911 in Motorsport: Porsche Carrera Cup GB final round report

Michael Meadows has topped the class of 2013, adding to his 2012 title.
Michael Meadows has topped the class of 2013, adding to his 2012 title.

In torrential conditions, where an ark would have been more appropriate than a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Michael Meadows became the first person since Damian Faulkner in 2006 to successfully defend his Porsche Carrera Cup GB title.

The final meeting of the year, held on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, marked the last appearance of the current 997-type car in the Carrera Cup GB. In its swansong, Rory Butcher and Dean Stoneman took a win apiece.

Friday’s free practice sessions saw Stoneman top the timesheets however, come qualifying, it was championship leader Meadows who was setting the pace on the now-dry track, with the Samsung Smart Motorsport driver taking both pole positions.

Butcher would line up second for the pair of encounters, as the top five drivers all lapped under Nick Tandy’s lap record. Meadows’ poles extended his advantage over Jonas Gelzinis to 19 points, as the Lithuanian wound up fourth and fifth.

Rory Butcher Brands Hatch GP
This looks more like 10 o’clock at night, rather than 10am, but Butcher survived the gloom to win again.

As the penultimate round of the 2013 season got underway, you would have been forgiven for thinking that this was a night race, such was the lack of light available to the Porsche 911 racers.

However, in the gloom, Butcher made a storming start to race into the lead as the pack splashed its way through the first corner. Stoneman had made a similarly lightning start to challenge the Scot into Paddock Hill corner only to run wide and allow Meadows back through into second.

Butcher was quick to escape the pack in his Celtic Speed machine, finishing the second tour 3.3 seconds ahead of Meadows, who was now coming under increasing levels of pressure from Stoneman.

On lap four, the latter’s efforts bore fruit, with Meadows relenting. Unfortunately for Stoneman, the treacherous rivers that often form at Graham Hill Bend would prove his undoing as, on lap six, his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup would find itself in the barriers.

Butcher's successful second half of the season secured third in the championship.
Butcher’s successful second half of the season secured third in the championship.

This promoted Meadows back into second, only for the championship leader now to find championship rival Gelzinis prowling around behind his rear wing. When the Lithuanian drew level on the run down to Hawthorns, Meadows didn’t put up a fight, instead choosing to stay out of trouble in third.

By this point, Butcher was over 11 seconds up the road, the gap extending to 12.4 seconds next time around on lap nine. Try as he might, Porsche International Scholarship candidate, Gelzinis couldn’t close the gap, having to settle for second.

Butcher took the flag 7.4 seconds ahead after backing off over the final two tours. “I can’t believe I won by that much”, exclaimed the Scot. “It was pretty tough. The car was spinning up and sliding in a straight line. There was a lot of standing water.”

Meadows would come home a distant third as Gelzinis ensured the championship battle would go down to the final round.

Meadows stayed out of trouble all weekend, enjoying an especially lonely second race.
Meadows stayed out of trouble all weekend, enjoying an especially lonely second race.

Daniel Lloyd, in the KX-backed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, had a lonely race, predominantly battling the conditions rather than his fellow competitors, as Victor Jimenez took another Pro-Am1 win (and fifth place overall).

With Meadows just needing to finish to win the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship, the Samsung Smart Motorsport driver elected to start from the pit lane in order to stay out of trouble on the opening laps.

This allowed the fast-starting Daniel Lloyd to race through from third to take the lead on the opening lap, followed by Stoneman and Butcher (the latter losing part of his front bumper in the first corner commotion).

Lloyd looked comfortably set to take his second win of the year only for Stoneman to start closing the gap in the final laps of the race.

At the scene of his season-opening double win, Stoneman took his fifth Carrera Cup victory of 2013.
At the scene of his season-opening double win, Stoneman took his fifth Carrera Cup victory of 2013.

As the duo started the final lap, Stoneman was only three-tenths in arrears, cutting to inside on the run out of Paddock Hill corner. Into Druids hairpin, Stoneman made contact with Lloyd, sending the Scholarship driver into a spin.

Stoneman therefore took the flag 2.3 seconds ahead of the recovering Lloyd, with Butcher taking his second podium of the weekend, this time in third. The Scot’s performance across the two races gave him the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award, rounding off a successful second half of the season for him.

Gelzinis would finish fifth, behind Pro-Am1 winner, Dan de Zille, with Meadows completing his gentle run to the title in sixth.

“It was one of those races where it was greasy and a bit messy and hard to win it”, explained the 2013 champion. “So, I went for the points.  There have been plenty of lows and plenty of highs this season, and this has been the best one of all.”

The battle between Meadows and Gelzinis has been close, but always fair, throughout 2013.
The battle between Meadows and Gelzinis has been close, but always fair, throughout 2013.

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