• Tim Harvey the top British driver among 22 entries from the
• Harvey finished 13th overall out of nearly 100 competitors from around the globe, each in 911 GT3 Cup race cars, in the inaugural
• Despite a non-finish, James Sutton maintains Championship lead from Stephen Jelley
Tim Harvey drew on all his racing experience and wet weather prowess to win the
The race, over six laps of the toughest circuit in the world, ran in truly challenging conditions that caught out many drivers, but Nationwide/Motorbase driver Harvey (Oxford) drove a superbly measured race to win after working ahead of Leicester’s Stephen Jelley (Team Parker Racing). Rory Butcher (Kirckcaldy) in his Celtic Speed car was a tremendous fourth to win Pro-Am1, while Londoner Richard Denny (Parr Motorsport) drove the race of his life to win the Pro-Am2 category.
Steady rain before the start of the race left the 15-mile track very wet and slippery for the 98-car field contesting the biggest one-make
The opening lap delivered many incidents and accidents and the drama claimed four of the five cars from Red Line Racing as James Sutton (London), Ben Hetherington (Hulme Walfield, Cheshire), Ahmad Al Harthy (Oman) and Keith Webster (Liphook) all crashed out. Meanwhile, Banbury driver Michael Meadows (SAS/Redline) lost his front splitter as he battled in the lower reaches of the first grid with Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing).
Starting near the front of the second grid proved beneficial to Jelley and Harvey, who had a clearer track ahead of them and less spray as they quickly moved into the lead on race times. Harvey was content to sit behind Jelley over the first couple of laps as they explored the amount of grip available, but was then able to move ahead as the track became slightly less wet. After six truly demanding laps, Harvey was top of the
“That’s the one you want to win,” said an elated Harvey afterwards. “This was the big one and it is a wonderful feeling. It was about being safe on the first lap because I’d never driven a racing lap here in the wet. The car from Motorbase was easy to drive and once I got past Stephen I was able to pull away. It’s been a fantastic event and one of the best race meetings I can remember.”
Jelley chased hard, but was reeled in and passed on the final lap by Butcher. However, a 30s time penalty for a yellow flag infringement later cost Butcher two places and he ended the race fourth, yet first in the Pro-Am1 category. “There were so many unknowns,” said Jelley of the opening laps. “But it was very challenging and a great event. That’s probably the best race I’ve ever done.”
With Butcher’s penalty, Leeds driver Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) completed the overall podium after a tremendous drive in the toughest of conditions. “The first aim was to get to the finish,” said Tordoff. “This is the best track in the world in the dry and the scariest in the wet, and you do have to respect it.”
For the second race running, Butcher excelled in wet and slippery conditions and was unfortunate to drop from second to fourth with his time penalty. “I love the way the car is in the wet and I don’t think I could have asked for much more. I love this track and I just enjoyed the whole thing.”
Taking fifth overall and second in Pro-Am1 was West Kilbride driver Derek Pierce (Dextra/JD Pierce by Parker) after another starring performance. ”There’s not even a scratch on the car,” he said. “That was the toughest race I’ve ever had.”
Meadows and Gelzinis battled home for sixth and seventh, both losing out in the early laps by running in the chaos and spray of the first pack.
Having started 98th and dead last, Plant drove a stunning race to battle through to 35th overall and eighth in the
With George Brewster (Celtic Speed) out at the first corner after a knock from another car, Denny clinched his first Pro-Am2 category win. “It was unbelievable; crazy and amazing,” said Denny. “There was almost zero visibility at the start. That’s the toughest race I’ve done by a long way!”
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