911 in Motorsport: ELMS & Carrera Cup GB report
Porsche 911 maestro Nick Tandy helped Proton Competition to their first victory of the 2013 ELMS season at a wet Hungaroring. Meanwhile, at Rockingham circuit (in Northamptonshire, UK) Rory Butcher took a fine double victory in the Porsche Carrera Cub GB encounters.
For round four of the 2013 European Le Mans Series, the competitors were greeted with heavy rain for the morning qualifying session. The low grip made the circuit treacherously slippery, with many cars spinning on the large puddles of standing water.
Despite a couple of spins, Nick Tandy initially ran second during the standalone GT qualifying session. However, the GT3-specification GTC cars proved faster as the session wore on, their ABS brakes providing a definitive advantage into the corners.
While the Dunlop-shod GTE Ferrari of Andrea Bertolini was able to challenge the GTC cars, the rest of the GTE class were battling for the minor positions. Tandy continued to improve throughout the session to finish as the lead Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, second in class.
Jean-Karl Vernay saw off the challenge of Emmanuel Collard to place the IMSA Performance 911 just ahead of the similar Prospeed Competition GT3 RSR.
Come the race, the circuit was still wet. However, the rain had desisted, ensuring that the track would dry throughout the three hours of racing ahead.
During the opening stint, Vernay continued to show the speed that he has shown in his debut Porsche Supercup campaign. The Frenchman worked his way to the head of the GTE class, as the GTC cars fell back down the field in the improved conditions.
However, the IMSA Performance car was not long for the head of the class, Vernay overtaking under a yellow flag and gaining a one-minute penalty in the process.
The RAM Racing Ferrari 458 Italia was also called in for an unscheduled pitstop to replace a broken wing mirror. This elevated Tandy to first place, as the talented Brit worked his way through the GTE runners during the middle stint of the race.
From here on in, Proton Competition managed the transition from wet tyres to intermediates perfectly, while some of their competitors waited too long to make the change on a rapidly drying track.
Klaus Bachler put in a solid performance after taking over from Tandy, building on the Porsche’s lead and providing Christian Ried with a healthy advantage as the final stint started.
Ried was able to bring the car home a lap ahead of the closest RAM Racing Ferrari. Moreover, the black and silver Porsche 911 finished an impressive seventh overall.
Collard showed an impressive turn of speed to hand the Prospeed Porsche 911 GT3 RSR over to François Perrodo just 22 seconds behind Tandy. However, the car faded during the second half of the race as the Ferraris recovered from their various delays.
Despite this, the car finished ahead of the IMSA Performance 911, the pair of GT3 RSRs coming home fourth and fifth in the GTE class.
Carrera Cup GB
After a trying season, Rory Butcher grabbed his first victory of the 2013 season, only to swiftly follow it up with a second in the following encounter at the Rockingham Speedway, near Corby in Northamptonshire.
In race one, championship leader Michael Meadows initially led the way, having jumped ahead of pole man, Daniel Lloyd. However, on lap 12, Meadows saw his hopes slip away as he touched a wet kerb at Gracelands, spinning into the barriers and into retirement.
This left Butcher, who had passed Lloyd on lap four, to take up the lead and the Scot duly romped away as light rain continued to fall. Behind, Lloyd retired with two laps to run, leaving Jonas Gelzinis to finish second and close in on Meadows in the title race.
For the second race, rain required all competitors to start on wet tyres. However as the laps counted down, the drying circuit ate away at the treaded rubber, leaving the majority of drivers to make the most of a bad hand.
Butcher managed his tyres to perfection though, withstanding enormous pressure from Lloyd in the early stages.
Lloyd’s tyres eventually fell away, leaving Butcher to take the chequered flag, as Gelzinis finished a distant third.
Meadows initially struggled with his repaired car’s handling before pitting for slick tyres as the track dried. A concerted charge through the field netted him fourth place.
The Porsche Carrera Cup GB now heads to Silverstone for the penultimate round of the season on 28 and 29 September.