DONINGTON DOUBLE SEES ZAMPARELLI OPEN SUBSTANTIAL SERIES LEAD Ginetta Junior Championship leader Dino Zamparelli extended his advantage at the head of the driver standings to a substantial 75 points at Donington Park today, Sunday, 4th May,...
DONINGTON DOUBLE SEES ZAMPARELLI OPEN SUBSTANTIAL SERIES LEAD
Ginetta Junior Championship leader Dino Zamparelli extended his advantage at the head of the driver standings to a substantial 75 points at Donington Park today, Sunday, 4th May, after bagging a brace of superb race victories -- his fourth and fifth successes from eight races contested so far in 2008.
While Josh Hill dominated qualifying on Saturday afternoon with two pole positions starts for rounds seven and eight of the campaign, it was Zamparelli who took a pair of contrasting wins while main title rival Thomas Carnaby endured a disastrous raceday.
"The guys at Muzz Racing have done a fantastic job", said the double Donington Park victor, "It's great to win both races, and to also get the fastest lap each time. It's been a very good weekend for us."
Round seven will undoubtedly go down as one of the most entertaining races of the year in any category, not just for the great action but also for the bizarrely memorable finish which enabled Zamparelli to win and saw Hill somehow manage to climb onto the rostrum after looking like his race was over prior to the start of the final lap.
At the beginning, Hill led away from pole position with Zamparelli moving past front-row starter George Richardson for second at Redgate Corner. Joining Richardson and Zamparelli was Aaron Williamson but at Goddards Chicane at the end of lap one the series leader had a spin which dropped him down to 14th place.
While Jake Farndon nudged Thomas Carnaby out of fourth position and into the gravel at McLeans on lap two, back at the front Richardson successfully challenged Hill for the lead at Goddards.
Hill soon regained the advantage at Redgate on lap three but that wasn't the end of it as the duo brilliantly traded positions for almost the entire duration of the nine lap encounter. Further behind, Daniel Lloyd moved inside Williamson for third under the Dunlop Bridge but as they entered Goddards, contact saw Lloyd pitched into a spin.
While the two leaders continued to take turns at the front, Zamparelli had unbelievably scorched his way back through the order and into the top three on lap five. Some three seconds behind Hill and Richardson, Zamparelli quickly closed the gap and was in a position to mount his own bid for the lead by the end of lap seven.
As Zamparelli posted a new lap record of 1m 27.429 seconds (80.59mph), a three-way battle for the lead was on but the complexion of the scrap changed at the end of the penultimate lap when a small mistake from Hill at Goddards saw him collect the plastic covered foam bale on the exit of the chicane.
With the remnants of the structure lodged under his car, Hill somehow managed to continue but as he rounded Coppice for the final time, the plastic bale cover came loose and caused a couple of drivers to spin in avoidance. Hill, who referred to his bizarre final lap as a "unique experience", was third with Zamparelli taking the win from Richardson.
"It was a fantastic race", said Richardson, "It was a shame I couldn't get P1 but I'm still happy. We put some good points back on the table after an absolute nightmare at Rockingham. I want to say a very big thank you to Tollbar Racing and my sponsors."
Ashley Craig finished an outstanding fourth, having qualified 12th on the grid, with Alex Austin similarly impressive having risen from 15th to fifth. Lloyd fought back brilliantly from outside the top 12 to achieve a richly deserved top six but much more was to come from him during round eight where he would secure his maiden podium finish.
Once again, Zamparelli seemed to be in a class of his own in terms of race pace in the second of the day's outings -- taking the lead on lap two from Hill. The start was problematic for several drivers, not least Richardson who found himself turned around and into the path of Tollbar Racing team-mate Carnaby causing damage to both cars.
On lap two at Redgate, further troubles ensued when contact saw both Tollbar drivers forced into the gravel, while Craig ended up on his roof in the middle of the track. The strength of the Ginetta Junior cars came into play with all of the drivers thankfully walking away without injury.
Following a Safety Car period, the race re-started on lap five and Zamparelli was never headed, taking the win by three seconds from Hill -- the latter's best ever finish just eight races into his car racing career and a result he classed as "really good".
The battle for the final podium place was highly entertaining but it all ended in tears on the final lap for Farndon and Williamson with both crashing out at the Old Hairpin.
Quick thinking Lloyd kept a watching brief as the four-way scrap played out and when Farndon and Williamson came together, he nipped by Dominic Pettit with a great piece of overtaking at the Old Hairpin to grab his maiden podium. Alice Powell, meanwhile, did a fantastic job of climbing from 14th on the grid to fifth at the finish.
"It's great to finally get on the podium", commented Lloyd, "The car has been great all weekend, it all came down to the final lap in the end but it was a fun race to drive. We're getting stronger and stronger all of the time."
The Ginetta Junior Championship will return to action a fortnight from now on 17th/18th May at Hampshire's Thruxton Circuit for the ninth and 10th rounds of the season.
Provisional 2008 Ginetta Junior Championship Positions (after Rd8) 1st Dino Zamparelli, 250pts; 2nd Thomas Carnaby, 175pts; 3rd Josh Hill, 165pts; 4th Daniel Lloyd, 143pts; 5th Jake Farndon, 128pts; 6th Cassey Watson, 119pts