2005 Betta Electrical Sandown 500
The Scot returns down under
After the speculation regarding the incident with Jason Plato at last years Bathurst 1000 event, it was never a done deal that John would return for the V8 enduro events in 2005.
The accident at the exit of Caltex Chase which left John and the Ozemail Falcon upside down on it's roof (or is that the right way up in Australia?) and too badly damaged for Brad Jones to race at Surfers Paradise, might have put some teams and sponsors off inviting the Scot back; Not so Team BOC.
This year John is paired with Dale Brede, Canberra based V8 pilot of some repute. The 2005 endurance meetings see Yvan Muller invited back for another year, although Jason Plato does not and will probably not be missed by many.
After qualifying 20th with set up issues and struggling to get the slicks up to temperature in the predictably changeable Sandown weather, Cleland and Brede hoped for a typical wet race in Melbourne, having been 5th quickest during a wet practice session.
John started the race and clawed his way up to 17th before handing over to Dale for a double stint.
The race was uneventful apart from a couple of spins due to contact with Mark Skaife and Jason Richards. The pair finished the race in 21st position. It may not sound too impressive but it was a good warm up for Bathurst with both drivers completing the full 161 laps.
John commented after the event:
“It really wasn’t a nice car to drive and I think Dale did a fantastic job of bringing it home in a respectable position. I was happy with the way I went considering I hadn’t been in a car since Bathurst last year. Hopefully we can get some more consistency at Bathurst.”
Craig Lowndes and Yvan Muller won the event in a close run final few laps sprint with Skaife, who had a flapping front splitter and not enough fuel, having to pit with just one lap to go.
Copyright : Dave Willetts 2000 - 2018