Friday’s practice sessions in Italy were topped by the only two Carrera Cup GB drivers with significant experience of the famous high-speed Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Championship rivals Tio Ellinas (Slidesports Engineering) and Dino Zamparelli (Redline Racing) recorded fastest practice times, however they were pushed hard by a pack of chasing drivers who quickly acquainted themselves with Monza’s challenge.
Ellinas headed five closely matched Pro category drivers in the morning session. When the flag fell just 0.233 tenths of a second covered the Cypriot, 17-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR), George Gamble (Amigos Team Parker), Zamparelli and Lewis Plato (JTR). In the afternoon Zamparelli fought off mounting pressure from Harper, recording the quickest time of the day in scorching Italian heat.
With several drivers posting fast lap times, the final classification in the Pro-Am category was difficult to predict. Seb Perez (Amigos Team Parker) eventually headed both sessions, but Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing), Jamie Orton (JTR) and Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) all lapped within a few tenths of a second of his class leading times. The margins between the entire Pro-Am field on Friday promises to deliver a hard-fought qualifying session tomorrow.
Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) and Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) renewed their battle in the Am category. Kyle-Henney was fastest in FP1 by 0.039 from Mangion, the positions were reversed in FP2 in favour of Mangion who lapped 0.118 quicker than his close rival. Edging towards their pace throughout the day was former category race winner David Fairbrother (Slidesports Engineering), Fairbrother returns to the championship at Monza for his second season racing in the Carrera Cup GB.
Session 1 – 09.30 to 10.15
Track temperature: 20.5 degrees
Dino Zamparelli (Redline Racing) first Pro runner on track, followed by Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) in Pro-Am, and championship returnee David Fairbrother (Slidesports Engineering) – Am
Dan Harper (JTR) is the early pacesetter from Lewis Plato (JTR) with George Gamble (Amigos Team Parker) close behind
Times fall as the drivers gradually familiarise themselves with the Italian circuit, Gamble and Harper are first to lap in under 1 minute 53 seconds
With 15 minutes of the session complete, Seb Perez (Amigos Team Parker) leads Pro-Am runners in P4 overall from a charging Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) and chasing Jamie Orton (JTR)
Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) and Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) trade times, Kyle-Henney leads from Mangion with Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) in third battling with an improving Fairbrother (P4 in category)
After a time spent in the pit lane, championship leader Zamparelli rejoins the track and begins to build speed, recording the sixth fastest overall time
At the top of the timesheet Gamble, Tom Wrigley (JTR) and Plato begin to push – all three are lapping in the region of 1 minute 51 seconds
With 15 minutes of FP1 remaining, Tio Ellinas (Slidesports Engineering) goes fastest, displacing Harper who improves with every lap
Harper regains P1 only for Ellinas to go faster still shortly afterwards, Gamble in P3 is just a tenth of a second further back
In Am, Mangion leads Kyle-Henney by just 0.011, the pair are very closely matched, in the closing stages of the session Kyle-Henney leaps Mangion
The top five cars: Ellinas, Harper, Gamble, Zamparelli and Plato are covered by just 0.233
Pro: Ellinas, Harper (+0.013), Gamble (+0.133)
Pro-Am: Perez, Sherwood (+0.022), Orton (+0.100)
Am: Kyle-Henney, Mangion (+0.039), Dockerill (+1.252)
Session 2 – 14.00 to 14.45
Track temperature: 23.8 degrees
First drivers out in each category are Pro: Will Bratt (IN2 Racing), Pro-Am: Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance), Am: Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing)
Tom Wrigley (JTR) lays down an early marker with a time of 1:51.722, matching the fastest times in FP1, Bratt and Lewis Plato (JTR) follow in P2 and P3 respectively
In Pro-Am, Jamie Orton (JTR) leads Greg Caton (G-Cat Racing) and Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques)
In Am, Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) is P1 in category, David Fairbrother (Slidesports Engineering) P2 and Shamus Jennings (G-Cat Racing) P3
After 20 minutes of running Wrigley’s P1 time still stands, Tio Ellinas (Slidesports Engineering) and Dan Harper (JTR) sit behind
30 minutes into the session the drivers have largely finished their long run simulations and begin to push harder
Harper moves into P2 – 0.008 seconds ahead of Wrigley’s earlier time
Seb Perez (Amigos Team Parker) moves into P2 in Pro-Am ahead of Hawkey
With less than 10 minutes of FP2 remaining track temperatures have risen to 27.2 degrees C
Dino Zamparelli (Redline Racing) posts the fastest time but is quickly displaced by an improving Harper. Zamparelli soon goes quicker still – the only driver to record a lap time in under 1 minute 52 seconds (1:51.844)
In the closing stages of the session, Mangion leaps Kyle-Henney with the fastest time in Am renewing their battle from FP1
Pro: Zamparelli, Harper (+0.211), Wrigley (+0.878)
Pro-Am: Perez, Hawkey (+0.253), Orton (+0.281)
Am: Mangion, Kyle-Henney, (+0.118), Fairbrother (+1.001)
Qualifying for round five will take place tomorrow between 11.00 and 11.30, with drivers fighting for the two points awarded in 2018 for the fastest time posted in each category over the course of the session.