Croft 2004

Fildes heads testing at Croft

Media release: 23 June 2004

Jonathan Fildes set the pace in testing for rounds 11 and 12 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today (Friday, 23 July).

The Irish racer lapped in 1m 24.289s for the TCR squad and ended the test day half a second clear of Richard Westbrook (Red Line Racing).

With less than a second covering the top eight drivers, the stage is set for two storming races at the North Yorkshire track to kick off the second half of the season. Leading the chase of Fildes and Templeman were Jason Templeman (Team VLR), Damien Faulkner (Motorbase Performance) and Tim Harvey (Team RPM).

“That was grand,” reckoned Fildes after heading the testing results for the first time. “Every lap was getting quicker when we put the new tyres on and I reckon the car has a 24s dead in it.”

Westbrook, meanwhile, did not have new tyres for testing and was limited to only a couple of laps in the second session after a suspension problem developed. “I’m really pleased with that; I never really felt I got to grips with Croft last year,” he added. Templeman was a strong third, fresh from his outing in the Porsche Supercup race supporting the British Grand Prix, while Faulkner was fourth fastest.

“We’re getting there,” said Faulkner, on his first visit to Croft for six years. “It’s definitely a challenge round here!” Harvey, another driver not to use new tyres in testing, tried two different cars from the RPM squad in the first session. “We ran different set-ups on each car and it was conclusive,” he reported. Like his key rivals, Harvey is aiming at a low 1m24s lap in qualifying on Saturday.

Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) was an excellent sixth; posting a time that was matched by David Pinkney (Pinkney Motorsport) in the second session. “That time was set without a front splitter,” reported Pinkney after an off-course excursion after catching a slower car. Jason Young (Red Line Racing) ran strongly to complete the eight drivers to be within a second of the fastest time, while series newcomer Ray MacDowall (TCR) and Martin Rich (Team Parker Racing) completed the top 10.

Two more Carrera Cup newcomers further boosted the excellent field as Andrew Shelley (Red Line Racing) and Eddie Wighton (Team RPM) prepared for their first races in the championship.

Harvey heads qualifying at Croft

Media release: 24 June 2004

Tim Harvey claimed pole position in a tremendously competitive qualifying session for round 11 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today.

Harvey stormed to pole by lapping in 1m23.533s for Team RPM; the fastest ever Carrera Cup lap at Croft. His late charge just eclipsed Richard Westbrook (Red Line Racing) and Damien Faulkner (Motorbase Performance).

The top four drivers all lapped quicker than the 2003 pole time at Croft set by Porsche Supercup ace Mike Rockenfeller. “That was a very good lap,” said a delighted Harvey. “I really attacked the chicane and I knew it was a better lap. It’s also another championship point!”

Westbrook pipped Faulkner by one-hundredth of a second to be second fastest. “I never got a really clear run on my second tyres and the session was getting quicker and quicker. The only thing I’m really concerned about is not getting the point for pole,” said Westbrook. Faulkner, meanwhile, was pleased with his pace. “It’s very encouraging; the boys have worked hard and I think we’re improving a lot.”

Fourth fastest went to Jason Templeman (Team VLR) with a time that many thought would be good enough for pole. “I’m pleased with the time, but not with being fourth,” said Jason. Jonathan Fildes (TCR) and David Pinkney (Pinkney Motorsport) completed the top six, with Fildes having a late scare when a broken driveshaft was discovered as they tightened the wheels up before the session. Some rapid work by the TCR squad had Fildes out for qualifying in time.

Pinkney was also content with a strong showing on his return to the championship. “I think we’re going really well. I went straight on at Sunny on what would have been my best lap,” he explained.

Jason Young (Red Line Racing) was another to post an impressive performance in seventh fastest. “I just want to try and stay up there in the race – it’s a strong field,” said Young. Meanwhile, eighth fastest went to Martin Rich (Team Parker Racing) while Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) and Andy Britnell (Motorbase Performance) completed the top 10; all of them lapping inside the existing lap record!

After qualifying was over, Faulkner’s car was sent to the back of the grid after failing the ride height check. The car had settled more than expected during the session and so his time was disallowed.

Harvey wins thriller at Croft

Media release: 24 June 2004

Tim Harvey beat Richard Westbrook and Jonathan Fildes to the line after a fantastic battle in round 11 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today.

Fildes (TCR) led for much of the race, but when he was held up by a backmarker, Harvey (Team RPM) and Westbrook (Red Line Racing) swept ahead and the three cars battled all the way to the flag in a contest of the highest order.

With a perfect start, Fildes stormed into the lead at the first corner, while Harvey and Westbrook battled for second. Jason Templeman (Team VLR) hit the inside kerb and was launched into the air, before limping into retirement with damaged suspension.

Out of the chicane for the first time, Harvey missed a gear and Westbrook snatched second, only to do the same things a few moments later and hand second back to Harvey. Meanwhile, Fildes consolidated his lead and was more than a second clear at the end of the first lap.

Now Harvey set about chasing Fildes as Westbrook fended off David Pinkney (Pinkney Motorsport) for third. “Jonathan made a fantastic start,” confirmed Harvey. By mid-distance, the top three cars were running nose-to-tail as Westbrook moved onto Harvey’s tail.

However, Fildes was confident of being able to fend off his rivals until they came up to lap Michael Corridan (Team Parker Racing). Though Corridan tried to keep out of the way, they caught him at the chicane and Fildes lost momentum. In an instant, Harvey squeezed ahead and Westbrook was able to dive ahead of Fildes at Tower. “I had that in the bag,” reckoned Fildes later.

Now it was Harvey leading with Westbrook and Fildes right on his tail and the three cars turned in a fabulous spectacle over the closing laps, racing incredibly close in an enthralling contest. Ultimately the places did not change, but it had been one of the best races of the season, with less than a second covering them at the flag.

“Jonathan drove brilliantly,” confirmed Harvey. “It was a proper race!” Westbrook, too, had driven mightily and found his car getting better as the race developed. “Those last five laps we were on it!” Fildes, meanwhile, accepted the result with good grace. “It was nearly there. At least we know we’re on the pace.”

Pinkney was a secure fourth while Andy Britnell (Motorbase Performance) and Marcus Thomas (Team VLR) both had superb races to claim top finishes as battles raged all the way down the field.

Harvey does the double at Croft

Media release: 25 June 2004

Tim Harvey (Team RPM) made it a perfect weekend with victory in round 12 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Croft today..

A first corner traffic jam sent Richard Westbrook (Red Line Racing) into the gravel and handed Harvey a big lead.

Behind Harvey, Damien Faulkner (Motorbase Performance) drove a mighty race to take second from the back of the grid while Andy Britnell made it a great day for the Motorbase team by completing the podium.

The drama started at the first corner as Harvey and Westbrook battled for the lead. Side by side, Harvey hit the apex kerb and Westbrook had to run into the gravel to avoid contact. Behind them, there was a major traffic jam as many of the front runners were delayed and as Harvey held the lead it was Marcus Thomas (Team VLR) and Mark Hazell (Team Parker Racing) who emerged from the confusion in second and third!

“I hit the kerb at the first corner and I thought the suspension had broken,” admitted Harvey. However, with Thomas later spinning at Hawthorns, Harvey soon had a big lead that allowed him to cruise to his second win of the weekend. “It’s been an excellent weekend for us; perfect points,” said Harvey.

While Harvey romped clear, Faulkner was making stunning progress from the back of the grid and Westbrook was battling to recover a massive amount of time lost while struggling to get out of the gravel. Hazell ran second until lap eight, despite pressure from Britnell, but it was Faulkner who stormed through to take second with his team mate Britnell in pursuit.

“It was just a matter of taking advantage of people’s mistakes,” reckoned Faulkner. “I just threaded my way through at the first corner,” said Britnell, who had to work hard in the final laps to fend off a major challenge from Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing). Ray MacDowall (TCR) chased them home fifth while a frustrated Westbrook battled back to sixth at the expense of Hazell.