Tuesday 12 June 2012

Sam Tordoff scores first victory in Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Oulton Park

  • Leeds ace Tordoff drove faultlessly from pole to win round seven
  • Michael Meadows consolidated his Championship lead with victory in round eight
  • Victor Jimenez and Oly Mortimer take debut Pro-Am1 wins
  • Will Goff scores double triumph in Pro-Am2

In a day of action-packed racing in front of a capacity crowd, Sam Tordoff and Michael Meadows were the big winners in rounds seven and eight of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire on Sunday. The colourful grid of identical 450 hp flat-six Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars made an impressive sight under sunny skies after wet practice and qualifying sessions.

Round seven
Sam Tordoff was the star of the race in round seven of the Carrera Cup GB as the young Yorkshireman drove a faultless race under constant pressure to take his first win in the Championship. Tordoff (Leeds) won from pole while Meadows (Banbury) and Jonas Gelzinis (Lithuania) battled hard for second-place as they raced nose-to-tail around the picturesque parkland circuit. Victor Jimenez (Spain) raced to the head of Pro-Am1, while Will Goff (Dereham) took a commanding win in Pro-Am2.

Tordoff set the seal on his victory with a great start, but it was only in the final five laps that he could even start to relax as Meadows and Gelzinis were a constant threat. But Tordoff never put a wheel wrong and controlled the race superbly as Meadows had to balance attacking for the lead with defending against a persistent attack from Gelzinis.

That was fantastic,” said Tordoff after a breakthrough victory. “I got a great start and Michael never really got close enough to mount a serious challenge. I had that bit of a cushion, but it was pressure all the way.”

In turn, Meadows had to contend with the challenge of Gelzinis and, in the closing stages, they were side-by-side several times as the Lithuanian driver attacked. Eventually, Meadows was able to secure second place, but Gelzinis was less than half a second behind at the flag.

We were all quick in different places,” said Meadows. “Unless I got past Sam in the first two laps I was never going to overtake him. Off the racing line, the track was very dirty.”
Behind the leading trio, Porsche Carrera Cup Scholar Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield) ran a close fourth initially, but dropped back a little and was being caught over the closing laps by Rory Butcher (Kirkcaldy) after Butcher charged ahead of Ben Barker (Cambridge).

Derek Pierce (West Kilbride) made the early running in Pro-Am1, but a sideways moment at the Island Hairpin dropped him behind Jimenez. “My own fault,” said Pierce. “I missed the blip on the down change into second and Victor was beside me.” Once through, Jimenez eased away as Pierce had to defend second place from Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman). With a storming opening salvo, Al Harthy got onto Pierce’s bumper, but that was how they stayed as Pierce never allowed his rival any opportunity.

In Pro-Am2, Tautvydas Barstys (Lithuania) led away from pole but an early spin at Cascades cost him time and put Goff clear at the head of the category. “Everything was fine,” said Goff. “But the gym programme starts on Monday,” he added with a smile after 18 tough laps of Oulton Park.

Round seven results:
Pro category: 1 Sam Tordoff; 2 Michael Meadows; 3 Jonas Gelzinis
Pro-Am1 category: 1 Victor Jimenez; 2 Derek Pierce; 3 Ahmad Al Harthy
Pro-Am2 category: 1 Will Goff; 2 Tautvydas Barstys

Round eight
Meadows made it five wins from eight races when, in an incident-packed round eight, he fended off the challenge of Gelzinis as round seven winner Tordoff battled back to third place.

With two separate incidents of coolant being dropped on the track, the conditions were very challenging and fortunes changed lap by lap. In Pro-Am1, Oly Mortimer (Edinburgh) held off a big late attack from Al Harthy to win, while Goff completed a double Pro-Am2 victory as category rival Barstys slid off at Druids corner.

Meadows converted his pole position start into a first lap lead from Lloyd and Gelzinis, but Tordoff was squeezed wide on the exit of the first corner and dropped to fifth place behind Glynn Geddie (Aberdeen). However, part way round the opening lap, Michael Leonard (Dublin) damaged a front radiator and dropped coolant.

On the second lap, the leaders hit the coolant at Knickerbrook chicane and Lloyd had a big moment. Geddie suffered even more and bounced across the gravel, losing many places in the process. That drama allowed Meadows and Gelzinis to go clear at the front of the race, as Tordoff battled into third from the recovering Lloyd and Butcher.

Up front, Meadows controlled the race but more coolant was dropped six laps later when Geddie damaged a radiator. Meadows had a big moment across the grass at Knickerbrook as a result and a lap later Gelzinis did the same thing, so that the gap between them remained static. Steadily, Meadows then extended his lead from Gelzinis, while Tordoff closed the gap in third before Gelzinis responded to hold the place.

That’s been a tough weekend,” said Meadows, who consequently extended his Championship lead to 34 points. “The coolant caused havoc, but it worked in my favour. On one lap I ended up bouncing across the grass, but luckily Jonas did the same thing.”

Tordoff, meanwhile, was named ‘Driver of the Weekend’ and reckoned the race had been tougher than the earlier encounter. “We were all driving on different lines to try and avoid the coolant,” he said. Butcher worked ahead of Lloyd to complete a strong weekend with fourth place.

Despite feeling decidedly unwell, Mortimer drove a superb race to win Pro-Am1 and fended off Pro racer Barker for many laps. Once Barker found a way ahead, Mortimer came under increasing pressure from Al Harthy, who had started at the back of the grid as a penalty for taking new tyres for the race. Al Harthy stormed up the order and closed in on Mortimer, before mounting a persistent attack over the closing stages.

I got a clear track on the first lap,” said Mortimer after clinching his victory. “That’s the hardest race I’ve ever had.” Al Harthy, meanwhile, had raced from 17th to ninth in a race full of drama. “I had to push hard and I had to take the coolant as an advantage,” he said. “I’m really happy with that.” Pierce had been running with Al Harthy until losing ground on the coolant, but still took the final podium place in Pro-Am1.

In Pro-Am2, Goff raced home unopposed once Barstys slid into the tyre wall, but it was still a testing race. “It was very slippery,” said Goff. “It had just cleared and then more went down.”

Round eight results:
Pro category: 1 Michael Meadows; 2 Jonas Gelzinis; 3 Sam Tordoff
Pro-Am1 category: 1 Oly Mortimer; 2 Ahmad Al Harthy; 3 Derek Pierce
Pro-Am2 category: 1 Will Goff

The next rounds of the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship takes place at Croft, in North Yorkshire, on June 23/24.

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