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Stephen Jelley scored a hugely important victory in a superb round 10 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Snetterton today (Sunday, 7 August). After 14 laps of the Snetterton 300 circuit, little more than two seconds split the top five cars and victory for Jelley put him to the head of the title race.
Michael Meadows and impressive championship newcomer Ben Barker completed the overall podium, while the action continued all the way down the 25-car field. Jonas Gelzinis took Pro-Am1 as a fierce battle raged over second place, while Keith Webster beat George Brewster by less than half a second in Pro-Am2 after both had spins.
The 25-car field of 450bhp 911 GT3 Cup cars made a fabulous sight on the Snetterton grid and it was Meadows (SAS/Redline) who led the pack away from pole. However, into Agostini’s on the opening lap, Jelley (Parker with Juta) spotted a gap and dived ahead. “He left the door open and I went for it,” said Jelley. “I was a bit hesitant on the brakes,” said Meadows. Ben Hetherington (Oman Air/Redline) burst through to third place off the grid, but was adjudged to have jumped the start and had to take a drive through penalty.
As Jelley and Meadows settled into a rhythm at the head of the field, it was Barker (Parr Motorsport) who was on the move and, from sixth on the opening lap, he passed Richard Plant (Team Parker Racing) and Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta) to take third as Hetherington took his penalty. Once clear in third, Barker set about closing the gap to the leaders and set the fastest lap of the race as he reeled in Jelley and Meadows. With five laps to run, Barker made it a three-car contest for the lead and his arrival on Meadows’ tail gave Jelley a slight breathing space.
Then, into the closing laps, Plant and Hankey closed in as well to make a five-car train at the head of the race. Despite race-long pressure from Meadows, Jelley drove a superbly controlled race to take his third win of the season as well as the championship lead. “It was never comfortable and I thought that Ben Barker coming up might be a good thing for me,” said Jelley. “This could be an important weekend for the championship.”
Meadows held firm in second, while Barker starred with his drive to third place in such a competitive field. “I didn’t want to take any big risks,” said Barker. “The podium was good for me and I had a great car from Parr.” Plant had a fine run to fourth to match his best result of the season, while Hankey was right on his tail in fifth. Pro-Am1 winner Gelzinis (Juta Racing) was sixth overall ahead of former championship leader James Sutton (SAS/Redline) who just didn’t have the pace to make up any places.
Gelzinis was away and clear in Pro-Am1 and had to fend off Sutton in the early laps. “It was a bit difficult when Sutton was behind me but I managed to pull away,” said the Lithuanian racer. The battle for second and third in Pro-Am1 was far less settled, however, and a fierce contest raged between Derek Pierce (Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker), Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline), Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) and Freddy Nordstrom (GT Marques). Eventually, Al Harthy spun at Riches after contact with Martin and Pierce spun on the infield after a clash with Butcher and it was Martin who took second from Butcher as Daniele Perfetti (Motorbase Performance) took fourth from the recovering Pierce.
Pro-Am2 also delivered some drama as Yucel Ozbek (Redline Racing) Webster (Redline Racing) and Brewster (Celtic Speed) all had turns in the lead and all had spins. Eventually, Webster got ahead but it was close as Brewster fought back for second after a spin at Agostini’s and with Ozbek also spinning down the order it was Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) who took the final podium place. “Ozbek pulled off a brilliant move on me and then threw it off at the next corner,” said Webster. “The whole thing hinged on two mistakes; one by Keith and one by me,” said Brewster. “It was fantastic racing!”
Tags:911 GT3 Cup|Ahmad Al Harthy|Ben Barker|Ben Hetherington|Carrera Cup|Carrera Cup GB|Celtic Speed|Daniele Perfetti|Derek Pierce|Dextra/JD Pierce|Euan Hankey|Freddy Nordstrom|George Brewster|GT Marques|Jonas Gelzinis|Juta Racing|Keith Webster|Michael Meadows|Motorbase Performance|Oman Air/Redline|Parker with Juta|Parr Motorsport|Redline Racing|Richard Denny|Richard Plant|Rory Butcher|SAS/Redline|Snetterton|Stephen Jelley|Team Parker Racing|Yucel Ozbek
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