27 July 2019
Rain dancers Chamberlain and FF Corse take Saturday wins at Snetterton
Richard Chamberlain and FF Corse were the big winners on Saturday afternoon as the GT Cup Championship returned to Snetterton's 300 circuit for the third meeting of the 2019 season in changeable conditions.
Mother nature stayed clear in an exciting sprint race, won by the CTR Developments Porsche 935 of Chamberlain after fending off FF Corse's Dan de Zille. The rain came in time for the endurance race however, leading to a strategic call on tyre choice that proved pivotal to the success of Laki Christoforou and A1 GP champion, Adam Carroll.
Team HARD enjoyed a double GTA win with Kris Prosser and Steven Chandler, while GTB spoils went to David Frankland initially and later Del Shelton, the latter's wet tyre call for race two paying dividends. GTH wins were shared between the JMH McLaren of Steve Ruston and Brent Millage's Porsche Cayman, while in GTO Jamie Stanley and John Seale recovered from last to first in the endurance race after Chamberlain's earlier success.
With an updated Ferrari 488 Challenge now at their disposal, the father/son combination of Graham and Dan de Zille grabbed their first pole position of the season thanks to the latter in drying conditions for FF Corse. Chamberlain joined the Ferrari man on the front row, while Steve Ruston grabbed a tightly-contested GTH pole position behind the GTA group pace-setter, Kris Prosser. Top Cats Racing returned with a pair of Marcos Mantis machines, Sander Mortensen best of them in qualifying.
Chamberlain added a fifth victory of the season as dry conditions finally greeted the field in Norfolk, helped by the Porsche 935 making a lightning start to leapfrog Dan de Zille’s Ferrari heading into Riches.
De Zille chased his man until the bitter end, briefly squeezing by at Brundle only for Chamberlain to fight back a corner later, hanging on for overall and GTO spoils in the 25-minute encounter.
Tom Webb’s newly-liveried Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo took a hard-fought third overall and second in GTC behind group winners de Zille and FF Corse, while JMH Automotive could celebrate another win for its championship-leading McLaren 570 in the hands of Ruston. GTA went the way of the flying Prosser in the Team HARD Ginetta G55, while the ever-improving David Frankland added another win to his mantle in GTB with his 24/7 Motorsport Porsche.
A second shower of the day struck moments before the start of the weekend’s first endurance race, creating a thrilling and unpredictable 50-minute contest. Several cars opted for a gamble on wet tyres, and it proved the correct decision, in particular for the FF Corse duo of Laki Christoforou and Adam Carroll.
A spin on the warm-up lap for the former made the call to move to wets easier, and Christoforou subsequently carved through the field to grab the lead from a wet tyre-shod Del Shelton in the second half of the race - the first overall win of the season for the GTC pairing.
Shelton was the underdog hero in his BMW E36, leading for much of the early stages of the race as cars flocked to the pits to discard their struggling slicks. Although swallowed up later in the race, seventh overall was enough to take a hard-fought GTB win for Geoff Steel Racing.
Jamie Stanley battled from the back in a repaired JMH Automotive Lamborghini Huracan to win group GTO, finishing a fine fourth with John Seale. GTA went the way of rookie Steven Chandler and sprint winner Prosser for Team HARD, while the GTH honours went to Spy Motorsport’s Brent Millage in the team’s new Porsche Cayman.
#27 Adam Carroll:
“It always happens doesn’t it? It rains at the wrong time, and that’s just a great part of motor racing. You’ve just got to go with it. Laki made the right call and with warm tyres and slicks, it has to get really wet to give you a disadvantage. In my experience, nine times out of 10 slicks comes off better, but today it was wets that were better. He made the right choice, and drove really well.”
#27 Laki Christoforou:
“I felt there wasn’t enough grip on the slicks, so when I was facing the wrong direction on the warm-up lap I though ‘now’s the time to change the tyres!’ I came into the pits, and I knew I had to make the most of the lost ground. I enjoyed it a lot, and it was the right call.”
#71 Del Shelton:
“It’s a mega result for all the boys, and our last-minute call was brilliant, using a magic weather app that we might need to keep secret! The team defnitely deserve it at Geoff Steel Racing and they’ve put a lot of work in to keep the car going.”
#54 Brent Millage:
“I’m not normally a rain man, but the car was great in the race. It was slip-sliding, but it was manageable. We struggled for pace in the dry this morning getting the heat into the tyres, but now we can hope it pours down tomorrow!”
#79 Kris Prosser:
“The start was probably the hardest bit, especially judging the first two warm-up laps before the race and how slippy it was. We needed to know just how much you could push the car, and a few cars did have a spin. I had a good battle with a few of the GTB cars, and we were three or four abreast and almost ice skating at times. It makes you realise just how much more grip you have with a wet tyre in those conditions.”
#55 Jamie Stanley:
“It’s been more about getting the most points we can this weekend after this morning. At about half 10 this morning we though our weekend was over, but the guys worked hard to get the car back out there.”