Jelley does the double to move into the championship leadPosted: August 10, 2011
The Parker with Juta ace did not have it all his own way in qualifying however, as SAS driver Michael Meadows took the pole position ahead of the former BTCC driver, while championship leader Sutton had a miserable qualifying in ninth.
From second, Jelley started his Snetterton demoltion after Meadows led the field away from the grid, Jelley grabbing the lead away from the pole sitter with a demon late-braking move into Agostini’s on the opening lap of the race. Scholarship winner Ben Hetherington was briefly in a strong third position having pushed past Richard Plant, but was given a drive through penalty for a jump start.
Ben Barker’s debut was impressive. Having started sixth he passed Plant and Euan Hankey to take a podium spot, and he later began to hunt down and pressure Meadows for second. This briefly gave Jelley vital breathing space out front, but in the closing laps his lead was less than a second.
Jelley hung on to the lead to win the race by 0.8s at the flag, but the top five were covered by only 2.3s as Meadows finished second ahead of Barker, Plant and Euan Hankey – in a new Parker chassis after his awful accident in the Porsche World Cup event – as the leaders’ tyres began to drop off in performance levels towards the end of the 14-lap race.
Jonas Gelzinis was in a class of his own to win Pro-Am 1, but second place was hard-fought between Derek Pierce, Ahmad Al Harthy, Rory Butcher and Alex Martin. Al Harthy was eliminated from contention after Martin spun him out, while Pierce also had a spin that delayed Butcher in the process. Martin was therefore second place in Pro-Am1, ahead of Butcher and Daniele Perfetti picking up the pieces for fourth.
Pro-Am 2 was an exciting contest for the lead between Yucel Ozbek (in Andrew Shelley’s car), Keith Webster and George Brewster. All would take turns leading and they all had their moments, but Webster would take the win from Brewster, while Ozbek was the big loser, dropping to fifth in class after his spin which handed Richard Denny third in class.
Race two was a similar story to the first in all classes, with Jelley storming off into the lead and going on to seal the double with a lights-to-flag victory ahead of Meadows. He did however have to defend his position in the early stages of the race, but made a perfect restart from a safety car period to clinch the double, 3.5s ahead of Meadows.
Behind them Plant drove defensively to a superb maiden podium finish of his first year in sportscars, having spent the majority of the race under intense pressure from the second SAS car of the now former championship leader Sutton, who couldn’t find a way past and topped off an unspectacular weekend with a fourth place finish.
Barker’s impressive weekend continued as he beat a train of cars including Hankey, Gelzinis, Hetherington, Sam Tordoff and a disappointed Michael Caine in 10th to the checkered flag on his way to fifth place. His Parr Motorsport team also claimed the team of the weekend award at Snetterton.
Pro-Am1 was an entertaining affair, ableit for second place a long way behind Gelzinis as Pierce held that position with Butcher, Al Harthy, and Martin all in hot pursuit. Pierce held grimly onto the spot until Butcher took it away at Agostini’s hairpin, while Al Harthy saw a gap but glanced off the side of Pierce as they exited the corner.
The group remained tightly bunched and the pair made more severe contact in a tangle later in the race when Pierce locked his brakes after Al Harthy got his nose in front and pitched the Oman driver into a spin.
Pro-Am2 was also frenetic as driver of the weekend Webster again won the class but in dramatic fashion as team-mate Ozbek lead the race but with the pack, lead by Webster, closing on him through Corum for the last time, before a mistake into the final corner of the race at Murray’s by Ozbek gave Webster a gap which he slipped his Porsche through to steal the class win. The dejected Ozbek finished second ahead of a recovering Steve Parish, whilst early points leader in class Brewster dropped out with mechanical problems.
Championship standings after rounds 10/11:
|Pro-Am 1 standings:||Points|
|Ahmad Al Harthy||51|
|Pro-Am 2 standings:||Points|