Ignas Gelzinis has admitted he never expected such a positive Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship debut, after he finished seventh out of 28 drivers in the series’ season opener at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
Ignas Gelžinis
© Organizatorių nuotr.

Gelzinis, who drives for the all-Lithuanian Juta Racing team, moved from Porsche Carrera Cup Central Europe where he finished as championship runner-up in an old-spec 997-car in his 2014 debut season, to the hotly-contest PCCGB for 2015 - a supporting category to the British Touring Car Championship.

The race was the 24-year-old Lithuanian’s first race in the UK since the end of 2013 when he competed in the Renault Clio Cup Championship; another supporting series to the BTCC.

It also marked the return to British soil for Kaunas-based Juta Racing.

In qualifying for race one of the weekend, his first ever competitive outing with the current-spec Porsche 911 GT3 991 machinery, the Lithuanian outshone rivals who had one year’s worth of knowledge and pre-season testing with the car by qualifying eighth in difficult wet-dry conditions around the 1.9-kilometre track.

Despite facing a challenging start in race one, Gelzinis overcame the difficulties by finishing seventh overall, and second in his Pro-Am1 category.

“The start was tricky, because I had to hold the brake, throttle and clutch at the same time,” he said. “That was challenging!”

“During the race, I think I had good pace, but to be honest, to finish seventh on a circuit with no pre-season testing at all was something Juta Racing and I would never have dreamt about before we got here.

“I may have been able to have finished higher, but I didn’t keep the tyres quite warm enough after the Safety Car period. That caused a lot of understeer.

“Overall, I’m happy with seventh place, and P2 in our Pro-Am1 class.”

For the final race two, Gelzinis once again lined up in eighth position and ran as high as sixth in the early stages of the race.

His quickest race lap was only 0.319 seconds off of the fastest lap-time set by Pro category driver Stephen Jelley.

In a race of attrition which saw three safety car periods over 33 laps and eight competitors retire, Gelzinis in his own words “made a small mistake” in the early stages.

Later in the race, he was then unfortunate to suffer contact with a rival.

However, a determined drive ensured he still completed the race distance and took victory in the Pro-Am1 class.

“I'm obviously happy to have won the Pro-Am1 category,” said Gelzinis. “But we were 17th in the overall classification.

“By finishing 0.319s away from the fastest race lap, we know the potential is there. That makes it a bit frustrating.

“I also made a small mistake after locked the rear under braking. I’m sorry to Juta Racing and the boys for that.

“There was also contact with a rival, but unfortunately I couldn’t do anything about that.

“I left him room to get by, but he just tapped me in the rear and I ended up in the gravel trap at Clearways.

“I have to say a big thank you to the race-marshals for helping me out of there!”

Rounds three and four of round of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship take place at the world-famous Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on May 2nd, as a support race to the Six Hours of Spa round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Championship standings:

11: Ignas Gelzinis - Juta Racing (9 points)

1: Dan Cammish - Redline Racing (40 points)
2: Stephen Jelley - Team Parker (36)
3: Michael Meadows - Samsung SUHD TV Racing (34)
4: Nicholas Latifi - Samsung SUHD TV Racing (23)
5: Josh Webster - Team Parker (18)
6: Jayde Kruger - Brookspeed (17)
7: Paul Rees - Parr Motorsport
8: Victor Jiminez - IN2 Racing (13)
9: Tom Sharp - IDL Racing (12)
10: Jordan Witt - Redline Racing (10)

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