Best of the RS500

Craig Davies - Best of the RS500

Rick Pearson completed a sweep of the two Fujifilm Touring Car Trophy races at Silverstone Classic powered by the AA, beating star driver Frank Wrathall into the first corner before pulling away from the British Touring Car regular.

While Pearson in an ex-David Leslie Nissan Primera pulled away in the Wrathall was mired back in a fight for second, third and fourth after the opening corners as Richard Hawken moved his Primera into second and Wrathall had to fend off Neil Smith's Alfa Romeo 156 around Brooklands.

Wrathall escaped Smith and passed Hawken, the Nissan driver struggling with a problem throughout the race. The problem, while it allowed Pearson and Wrathall to complete rather solitary races to reprise the same finishing order as in the first race, helped provide yet another great battle among the packed Silverstone Classic weekend.

Though repelled by Wrathall Smith had kept fourth place and soon latched onto the tail of Hawken's 1997 Nissan, running in the colours of Motorwise that Hawken represents in the Arrowpack Euro Saloons series. Much like the first race, when Smith had to content with the power of the Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 in the field the battle was one of two cars and drivers with different strengths.

Smith's much younger – S2000 spec – Alfa was strong under braking, Hawken's supertouring Nissan enjoying the power advantage that propelled several changes of position. On three occasions – twice at Village and once at Brooklands the Alfa slid through into second only for Hawken to be able to drag back past.

The final time they swapped paces, on the eighth lap of the nine squeezed into the 20 minutes, Smith reprised an earlier move, carrying more speed through the sweep of Farm taking the inside line for Village to take third place. However, Hawken took a wider entry to The Loop, cutting back inside Smith through Aintree and powering past before Brooklands.

The battling pair, who also managed to go door handle to door handle thrillingly around Stowe, meant that Dave Jarman, driving another Primera, this one a former charge of Matt Neal, still liveried in the Team Dynamics red, was able to catch up.

In just a few laps after passing Craig Davies – who took the honour of being the best of the RS500 crop in sixth – Jarman devoured the six second gap to Hawken and Smith in time to launch a final lap attack on Smith exiting Luffield, pushing the Alfa driver back to fifth place.

Jan Bot was the best of the BMW M3 – just as plentiful in the Classic races as they were in period – ahead of David Cuff 's DTM example. MarkWright was ninth in his Ford RS1800, Mark Jones tenth his ex-Jeff Allam 1994 BTCC cavalier, the sole representative in the race of the year that supertouring cars in the UK grew adjustable splitter and rear wings, arguably changing the direction of touring car racing into the series that exists today.


Back to the top