After a long gap between Carrera Cup GB meetings, Porsche Scholar Charlie Eastwood got straight back on the pace at Oulton Park with another podium finish, his third finish in succession.
The Northern Irishman has made an impressive start to his sports car career and continued that form in Race One.
Qualifying third, Eastwood made a good start and maintained his position throughout the race until a red flag called a halt to proceedings five laps early. Having saved his tyres in the middle portion of the race, Eastwood was closing in on the battle for the lead between Redline Racing team-mate Dan Cammish and Stephen Jelley when the race was called.
Although frustrated not to have the opportunity to attack Jelley, Eastwood was more than happy to take third, once again top rookie, which consolidates his third place in the overall point standings.
“In the end it was a fairly simplistic race. Stephen had to drive very defensively for the majority of the race, so I think he’d overworked his tyres a bit and we were clawing it back when the red flag came out. That was a bit frustrating, but even though I would have been quicker than him, making it stick would have been very tough because Oulton Park is renowned for being a difficult track to pass on and Stephen is very good at car placement. All the same, it was good to take another good podium and gain ground on Dino in the points as well.”
However, qualifying for race two didn’t go quite as planned. With only one clear lap on his second set of tyres due to repeatedly hitting Pro-Am 2 traffic, Eastwood would face an uphill battle to come through from eighth.
Knowing that a good first lap would be crucial, Eastwood made an excellent start to drive around the outside of Old Hall, before slipping inside team-mate Tom Oliphant into Cascades for sixth. Unfortunately the two made slight contact on corner exit, which knocked the tracking on Eastwood’s right front out of kilter – a particularly damaging impairment on a clockwise circuit predominantly consisting of right-handers.
A slight mistake under braking for the chicane caused damage to the splitter and brought on worsening understeer, but Eastwood soon learned to drive around the problem and capitalised on a mistake from Tom Sharp at Lodge on the penultimate tour to take fifth.
While adjusting for the steering he under braked at the chicane which caused damage to the splitter and brought on worsening understeer, but Eastwood soon learned to drive around the problem and capitalised on a mistake from Tom Sharp at Lodge on the penultimate tour to take fifth.
Under the circumstances, it was a very reasonable result, although Eastwood finished a tantalising 0.132 behind Lewis Plato for fourth and best rookie at the line.
“The start went to plan, then I came out of turn two, Tom was just trying to hang it around the outside and we made slight contact which put the tracking out by around 30 degrees. It took me a few laps to adapt to the difference in steering but once I got used to it I started pushing on and my pace at the end was actually quite good considering.
Even though the second race was the lesser result, I’d say it was a better race for me. If you look at everyone else on the grid, they were only gaining one place or maybe two, so to go from eighth to fifth when everyone around us was on the same pace was quite good, especially with the damage I had. Looking back, I would have loved to have seen what my pace would have been like without damage…”
Eastwood won’t have quite so long to wait for his next outing in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, with Round 4 at Croft set to take place on the weekend of June 18-19.