Mondello Park 2004

Faulkner heads test at Mondello Park 

Media release: 11 June 2004

Damien Faulkner headed testing for rounds nine and ten of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Mondello Park today (Friday, 11 June).

Driving for the Motorbase Performance team Faulkner set a stunning pace to lap just over a second faster than his rivals on his return to the championship.

“I knew it was a very, very good lap; I knew when I was on it,” reckoned Faulkner, who has joined the team for the weekend, carrying the colours of SAS International. “It’s just good to be here,” he added.

Second fastest, despite feeling distinctly unwell, was Richard Westbrook (Red Line Racing). “I’m really pleased with that,” reported Westbrook. “I spent the first test session learning the track,” having never before seen the new Mondello layout. Having been fastest in the morning session, Jason Templeman (Team VLR) ended the day third fastest, while championship leader Tom Harvey set fourth best time for Team RPM, having worked to resolve a handling imbalance from the morning session.

Like most of the front-runners, Harvey posted his best time of the day in the final 10 minutes of the second test session as the track dried rapidly after a rain shower just before the session was due to start.

Fifth fastest was Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) ahead of his debut race at the Irish track, while Jonathan Fildes, one of three drivers from the Republic of Ireland in the field, was sixth fastest for TCR. Making it a good day for the Motorbase Performance team was Andy Britnell in seventh, having traded times with new team mate Faulkner for much of the closing stages of the second session. Britnell knew that the team’s performance was giving team boss David Bartrum a very good day on the pit wall. “I could see the grin on his face from inside the car,” reckoned Britnell.

Into an encouraging eighth fastest went Robbie Coleman in the VIP car entered by Porsche Cars GB. It was his first experience of driving anything other than a single-seater, but he was settling in well. “In the first 10 laps I learnt an amazing amount,” reported Robbie. “The power is phenomenal!”

Wrapping up the top 10 for Team Parker Racing were Martin Rich and Mark Hazell, both lapping strongly on their first experience of the Irish track from the cockpit of a Porsche.

Westbrook heads qualifying at Mondello Park

Media release: 12 June 2004

Richard Westbrook turned in a superb performance to head the times in qualifying for round nine of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Mondello Park today (Saturday, 12 June).

With the fastest lap ever completed by a Porsche at the Irish track, Westbrook took pole for Red Line Racing from Damien Faulkner (Motorbase Performance). “That was textbook,” said an elated Westbrook after breaking the 1m44s barrier.

Right from the start of a thrilling qualifying session it was a contest between Westbrook and Faulkner for pole. Westbrook initially took pole in 1m44.241s, but Faulkner then edged ahead by just 0.004s. After a pit-stop for tyres, Westbrook snatched pole back by only 0.008s before going even faster on the penultimate lap of the session to clinch pole in 1m43.930s. “I knew we had a good car and I knew the time was there,” said Westbrook. “The car is just excellent!”

Faulkner was not able to retaliate on his fresh tyres as a slow puncture in a rear tyre developed on his out lap. “I knew there was something wrong straightaway. We just couldn’t reply with that,” he explained. However, Faulkner will still share the front row of the grid with Westbrook.

Only a tiny fraction of a second behind Faulkner was Tim Harvey (Team RPM). “There’s nothing between any of us round here,” reckoned Tim. “Damien’s a bit of a ringer round here so it should be an interesting scrap,” he added.

Fourth was an excellent qualifying performance for local ace Jonathan Fildes (TCR). “I very happy with that. I think I can find some time in the Esses,” said Fildes. Completing the top five, and lapping within a second of Westbrook was Jason Templeman (Team VLR) despite a troubled session. Problems finding a clear lap left Jason fifth, and facing a tough day on Sunday.

Martin Rich (Team Parker Racing) headed the next pack of cars with an impressive session ahead of his first race at Mondello, with Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) and Robbie Coleman (Porsche Cars GB) next up. “I’ve taken a step forward every time I’ve got in the car,” reported Coleman of his debut weekend in a Porsche.

Westbrook tops first race at Mondello Park

Media release: 13 June 2004

Richard Westbrook claimed victory in round nine of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Mondello Park today (Sunday, 13 June).

In an action-packed race, Westbrook (Red Line Racing) finished just half a second ahead of Tim Harvey (Team RPM) as Jason Templeman (Team VLR) completed the podium. However, terrible luck cost Jonathan Fildes (TCR) a podium finish at his home track when he picked up a puncture.

The action started before the first corner after Damien Faulkner (Motorbase Performance) slowed with a clutch problem. As the chasing pack went either side of the SAS International car, Robbie Coleman (Porsche Cars GB) was unsighted and hit the back of Faulkner’s car. As Faulkner’s car spun, his team mate Andy Britnell could not avoid contact and all three cars were out on the spot. “The cars parted and there he was,” said Coleman.

After two laps behind the safety car, Westbrook resumed in the lead with Fildes on his tail as Harvey battled to fend off Templeman for third. However, Templeman was in trouble when a puncture developed on lap six and he struggled back to the pits for a wheel change. “I was comfortable in there and I had a bit in reserve,” said Fildes.

Bit by bit, Harvey edged away from Templeman and closed the gap to Westbrook. However, Harvey was struggling with a broken exhaust. “It wouldn’t pull out of the slower corners,” explained Tim, despite closing to within half a second of Westbrook at the flag. “I just judged it to win the race; we know we’ve got the pace here,” reckoned Westbrook.

Templeman battled to third despite finding his car’s handling going away as the temperature rose, while Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing) and Martin Rich (Team Parker Racing) ran close for fourth and fifth. “I had a big moment when someone had run wide and thrown gravel on the track, and Martin got close,” explained Rice. Jason Young (Red Line Racing) and Gary Britnell (Motorbase Performance) were next up as Fildes resumed to finish ninth behind Michael Corridan (Team Parker Racing).

Harvey wins second race at Mondello Park

Media release: 13 June 2004

Tim Harvey fended off a race-long challenge from Richard Westbrook to win round ten of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Mondello Park today (Sunday, 13 June).

Westbrook (Red Line Racing), saved his biggest attack for the last lap and was twice alongside Harvey (Team RPM) before Harvey got the flag just a tenth of a second ahead.

It all went wrong for Westbrook at the start when a bad start left him third behind Harvey and Nigel Rice (Red Line Racing). “I made a fantastic start and that was the key to the race,” said Harvey. “I got a shocker of a start,” admitted Westbrook, who quickly moved ahead of his team mate to slot into second.

Now Westbrook set off after Harvey and gradually reduced the gap. It all came down to the last lap as Westbrook mounted his major attack. However, Harvey defended beautifully and Westbrook had to go the long way round. Despite twice drawing level, Harvey always had the line and won by a fraction of a second.

“It made for a great race,” said Harvey. “Richard was very fair!” Westbrook had also enjoyed the contest with his title rival. “It was a really good race, but I could have done with another lap!”

Rice ran strongly in third as Jason Templeman (Team VLR) challenged. On the sixth lap, Templeman attacked once more and the cars touched. While Rice spun, Jonathan Fildes (TCR) nipped through to third. However, at the next corner Templeman challenged to try and get third back and Fildes was sent spinning into the gravel after contact.

Despite now having a rather battered car, Templeman finished third on the road from Rice. However, Templeman was later excluded from the results, which put Rice back into third place. Up into fourth after an excellent race came Robby Coleman in the VIP car. “I just picked them off one by one. I wasn’t going to take any risks after the guys worked so hard to fix the car after the first race,” said the Irish racer.

Andy Britnell battled ahead of his brother Gary as Motorbase Performance claimed fifth and sixth, which was reward for the team after a mammoth effort to repair Damien Faulkner’s car after the first race just ran out of time. Jason Young (Red Line Racing), Martin Rich (Team Parker Racing) and Marcus Thomas (Team VLR) completed the next group, as Michael Corridan (Team Parker Racing) took tenth.