James Dodd drove to a dominant win in a much more well behaved Super Touring Trophy race at the Oulton Park Gold Cup.
Dodd led from the start in his new 1999 Honda Accord, holding back the older sister car of Stewart Whyte for the opening five laps before the Scot dropped down to third behind John Cleland‘s Vauxhall Vectra after getting caught out on a dirty part of the track while lapping a backmarker.
“The car is amazing,” said Dodd. “It’s fresh out of the box direct from Montenegro, I only got eight laps in it before this weekend’s races. It’s actually my dad [Graeme]‘s car, but my Primera had engine issues before this weekend so he let me have a go in it. Both cars will be out next year, but we don’t know who’ll be driving what yet.”
Cleland storms around the Oulton Park circuit to the delight of the fans (Credit: PSP Images)
Cleland looked like he had second wrapped up before pulling in to the pits with just two laps to go after an alternator belt issue forced him to retire from the race. The retirement promoted Whyte back up to second and allowed Tim Harvey to take the bottom step of the podium in the Ford Sierra RS500, having started from the back of the grid.
“I got quite emotional driving the car,” said the 1992 British Touring Car Champion. “The engine went at Silverstone, but the new one was just fantastic, it was so strong and so easy to drive. It was a lot of fun, I loved it. I’ve definitely got the bug back, I just wish I could buy it!”
Fellow BTCC legend Patrick Watts had another race to forget, despite a strong start which saw him carve through the field, leading Harvey for much of the race. A wheel issue caused Watts to slow in the latter stages of the race, before an engine problem ended the Peugeot 406’s day early.
Harvey (6) battles with Watts before mechanical issues for the Peugeot (Credit: PSP Images)
“This series really does have the potential to be a great, great series,” said Cleland, as the Super Tourers go back in to hibernation before the 2014 season. “There’s a lot of great cars out there, more are coming back to the UK, and the fans love them. Loads of people come just to see these cars, and to see them out on track again is just fantastic.”