Going into the weekend with a lot to work on, after a shaky two rounds at Snetterton and Knockhill, whereby Zamparelli lost 40 points to the championship leader Dan Cammish; there was a lot to prove at a circuit that Zamparelli took two wins and a lap record just 12-months prior.
Friday Free Practice showed signs of improvement with the GT Marques Porsche seemingly allowing Zamparelli to showcase his speed in the wet, and topping the timesheets.
In the dry, Zamparelli was 6th quickest, albeit on the wrong tyres to fight for the top spots. Confidence however, was seemingly high for the qualifying session.
For Saturday Qualifying, Dino sat on the front row in 2nd place for the first round of times, only to be displaced down to 5th after making an error on his second set of tyres. However, Zamparelli explains why he was fairly content with the session:
“For the last two racing rounds, I would put together three or four decent laps, and I would still be 6th or 7th, and the car just wasn’t working properly.
“For this qualifying session, in the first part we were lying in 2nd place and I hadn’t put a decent lap together. So I was confident that the team had found the problem with the car and it certainly felt more like the start of the year!
“It was a combination of a few things as to why we didn’t get a lap good enough in, but it was all really close.
“On another day, perhaps one where we didn’t have so many issues previously, I would be back fighting for pole. Nonetheless, I’m just happy the team have found the problem with the car, and I can go and fight in the races now!
In Race 1, starting from 5th, Zamparelli launched himself into 4th place, but early contact with Stephen Jelley whilst going for a move for 3rd, meant that Zamparelli picked up a slight bit of damage on his steering.
He was subsequently passed by Charlie Eastwood for 4th and then remained in 5th for the remainder of the race. Zamparelli explains:
“It was a such a shame that Stephen (Jelley) and I made a bit of contact. It was just one of those things, but it affected me more in the end.
“The car was quick at least and so for race 2 it bodes well.
For the second race, Dino made a strong start from 3rd place and held his own. From there, the top 3 of Dan Cammish, Stephen Jelley and Zamparelli broke away from the rest of the pack. Working at moving into 2nd place, Zamparelli was quick but not quick enough to make a move.
Over the last few laps, pressure started to mount on Stephen Jelley, but he held on to 2nd and Zamparelli crossed the line for a 3rd place finish.
He explains: “I was pushing like mad every single lap.
“I didn’t make one mistake in that race, but the top three were so evenly matched! None of us really made a mistake, until the final two where I could see Stephen making some errors.
“Nonetheless, I’m happy to take another podium, and it’s a welcome return to form, from the car’s perspective!
“Unfortunately, we lost too many points in the mid season, and thus Dan Cammish has confirmed the title. A big congratulations to him and his team.
“For us, we’re lying in 2nd in the championship, so we will look to remain there naturally, and go for two wins at Brands Hatch and end the season on a real high! The car is back to its old ways and I’m confident that with a good qualifying session, we’ll be right back up there.”
“I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch in two weeks and will aim to get those wins and end the season like we started.”