Porsche Carrera Cup GB 2013 season review part two
The 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season, like the 2012 season that preceded it, finished with Michael Meadows securing the championship. However, the way in which the 26-year-old Briton secured his second successive title differed quite dramatically.
With a host of exclusive photos, and onboard videos, Total 911 brings you part two of the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season review. If you haven’t read part one, you can catch up with the first half of the season here.
Rounds 11 & 12 – Snetterton (3/4 August)
Moving into the second half of the season, the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB circus headed to Norfolk for two races around the 2.99-mile Snetterton ‘300’ circuit.
As was now becoming de rigeur, Michael Meadows continued to dominate qualifying, taking both pole positions. Jonas Gelzinis would line up alongside for both races, with Rory Butcher third for race one.
In race one, Meadows’ hopes of a good result were hit as soon as the lights went out. Suffering with a dragging clutch, the poleman jumped the start, with the subsequent drive-through limiting him to a fifth-place finish.
Gelzinis was left with a comfortable lead, which he held to the flag. Dean Stoneman worked his way through from fifth to beat Butcher to second, while Daniel Lloyd finished fourth.
The second encounter was once again decided at the start, as Gelzinis jumped into the lead and Meadows flat-spotted a tyre. This left the reigning champion fending off the attentions of Butcher for the duration of the 14-lap race.
Meadows would hold firm, with Butcher’s 911 GT3 Cup coming in a scan 0.314 seconds behind. Stoneman would finish fourth, as Lloyd retired on lap 11 with a broken driveshaft.
Gelzinis’ strong Snetterton performances not only earnt him the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award, it also levelled the scores at the top of the championship. Stoneman started to consolidate third, with Butcher now 28 points behind.
Round 13 & 14 – Knockhill (24/25 August)
The seventh Carrera Cup GB meeting of the year saw the series head across the border to Scotland’s only race circuit, Knockhill. While the weather can often play havoc at the Fife venue, conditions were dry all weekend.
Michael Meadows duly took another double pole position, however local driver, Rory Butcher ran him close for race one honours. Dean Stoneman finished the session third, but would start ahead of Butcher in race two.
The momentum may have been with Jonas Gelzinis last time out, but Meadows was firmly in control for the entire weekend at Knockhill. Despite a safety car on lap two, Meadows controlled the opening race of the weekend.
Behind him the racing was closer, with Butcher having to keep an eye on the fast starting Stoneman. When the 2012 FIA F2 champion toured back to the pits with a puncture, the Scot still couldn’t let up as Daniel Lloyd took up the challenge.
Despite the Porsche Scholar’s best efforts, Butcher hung on to take second after Lloyd’s speed lessened later in the race. Gelzinis, meanwhile, was off the pace, finishing fourth, 11 seconds behind the winner.
Meadows put in a similar performance during race two, escaping the first-corner melee to canter home over five seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
Behind, Stoneman had knocked Butcher into the gravel at the first corner, forcing the hometown hero to pit for repairs. This allowed Lloyd through to second and, after challenging Meadows for the lead, he had to settle for second.
Stoneman would finish third, with Gelzinis finishing ninth after having to pit to replace a tyre he flat-spotted while running fourth. This allowed Meadows to pull 23 points clear at the head of the table, while Lloyd closed in on Stoneman for third.
Rounds 15 & 16 – Rockingham International (14/15 September)
After a number of incidents, rounds 15 and 16 of the championship would be without Dean Stoneman, who had been banned for one meeting.
There were further changes in qualifying where, for the first time since Donington Park, Meadows was not the man on pole position for both races. Instead, that honour went to Daniel Lloyd, with Meadows second and Rory Butcher third for both encounters.
Drama was the order of they day in race one, as Meadows made a good start to sweep ahead of poleman Lloyd into the first on corner on the opening lap. For the next 11 laps, it looked as if Meadows was going to rattle off another win.
However, on lap twelve, with the light rain (that had looked so threatening at the start of the race) now falling, Meadows touched the increasingly wet exit kerb at Gracelands, spinning into the barriers and into retirement.
This promoted Butcher to the lead, after the Scot had found a way passed Lloyd as the conditions got more treacherous. Gelzinis also took advantage to move into second, as Lloyd spun into the gravel at Gracelands on lap 16.
This left Pro-Am1 runner, Victor Jimenez to take third place overall, behind Butcher and Gelzinis, who slashed Meadows’ championship lead to just five points.
The second second race was no less incident-filled, as Butcher rocketed into a lead he would not relinquish. This didn’t stop Lloyd trying though, with the Porsche Scholar trying to find a way through on the drying track.
With all competitors starting on wet tyres, Meadows took the gamble to pit and change to slick tyres. On a drying track, the 26-year-old took fastest lap on route to fourth. However, he still lost points to third-placed Gelzinis.
In the battle for the championship, Meadows stood at the top on 256, with Gelzinis just a further four points back. Butcher’s double win had promoted him to third, as Lloyd moved into fourth in Stoneman’s absence.
Round 17 & 18 – Silverstone National (28/29 September)
Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, was the host of the penultimate Carrera Cup GB meeting of the year. The high-speed National circuit required the drivers to focus on corner exit speed, in order to maximise the speed down the three main straights.
Michael Meadows and Dean Stoneman (in that order) locked out the front row for both encounters, with Daniel Lloyd starting third for race one, and Jonas Gelzinis third for race two. You can ride onboard with Lloyd in the video above.
Despite the propensity for Silverstone’s layout to produce close, slipstreaming battles, Meadows was able to escape the clutches of the chasing pack after working his way ahead of early leader, Lloyd.
After an intense battle with the returning Stoneman, Rory Butcher moved into third and set about chasing down Lloyd. Into Luffield on the final lap, the Scot saw a gap on the inside, with the duo running to the chequered flag side-by-side.
Lloyd just hung on by a mere 0.02 seconds, as Stoneman drifted away to a lonely fourth. Gelzinis finished a disappointing fifth, having started from the second row of the grid.
While Meadows couldn’t wrap up the title in round 18, he wanted to ensure that he headed to the finale at Brands Hatch with the largest possible lead. So, when Stoneman leapfrogged the Samsung Smart Motorsport drive into Copse on the first lap, he didn’t panic.
Instead, while Stoneman never completely escaped, Meadows stayed out of trouble, choosing to take a good points haul in second, rather than risk an accident fighting for the lead.
It looked as if this tactic would backfire mid-race, as Gelzinis closed up to the back of his fellow Porsche 911 racer. However, Gelzinis would soon have the attentions of Butcher to deal with.
This left Meadows free to extend his championship lead with a calculated drive to second. Despite his best efforts, Butcher couldn’t best Gelzinis, with the Lithuanian securing the final podium spot.
Meadows would take a 17 point lead over Gelzinis into the final two rounds, with Butcher, Stoneman, and Lloyd separated by 15 points in the battle for third. The battle was still well and truly alive.
Rounds 19 & 20 – Brands Hatch Grand Prix (12/13 October)
After five months, and 18 races, the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup GB would be settled at the same venue as it started: Brands Hatch. However, this time, the fast and flowing Grand Prix layout would be the battleground.
For both races, the top three grid positions would be filled by Michael Meadows, Rory Butcher, and Daniel Lloyd respectively. Jonas Gelzinis’ chances were hampered by qualifying fourth and fifth for the two 16-lap deciders.
Conditions on race day could not have been more different to qualifying. Rain of epic proportions meant that a powerboat would have been more apt than a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Butcher, who had shown himself to be a master in treacherous conditions, immediately swept into the lead of race one. With a good start behind him, the Scot never looked back, pulling clear at a rate of knots.
Come the chequered flag, Butcher took a comfortable win, seven seconds clear of his nearest rival. Who that rival would be though was still up for debate.
Dean Stoneman had made a good start to pass Meadows on the run to Paddock Hill Bend. However, running wide at the first corner, Stoneman left the door open for Meadows who duly moved back into second.
It wasn’t long before Meadows was being harried though and, with a championship at stake, Stoneman was afforded an easy pass. The championship debutant’s charge didn’t last beyond lap six though, finding the barriers at Graham Hill Bend.
With title challenger Gelzinis now on his tail, Meadows left room for the Lithuanian at Hawthorns on lap eight. Another measured drive from the reigning champion yielded third place, and all but ensured a second title.
Meadows just needed to finish to officially wrap up the 2013 crown. So, to avoid any first-corner chaos, the Samsung Smart Motorsport driver elected to start from the pitlane.
With the poleman out of the equation, Lloyd jumped into an early lead, as Stoneman survived a tap from Butcher to slot into second.
It looked as if Lloyd would hang on for a second win of 2013 however, the spectre of Stoneman was always looming in the gloomy conditions. On the final lap, Stoneman launched his attack.
Cutting back on the exit of the first corner, Stoneman dived to the inside on the run up to Druids hairpin. Contact was made, sending Lloyd into a half spin, and allowing Stoneman to take win number five of his debut Carrera Cup GB season.
Lloyd recovered to finish second, ahead of race one victor Butcher. Meadows finished at the tail-end of the ‘Pro’ class runners, securing his second title in as many years.
Throughout 2013, momentum had swung between Meadows and Gelzinis. While the Lithuanian’s consistency had allowed him to mount a serious challenge, Meadows’ unrivalled eight wins more than made up for his poor fortune and unreliability.
With the new 991-type GT3 Cup (currently used in the Mobil 1 Supercup) being adopted for 2014, the Carrera Cup GB is set to strengthen next year. If Meadows remains, can any beat him?