SAM TORDOFF SETS THE CARRERA CUP GB PACE AT SNETTERTON
- Leeds youngster Sam Tordoff scores a commanding pair of victories at Snetterton, Norfolk
- Michael Meadows bags two second places to maintain Championship lead
- Victor Jimenez and Ahmad Al Harthy share Pro-Am1 spoils
- Pro-Am2 wins shared between Championship newcomer Fraser O’Brien and Will Goff
Sam Tordoff dominated rounds 11 and 12 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Snetterton on Sunday (12 August) winning both races from pole position with a faultless performance. Championship leader Michael Meadows chased Tordoff throughout, but had to settle for second ahead of series debutant Andy Meyrick who impressed with a podium finish in his first Porsche Carrera Cup race.
The colourful grid of identical 450 hp flat-six Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars put on an impressive show in the Norfolk sunshine for both the spectators trackside and viewers on ITV4, with action all the way through the field. Victor Jimenez and Ahmad Al Harthy (Pro-Am1) and Fraser O’Brien and Will Goff (Pro-Am2) each raced to victory in their respective categories.
Tordoff (Leeds) took control of the race as soon as the starting lights went out and headed the field from the opening lap. Unfortunately, already missing from the pack was fourth place qualifier Ben Barker (Cambridge) after a water pipe detached on the formation lap and he was obliged to sit out the race. Meanwhile, Meadows (Banbury) slotted into second and knew that his best chance was to attack Tordoff on the crucial first lap.
“My start wasn’t strong and there was not much more I could do,” he said afterwards. “The pace was too even to do anything.”
With a lead of nearly a second after lap one, Tordoff was able to control the race from the front and drove superbly to never put a wheel wrong. He took his lead to around two seconds and was never seriously troubled. “Fantastic, I can’t ask for any more. It’s just clicking this weekend and the car has been perfect,” he said after the race.
Behind Tordoff and Meadows, Andy Meyrick (Chester) and Jonas Gelzinis (Lithuania) ran in close company for many laps in the battle for third. However, on lap nine Gelzinis had a half spin at Agostini’s bend and as he rejoined he inadvertently clipped Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman). Meyrick was delighted to complete the podium after his first Carrera Cup race. “It was mega fun, but I didn’t get the best of starts,” he reflected.
The delay to Gelzinis elevated the contest between Rory Butcher (Kirkcaldy) and Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield) to fourth place, and Lloyd grabbed the spot on the final lap after a long pursuit.
Contact on the opening lap between Derek Pierce (West Kilbride) and Michael Leonard (Ireland) saw them drop back and ensured Al Harthy led Pro-Am1 from Jimenez (Spain) and Oly Mortimer (Edinburgh). It was all looking good for Al Harthy, until he was left with nowhere to go as Gelzinis rejoined the track after a spin. Damage to the frustrated Al Harthy’s car cost him victory and put him out of the race. Gelzinis was later excluded from the results and penalised four Championship points.
Instead, Jimenez took over to win Pro-Am1 from the chasing Mortimer and Keith Webster (Liphook) moved up to third for his first Pro-Am1 podium. “I’m very happy: it was a difficult race,” said the Spanish racer. Mortimer raced hard but had a major handicap over the closing stages after a lens fell out of his glasses and he to drive with full vision in only one eye.
O’Brien (Abergavenny) made a great start to his Carrera Cup campaign by winning Pro-Am2 with an assured performance. The teenager chased the tail of the Pro-Am1 pack before making sure of a category victory and accumulating valuable race experience. “I was just trying to bed myself in,” he said. Local driver Will Goff (Dereham) dived ahead of Tania Mann (Shenfield) at the start to lay claim to second place at the flag.
Round eleven results:
Pro category: 1 Sam Tordoff; 2 Michael Meadows; 3 Andy Meyrick. Pro-Am1 category: 1 Victor Jimenez; 2 Oly Mortimer; 3 Keith Webster. Pro-Am2 category: 1 Fraser O’Brien; 2 Will Goff; 3 Tania Mann.
“Another great start, which is not like me,” said Tordoff after building an immediate lead in the day’s second race. “That was the key; I knew Ben Barker would keep Michael busy.” Sure enough, while Tordoff was able to measure his pace at the front, Meadows had to focus more on defending from Barker.
That was the story of the race as Tordoff drove faultlessly to take his second win of the day. Meadows had Barker as a constant shadow in the contest for second, but despite several late race attacks Barker could not find a way through.
“It was tough and I had to drive defensively some of the time,” said Meadows. “But I’ll settle for two seconds as we were never quite on it this weekend.” Barker, meanwhile, bagged a podium, but had hoped for more. “We had really good pace but Michael defended a good race,” he said.
Meyrick always ran fourth, but a flat-spotted tyre ensured that he could not go after the second place contest. In turn, he was able to edge away from the battling trio of Gelzinis, Butcher and Lloyd. A late tangle when Lloyd got crossed up under braking and tagged Butcher into a spin broke the pack up. Lloyd was later penalised for the incident and put back behind Butcher in the amended results.
Al Harthy chased the Pro drivers to score a resounding Pro-Am1 victory and make up for the earlier disappointment of being knocked out of the first race. “I’ve had a very good weekend apart from the Gelzinis incident,” said the Omani racer. “We had very good pace.”
Jimenez bagged second in Pro-Am1 from Mortimer. With two fighting drives to the podium on very limited funds, Mortimer was awarded the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award, while GT Marques earned the ‘Team of the Weekend’ award. Goff claimed Pro-Am2 spoils on his home track after a great drive. “I absolutely nailed the start,” he said. Then, category rival O’Brien attacked into Riches corner but spun and that sent Goff away clear. “I saw him coming in pretty hot,” said Goff, after giving O’Brien racing room. O’Brien recovered to finish second in Pro-Am2 from Mann.
Round twelve results:
Pro category: 1 Sam Tordoff; 2 Michael Meadows; 3 Ben Barker. Pro-Am1 category: 1 Ahmad Al Harthy; 2 Victor Jimenez; 3 Oly Mortimer. Pro-Am2 category: 1 Will Goff; 2 Fraser O’Brien; 3 Tania Mann.
Sam Tordoff’s performance at Snetterton has narrowed Michael Meadows’ Championship lead to 36 points, as the Porsche Carrera Cup GB prepares to travel north to the challenging Knockhill circuit in the scenic countryside of Fife, Scotland, on August 25-26.