Charlie Eastwood clinched the Porsche Carrera Cup GB rookie class title with a scintillating podium display at Silverstone’s National Circuit.
Following a second consecutive double podium weekend at Knockhill, the 21 year-old arrived in Northamptonshire poised to continue his good run of form late in the season.
Eastwood pocketed his £50,000 rookie class prize with a surging run through the field from 11th on the grid in race one. The Porsche Scholar wasted no time in picking off his rivals, moving up five positions on the first two laps before dispatching Lewis Plato – his chief opponent in the rookie standings – heading through Woodcote. The overtakes didn’t stop there, as Eastwood charged past Dino Zamparelli with a gutsy move on the inside at Copse, before moving into podium territory with a well-timed late braking manoeuvre heading into Brooklands.
He then came under pressure from Stephen Jelley towards the end, but produced a stern defensive drive to keep his hard earned third place. The result netted him a further 16 points in the championship, which was more than enough to seal the rookie class title with three races to spare.
That was the plan all year. We’ve been improving every single race and chipping away at it, so to have the rookie championship wrapped up as soon as we have is a great feeling. We had a problem with glazed brakes in qualifying, so 11th wasn’t where our pace was, but we got a really good start and just picked them all off one by one.
It was definitely my best race in a Porsche. We still had some problems with the brakes and with the tyres locking up; without that, second might have been on the cards, but it was a great recovery from where we were.
The second 28-lap contest saw the Northern Irishman deliver another strong performance to finish fourth and notch up his 12th top five finish of 2016. Starting from the inside this time in seventh, Eastwood again made inroads on his opening lap, passing two cars to assert himself in the top five.
After stretching out a lead to the group behind, Eastwood was forced to defend when a safety car bunched up the field on lap eight. Determined to keep the heat on the race leaders towards the end, he pushed on to escape the clutches of the chasing pack, finishing just three seconds shy of third position.
We started seventh and got a good start, we didn’t have the dominant pace that we had in the first one but to come away with a third and fourth from eleventh and seventh is a lot better than we expected this morning!
An impressive 30 point weekend at Silverstone safeguards Eastwood’s place in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB top three. Although the overall championship is now out of reach, just 14 points separate him from second place heading into the final round of the year at Brands Hatch on October 2nd.
Hopefully if we get the qualifying back to where it needs to be we can challenge as we have at Snetterton and Knockhill. There’s only 14 points between myself and Dino Zamparelli in the championship for second, so I’ll be trying my hardest to grab some points off him in the first race and set it up for a battle in the second race.