SILVERSTONE- ROUND1, RACE1
Hello and welcome to ITV 4’s coverage of the RTCC in its inaugural season. I’m Edward Bens, and I’ll be your commentator throughout this thrilling season. Qualifying yesterday proved to be exciting as favourites Team Ultimate lock out the front row, Cave Johnson in the top spot with Prost alongside him. Martin McFry starts in 3rd, an astounding lap in that Peugeot. But first, let’s watch 3 and a half hours of Ginettas trundling around the track slower than Postman Pat in a Reliant Robin with engine problems.
*Yawn* And now back to the RTCC... the cars line up on the grid, fresh from the formation lap where they do a prescribed series of burnouts. It’s Cave Johnson on your left, and Michael Prost on your right... the young French-German looking to out-pace his teammate. And Chin-Lung places her Volvo at the back of the grid. That’s the signal for the race to start, 1 Red Light, 2 Red Lights, 3 Red Lights, 4 Red Lights, 5 Red Lights....and it’s GO! GO! GO! Johnson makes a good start, moves across the cover Prost... and poor start from McFry! He’s getting swamped! Into the first corner, Johnson still has... AND THE ULTIMATES TOUCH! CONTACT! Johnson keeps it together and the rest of the field manage to make it round in one piece, as they enter Maggots... good start from McGatley, but Moll has gone backwards, MNR’s and Audi’s streaking past the Belgian Machine. Accelerating down the Hangar straight, through the gears, Prost has a look into Stowe but backs out of it; Cleland is fighting off Modena, as the field brake for Club. The back of the field is brought up by Volvos, that’s Briggs in last position as we cut to a car stopped on the side of the grid....who’s that? Is it a Nurminen? NO! It’s Chin-Lung! The Volvo’s smoking! Johnson manages to keep Prost and Tyryn behind into Abbey, Collard’s into fourth, Rydell’s up to eighth and OOOOOHHH! CAR SPINNING! IT’S A TEAM WALES! Other cars streaking to avoid it, both Nurminen’s manage to leapfrog a few places; Modena in the Team Phoenix Audi’s got some visible damage...ITS ANDERSON! Poor luck for the Englishman after a good qualifying session. As we cross the start/Finish, Johnson still leads but Rck Tyryn’s up to second, with Prost in third with Collard behind... and here’s a replay of the Anderson incident... Goes through Abbey, foot on the pedal a bit too early, loses it on the kerbs, and slides into Modena’s path where contact is made and Anderson spins round...
And here’s Rydell, closing on Modena... BUT HE’S LOST IT! SPINS! SPIMNS, SPINS, SPINS, INTO THE GRAVEL! He manages to get going again though, he kept the engine running, and is able to rejoin ... at the back of the field!
Lap 3 now, and Johnson still leads, but Prost sweeps out from behind Tyryn into Maggotts...SIDE BY SIDE INTO BECKETTS! Prost now up to second, streaking away from Tyryn now down the Hangar straight...
Thorne has got past Tyryn and Prost, unseen by the cameras, and is now up to second position.
There’s a huge gap between 12th and 13th place now, about 12 seconds worth and Tyryn’s holding up a whole range of cars now as we start Lap 5. There’s Prost, Fleet, Hywel Jones, Martin McFry, Rob Collard and more all queued up behind Tyryn now.
As we start Lap 12 there’s a distinct group forming away at the front. Johnson still leads but Thorne is closing, Prost is now 3rd again and Ben Fleet is now 4th in the T.A.R.T. Vectra, with a huge gap back to Tyryn in 5th position. Lutz has managed to get past Tyryn into 5th place, but with a gap of 11 and a half seconds can he challenge the front runners? Tyryn is now 17 seconds back from the lead....as down the Hangar straight Thorne has visibly closed, leaving Prost a little way back... he has a look into Stowe, but Johnson shuts the door! Accelerating out of Club, the top four are all bumper to tail now...as Johnson manages to stay in front into Abbey....into Luffield now, and Thorne makes a move...HE’S ON THE OUTSIDE! Still on the outside through Woodcote, and still.... THORNE LEADS!! THORNE IN THE LEAD! As we sweep into Copse, Prost is now right alongside Johnson... thorugh Maggots, into Becketts... STILL SIDE BY SIDE! STILL EQUAL AS THORNE ACCELARTES AWAY DOWN HANGAR STRAIGHT, STILL TOGETHER! Johnson still has the upper hand, but Prost dives down the inside into Club! Jonson’s gone from the lead to third in half a lap!
As we start Lap 14, Thorne now has a good 2 second lead, and Theo Lutz in the Audi has caught up to the back of the leading 4. Rob Collard is holding up about 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 cars in seventh place now. Martin McFry is in a lonely 13th place, after that poor start and opening lap.
Lap 15 now and Thorne still leads, but the Ultimate’s are closing up and are almost right behind......Into Luffield now, Prost and Johnson squabbling, and PROST MAKES HIS MOVE! DOWN THE OUTSIDE... Thorne moves across to cover, but PROST SWITCHES! AND PROST LEADS!
Lap 16, Prost still leads, round the corner, left, right, left, right, slow corner, and down the hill.......and into Luffield again, Thorne drops it half way round the corner, losing speed, and it’s Johnson, LAUNCHES A MOVE DOWN THE OUSIDE, SIDE BY SIDE THROUGH WOODCOTE, ACROSS THE LINE, AND GOES AROUND THE OUTSIDE INTO COPSE! And he dives down the inside of Prost in Beckets! AND JOHNSON LEADS!
SO, down the Hangar Straight, Johnson leads from Prost, Thorne... Lutz has got past Thorne! Lutz into 3rd position and Thorne’s going backwards! There are 32 runners, Sutherland retiring on lap 1 with engine problems, and Jenkins on lap 16 with engine problems as well.
Lap 19, into Luffield again, Fleet is now in third, and he lines up a pass.... HE GETS PAST PROST IN THE EXIT OF LUFFIELD! Moves over through Woodcote and as they cross the line Johnson leads from Fleet, Prost, Lutz, and Thorne, with Collard, Modena and Hywel Jones 15 seconds back...
Down the Hangar straight now and the leading five cars are bumper to tail... Any one of 5 cars could win this race! Fleet closes to Johnson, has a look at Stowe, but backs out and slides over, and Lutz goes into third!
*Annoying and highly inconvenient ad break a-la Imola 2006*
Its lap 24 now out of 25, the order hasn’t changed at the front, but Lutz has closed. Johnson’s slow coming out of Stowe, and Prost closes... AND DIVES DOWN THE INSIDE! OOH! PROST LEADS! Lutz attempts to follow Prost trough, but Johnson moves across. Lutz drops back a little! But it’s still too close to call on the last half of the last lap! Through Abbey, down to Bridge, Prost leads but Johnson is literally right behind him and Lutz a little further back..... Through Priory, Johnson drops back a little, Lutz looks set to capitalise, Prost and Johnson still close round Brooklands, but... BUT LUTZ IS SLOWING! HE’S SLOWING DOWN! Prost leads Johnson round Luffield, OOOOH! LUTZ PULLS OVER TO THE SIDE! OUT! OUT! AT THE LAST MINUTE! And Johnson closes, but it’s too late, Michael Prost wins Race 1 from Cave Johnson by barely a bumper! Ben Fleet crosses the line in 3rd Position, albeit 2 seconds back, and Hywel Jones has managed to get past Robbie Thorne for 4th! Wonderful effort from the young Welshman! Thomas De Bock crosses the line to finish 9th, amazing race from him, and Nathan Nurmester and Nikolai Nurmovitsch finish 13th and 14th in the Volvo! They’ve gotta be pleased with that! What a race though. 5 cars in it with 5 laps to go, and 3 cars in it to the very end...spectacular racing, and Team Ultimate, although they finish 1-2, didn’t run away with it!Results
Pictures will follow soon