fastest was title contender Stephen Jelley (Parker with Juta), who was another to have problems finding clear track in the session. Also posting top six times were Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta) and Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing).
 
In Pro-Am1, Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) and Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline) were second and third fastest behind Gelzinis. But with seven Pro category drivers separating them from the Lithuanian driver the prospects are good for Gelzinis to clinch the title in round 16. “I just wanted to be further up overall,” said Butcher.
 
In Pro-Am2 the stage is set for some tremendous racing with the top five drivers covered by one second. Denny took a double pole with a major step forward from testing. “That’s a vast improvement over testing,” confirmed Denny. “I love this place and it all came together.” George Brewster (Celtic Speed) and Yucel Ozbek (Redline Racing) were second and third fastest for race one and then reversed places for race two. “I maybe didn’t get the best out of the first set of tyres, so I really had to make the second set work,” said Brewster. With Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) and Keith Webster (Redline Racing) well in touch in fourth and fifth, the Pro-Am2 contest is set to be a thriller.

Tandy takes Carrera Cup GB victory at Brands Hatch

Media release: 1 October 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain

Nick Tandy raced to victory in round 16 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch today (Saturday 1 October) as James Sutton lead a determined chase in second place. With fellow title contenders Stephen Jelley and Michael Meadows finishing third and fourth, the championship battle remains finely balanced.
 
However, the Pro-Am1 title is now secure in the hands of Jonas Gelzinis who won the category with sixth place overall. In Pro-Am2, title contenders George Brewster and Keith Webster finished first and second in a race that was full of drama and incident.
 
Tandy (Nationwide/Motorbase) got the start he wanted to head the field into Paddock Hill Bend and immediately set about building his lead as Sutton (SAS/Redline) slotted into second from Jelley (Parker with Juta) and Gelzinis (Juta Racing). At Surtees further round the first lap Ben Hetherington (Oman Air/Redline) suffered a broken radiator after a tangle in the pack and left coolant on the track.
 
Next time around, the leaders avoided the slippery section of track, but Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) slid wide and lost time and further back Pro-Am2 poleman Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) dropped to the back of the pack with a spin. Up front, Tandy established his leading margin at up to two seconds as Sutton concentrated on fending off Jelley. Gelzinis was next to run wide at Surtees and lost a lot of ground slithering across the grass. He managed to rejoin just ahead of his Pro-Am1 rivals Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline), Butcher and Derek Pierce (Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker).
 
“Over the first few laps I pushed to get a gap,” said Tandy, who was never more than two and a half seconds clear of Sutton. “Then I eased off to protect the tyres and stay off the kerbs. We were all pushing hard,” added Tandy after taking a nicely measured victory. Sutton knew that chasing Tandy to the flag was a good result for his title ambitions and he was able to fend off Jelley. “Nick is doing an extraordinarily good job; I thought I might be able to give him a race in the second half,” said Sutton. “James put up with the pressure very well,” added Jelley after taking the final podium place.
 
Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta) had run right behind Jelley for many laps before sliding off into the gravel at Druids and so Meadows (SAS/Redline) moved through to fourth with Kieran Vernon (Nationwide/Motorbase) and the recovering Gelzinis close behind. Out of this battle with a rear puncture went Richard Plant (Team Parker Racing) as Al Harthy and Butcher battled for second in Pro-Am1. Pierce was another to go out with a puncture.
 
The action was just as busy in Pro-Am2 as Brewster went ahead in the early stages. However, Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) and Webster (Redline Racing) chased hard and battled at just about every corner. Just as the three cars got very close together, Parish spun at Surtees and Webster was delayed, which allowed Brewster to rebuild his leading margin. Webster never stopped chasing on his way to second while Yucel Ozbek (Redline Racing) took third despite a spin at Paddock Hill Bend.
 
“That’s job done,” said Brewster. “I got a decent start and managed to avoid the melees. Thankfully we got it to the end.” Webster, meanwhile, lost his chance of challenging Brewster when Parish spun out of the race. “I had to back off big time when Steve spun,” confirmed Webster.

Jelley wins Carrera Cup GB round 17 at Brands Hatch

Media release: 1 October 2011

Source: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain
 
Stephen Jelley swept to victory in round 17 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch today (Sunday 2 October) to set up an incredibly close championship showdown with Michael Meadows and James Sutton over the final two races at Silverstone later this month.
 
From the start of the race, Nick Tandy (Nationwide/Motorbase) went clear, but a rear puncture ended his race after six laps and it was Jelley (Parker with Juta) who moved ahead to take a very important victory as Meadows (SAS/Redline) and Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta) completed the overall podium. When Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) went out with a puncture, Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline) took Pro-Am1 victory and the ‘driver of the weekend’ award. Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) drove a fine race to win Pro-Am2, while Celtic Speed clinched four podium finishes to earn the ‘team of the weekend’ award.
 
Tandy had everything under control at the head of the race until he plunged through Paddock Hill Bend for the seventh time. “As soon as I hit the compression at the bottom of the hill, just as I’ve done all weekend, the tyre went down,” said Tandy. “We think it might be a cut from a stone; it’s a disappointing end to a superb weekend.”
 
Jelley took over the lead and ran smoothly to the finish, but there was nearly disaster as he had a rear tyre go flat as the car stood in parc ferme after the race. “Someone was on my side today,” said Jelley who had battled hard to take second from Meadows at Surtees on the third lap. “It got a bit racy in the first couple of laps,” reported Jelley.
 
Meadows had to spend the whole race defending second from Hankey and there was only a third of a second between them at the flag. “I didn’t seem to have the pace at the start and that was when Jelley made the move,” said Meadows. Hankey was pleased to be back on the podium as they stretched away from the battle between Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) and Sutton (SAS/Redline). It was a strong run from Tordoff to fend off title contender Sutton as Kieran Vernon (Nationwide/Motorbase) chased them home to round out the top six.
 
Gelzinis ran fifth overall in the early laps but was another to fall foul of a rear puncture and pulled off to retire, leaving Al Harthy to head the class under pressure from Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed). Over the first half of the race Butcher attacked Al Harthy but little by little Al Harthy edged clear for an impressive victory. “It was so important to get this win; it’s exactly what I needed,” said Al Harthy. Alex Martin (Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker) was heading for third in Pro-Am1 after a fighting drive, but another puncture put him out on the penultimate lap and so George Richardson (Motorbase Performance) wrapped up the Pro-Am1 podium.
 
Denny was mighty in Pro-Am2 and won from the front as Yucel Ozbek (Redline Racing) fended off George Brewster (Celtic Speed) for second. “I had a good start and just drove as many qualifying laps as I could, and tried not to make any mistakes,” said Denny. “The team has worked so hard for this.” Ozbek had to race hard to hold off Brewster for second, while Keith Webster (Redline Racing) got ahead of Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) for fourth after a long battle.