Tandy is dominant as Sutton claims second Porsche Carrera GB titlePosted: October 20, 2011
Motorbase and Nick Tandy were unbeatable at the season finale of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Silverstone, but the story was that James Sutton overturned his team-mate Michael Meadows in the championship for his second series crown.
The championship had gone down to the wire and with the SAS pairing of Sutton and Meadows seperated by such a small margain it was down to the pair to battle it out, and Sutton drove perfectly on both days to outpace his team-mate on his way to snatching the title.
Qualifying was all about Tandy as the Porsche Supercup frontrunner put in two blistering laps that beat Meadows to pole, while the title contending pair both took a second and third apiece for the races.
When the lights went out for Sunday’s first race, Tandy got his Motorbase Porsche rolling perfectly to lead the monster 27-car pack into Copse, with Sutton gaining the edge over his team-mate by jumping Meadows into the first corner.
From then on the top three were pushing as hard as they could around the National circuit, with Meadows keeping close to Sutton’s rear bumper but never looking close enough to make an overtaking move on his team-mate.
The race really got interesting when fourth-placed Stephen Jelley, also very much a championship contender, closed up and caught the SAS/Redline cars, but on lap 20 he lost control of his car on his own fluids at Becketts after contact on the previous lap with Meadows’ car broke a radiator and meant his Parker with Juta machine dropped fluid all around the track.
This lead to some nervy moments for everybody, none more so than the Pro-Am2 class runners as Keith Webster and Yucel Ozbek spun on the slippery surface at Brooklands, handing the lead to class points leader George Brewster who had fought his way through the pack to extend his points lead slightly over Webster who almost caught him on the final lap.
“With the water on the track it was more like Mario Kart!” said Sutton afterwards.
Tandy’s performance at the front was as classy as it comes; he put the hammer down late on to stretch out a gap of 3.480s to claim the opening race win of the day, with Sutton finishing a comfortable second ahead of Meadows in a distant third, holding onto the championship lead.
Sam Tordoff finished an impressive fourth place for team Parker, while Pro-Am1 was comfortably won by class champion Jonas Gelzinis who finished fifth ahead of Euan Hankey and Richard Plant in sixth and seventh. Pro-Am1 drivers wrapped up t
Race two was set up to be a battle between the SAS team-mates, and as Tandy made another untroubled getaway to lead at the start, Sutton held his position to follow the Motorbase driver into Copse in second palce ahead of Meadows crucially.
The field then lost Rory Butcher in a mess heading into Luffield, which sent many drivers scattering in the process, Tautvydas Barstys also retiring a lap afterwards.
Second would be enough for Sutton to win the championship, and Meadows was all too aware of that and began to up his pace and pour some pressure onto the 2007 champion.
Sutton drove every lap very accurately however and Meadows could not quite find the opportunity to attack for the position, and sadly the battle was then ended prematurely when the unlucky Meadows sufferred a puncture, ending his championship hopes there and then.
Tandy as again unstoppable and took his third win in only four races contended by a lifetime of a massive 16-second victory margain over Sutton, with second enough to secure the 2011 championship.
Tandy congratualated Sutton and his own Motorbase team afterwards: “Well done to James and SAS Redline, they’ve done a good job over the season but us and Motorbase did a good job today.”
When asked whether he would like to race with Motorbase he said: “You’ll probably have to wait till next year now! I think the one that I’d really like to do is Touring Cars so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Newly-crowned champion Sutton was relieved and overjoyed with his title win, telling pit reporter Alan Hyde: “Michael was extraordinarily quick today and Nick is always going to be quick, so it was hard to try and maintain the gap between them both. It’s a very good feeling.”
The final podium place went to 2011 Porsche Scholarship winner Benji Hetherington, who ended a strong maiden season with a well-deserved first rostrum of his year which saw him earn the driver of the weekend award.
Another impressive 2011 rookie, Richard Plant, came fourth ahead of Pro-Am1 winner Jonas Gelzinis, the Lithuanian taking a 13th class win of the season.
Sixth was Stephen Jelley, whose eventful weekend continued when he started ninth but fought his way past a number of cars up to fourth place. He then tried to make a move on Meadows for third but spun after making slight contact with the back of the blue and silver car and dropped to sixth overall.
An impressive seventh was Pro-Am1 driver George Richardson who got the better of Ahmad Al Harthy, while series returnee Michael Leonard took ninth ahead of Sam Tordoff completing the top 10.
In Pro-Am2, championship leader Brewster had a nightmare race which started when Richard Denny hit him at Becketts and sent the pair spinning, also giving the Celtic Speed driver a puncture that put him a lap behind.
After another spin this time at Copse by himself, he did manage to fight back to fourth in class, which was enough to give him the Pro-Am2 title despite main rival Webster winning the class comfortably from Steve Parish and Denny.
Final championship standings:
|Pro-Am 1 standings:||Points|
|Ahmad Al Harthy||97|
|Pro-Am 2 standings:||Points|