Jelley wins Carrera Cup GB round 17 at Brands Hatch
Stephen Jelley swept to victory in round 17 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch today (Sunday 2 October) to set up an incredibly close championship showdown with Michael Meadows and James Sutton over the final two races at Silverstone later this month.From the start of the race, Nick Tandy (Nationwide/Motorbase) went clear, but a rear puncture ended his race after six laps and it was Jelley (Parker with Juta) who moved ahead to take a very important victory as Meadows (SAS/Redline) and Euan Hankey (Parker with Juta) completed the overall podium. When Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) went out with a puncture, Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman Air/Redline) took Pro-Am1 victory and the ‘driver of the weekend’ award. Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) drove a fine race to win Pro-Am2, while Celtic Speed clinched four podium finishes to earn the ‘team of the weekend’ award.Tandy had everything under control at the head of the race until he plunged through Paddock Hill Bend for the seventh time. “As soon as I hit the compression at the bottom of the hill, just as I’ve done all weekend, the tyre went down,” said Tandy. “We think it might be a cut from a stone; it’s a disappointing end to a superb weekend.”Jelley took over the lead and ran smoothly to the finish, but there was nearly disaster as he had a rear tyre go flat as the car stood in parc ferme after the race. “Someone was on my side today,” said Jelley who had battled hard to take second from Meadows at Surtees on the third lap. “It got a bit racy in the first couple of laps,” reported Jelley.Meadows had to spend the whole race defending second from Hankey and there was only a third of a second between them at the flag. “I didn’t seem to have the pace at the start and that was when Jelley made the move,” said Meadows. Hankey was pleased to be back on the podium as they stretched away from the battle between Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) and Sutton (SAS/Redline). It was a strong run from Tordoff to fend off title contender Sutton as Kieran Vernon (Nationwide/Motorbase) chased them home to round out the top six.Gelzinis ran fifth overall in the early laps but was another to fall foul of a rear puncture and pulled off to retire, leaving Al Harthy to head the class under pressure from Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed). Over the first half of the race Butcher attacked Al Harthy but little by little Al Harthy edged clear for an impressive victory. “It was so important to get this win; it’s exactly what I needed,” said Al Harthy. Alex Martin (Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker) was heading for third in Pro-Am1 after a fighting drive, but another puncture put him out on the penultimate lap and so George Richardson (Motorbase Performance) wrapped up the Pro-Am1 podium.Denny was mighty in Pro-Am2 and won from the front as Yucel Ozbek (Redline Racing) fended off George Brewster (Celtic Speed) for second. “I had a good start and just drove as many qualifying laps as I could, and tried not to make any mistakes,” said Denny. “The team has worked so hard for this.” Ozbek had to race hard to hold off Brewster for second, while Keith Webster (Redline Racing) got ahead of Steve Parish (Motorbase Performance) for fourth after a long battle.