August 7-8: Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain.
John will be driving the #1 guest car at his home circuit at Knockhill, in this TOCA support series. Cleland will be fighting for victory against championship leader and ex BTCC adversary, Tim Harvey.
Porsche Cup Weekend Report.
The first time John had driven a race car for 10 months, turned out to be a mixed bag of fun, success and disappointment. This was always going to have a "like the old days" feel with John trying his hand in a Porsche GT3 car, up against his old adversary from the 1992 BTCC Championship, Tim Harvey.
Tim Commented prior to the race:
"At the end of the day, it all stems back to sour grapes from 1992, really. He never got over losing the BTCC title to me!"
"We’re great racing rivals, but we’re mates really! We’ve had battles over many years, and always fair battles on the track. The rest of it is just a bit of banter and a bit of winding up. But having said that, once we get in the cars we both want to beat each other."
"It’ll be great fun at Knockhill. He’ll be a threat; home track, home crowd. John’s a competitive animal,"
"Knockhill’s a tight little track and he’ll be right on the pace."
During qualifying, John backed the car into the gravel at McIntyres, which brought out the red flags. The car was dragged out, driven back to the pits, de-gravelled (new word) and back out for the re-started session. JC qualified 9th, Harvey 5th.
After the session, Tim was interviewed by Alan Hyde:
Alan Hyde to Tim Harvey:
AH: You didn't qualify as well as normal, what went wrong?
TH: It was John's fault. After he went off I was laughing so much I couldn't put a decent lap together.
John was also his usual matter of fact self:
Alan Hyde to JC:
AH: John, good to have you back in the TOCA Tour
JC: Thanks, but I'm not happy
AH: Why is that?
JC: 'Cos I drove like a twat.
Race one was a mighty fine effort in an unfamiliar car:
JC: "I got a cracking start for the first race; getting off the line was fantastic. It was really good fun!”
John had lots of fun and games with most of the field before finishing a respectable 6th. Harvey was 2nd.
Race 2 was a different story. Having started 6th, John was helped off the circuit during the first 2 corners of lap one. He rejoined at the back but retired from 12th with gearbox gremlins after 10 laps. Harvey was again 2nd.
2-0 to Harvey this time....the saga continues.
"It's been fantastic! The Porsche is an amazing piece of machinery and it's brilliant that you can buy one of these cars and just go racing in a great championship," said Cleland. "I'd like to thank Porsche Cars GB for the chance to drive the car."
I hope John gets a new one for his comments!
Copyright : Dave Willetts 2000 - 2005