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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:17 pm    Post subject: 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Season Review Reply with quote

James Sutton came out on top in a three way championship battle in the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, winning his second series title in a year that saw the one-make championship produce close, exciting racing from huge grids.



Leading the way over the course of the campaign were the SAS/Redline team, consisting of 2007 series champion Sutton and Michael Meadows, one of the two winners of the 2010 Porsche Scholarship. Sutton started the year in great form, taking eight consecutive podium finishes in the first four meetings including three wins on the bounce at Thruxton and Oulton Park. Meadows stayed close though, not finishing outside the top five in the first eight races, taking a maiden series win at Donington Park.

Meadow’s consistency continued throughout the year, with him finishing every race of the season, ending up outside the top six just once and picking up a total of eleven podiums including two wins. This meant he headed into the final weekend leading the championship standings, but he was pipped on the final weekend at Silverstone by Sutton, who took two second places to end the year as champion with a tally of fourteen podiums to his name, including his three wins from early in the season.

Also in the championship fight heading into the final rounds of the year was Stephen Jelley. A win in the second race of the year set the tone for the Parker with Juta racer, Jelley taking four wins and seven other podiums over the course of the season. Two retirements proved to be his downfall though, more than either of his championship rivals, including one in the penultimate race of the season at Silverstone.



Also suffering from retirement woes was his team-mate Euan Hankey. The other of the 2010 Porsche Scholarship winners ended the year with three retirements to his name, leaving him fourth in the championship standings. This was despite Hankey picking up five race wins, more than any of his rivals, including a three race winning streak at Knockhill and Rockingham.



The beginning of the 2011 season saw the introduction of a new 911 GT3 Cup car and a change to the weight rules for the series. Losing out due to these were Carrera Cup veterans and long-time sparring partners Michael Caine and Tim Harvey.

2008 and 2010 series vice-champion Caine competed in the first ten races of the season before pulling out, the Nationwide/Motorbase driver’s best results being a pair of fourth places at Oulton Park. Team-mate Harvey lasted less through, the two times series champion and two times vice-champion competing in just six races before leaving prior to the Oulton Park weekend, having picked up just one podium finish on the opening weekend at Brands Hatch and a handful of sixth place finishes.

Harvey returned three weeks later for a final appearance of the year, in the biggest race of the season, the Porsche Carrera World Cup race around the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife. Harvey used all his experience to end the prestigious event as the top British series finisher, nineteenth overall in the 98 car field.



While Harvey bowed out of the championship after seven years in the one-make series, on the other end of the timeline were a group of drivers making their Porsche Carrera Cup debuts, with Richard Plant, Sam Tordoff and Benji Hetherington being the stand out rookies.

Team Parker Racing’s Plant took fifth place in the championship standings after a strong maiden season. Consistency proved the key for the Yorkshireman, Plant taking sixteen top eight finishes in nineteen races, including a maiden podium finish at Snetterton.

Both Team Parker’s Tordoff and Redline’s Hetherington also ended the year with one podium finishes to their name. Former Clio Cup racer Tordoff took his rostrum finish in style with third at the Nurburgring, the Yorkshireman also picking up three fourth place finishes. Ex-Ginetta racer Hetherington, the 2011 Porsche Scholarship winner, improved throughout the year and made his podium visit in the final race of the year at Silverstone.

With both Harvey and Caine having left Motorbase during the campaign, there seats were left vacant and ended up being filled by Kieran Vernon and Nick Tandy. Vernon, who had won the Scholarship alongside Hetherington but had to miss the start of the year with budget problems, took Harvey’s Nationwide-backed seat from Oulton onwards and after getting up to speed, showed glimpses of what may have been with three top six finishes.

Porsche superstar Tandy joined the series for the final two meetings and showed his class with some dominant displays. The Porsche Supercup regular, who went on to win the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland title this year, took three wins in four races, with the other race seeing him set to win before a puncture. Also making a brief foray into the series and impressing was Australian Porsche Carrera Cup regular Ben Barker. The British racer took two podium finishes, one apiece at Snetterton and Knockhill.



Pro-Am1

The Pro-Am1 category was dominated by Lithuanian Jonas Gelzinis. The Juta Racing driver wrapped up the class title a weekend early after a great year that saw him take twelve class wins and regularly challenge at the front of the field, taking nine top six finishes, including a best result of fourth at Donington Park

Behind, a close battle for second in class emerged between young Scotsman Rory Butcher and Omani driver Ahmad Al Harthy. Celtic Speed’s Butcher started the year well and crept over the line ahead of Redline Oman Air’s Al Harthy, thanks in part to a superb fourth overall of the British runners at the Nurburgring and three class wins. Also impressing in Pro-Am1 was Derek Pierce, the Scotsman taking a class win on home soil at Knockhill.



Pro-Am2

George Brewster won a hard fought battle with Keith Webster to take the honours in Pro-Am2, capping off a strong season for his Celtic Speed team. Scotsman Brewster took eight class wins over the year, but only secured the championship honours in the final race of the season at Silverstone, fighting back from a puncture to take fourth in class and secure enough points for the title.

Redline’s Webster ended up just five points adrift after a strong year saw him take four class wins. In a competitive class, five different drivers took wins, with Richard Denny, Andrew Shelley and Yucel Ozbek also tasting success. Turkish racer Ozbek was a real revelation after joining the series for the second half of the season, taking six class podiums, including two wins, in the ten races he competed in.


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