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wA. a 0′ too many conclusions from Thruxton. From our

own point of view, I know that we didn’t really see the best of the Mondeo. We had difficulty with the handling. That could have been caused by the wind, but it was actually quite hard to tell, because we went through so many different types of weather. Conditions kept changing, but nothing that we did to the car made much difference.

Thruxton is very much a stand-alone track. There s nowhere else that gives us the same problems. Compaxatively speaking, we have such a big car to push through the air; we’re a lot wider than the Vauxhall and the Alfa, and crosswinds cause us quite a headache too. My immediate reaction was 1 that Brands Hatch (round two of the British Touring Car Championship, which took place while this edition of MOTOR SPORT was being printed Ed) would be a better barometer of how the rest of the season will shape up. Mind you, I actually expected the Ma Romeos to be quick. Just because we were,_.,

2the quickest at the end of last season,’ there’s no way that I was expecting our cars to go out and run off into the distance. If anything, I thought there would be more cars than there were giving us a hard time. The place that the Alfas were obviously quicker than us was round the back, at Church. We were struggling a bit there. In qualifying, they had been a couple of tenths quicker than us, and it’s pretty hard to measure precisely where you’re losing those couple of tenths. In the race I was losing out most at Church, no question. We’re _not lacking in power to them; but their spoilers really helped them around the quick -parts of the track around the back. With the extra downforce, their car didn’t jump out of line so much,

There has been a lot of -talk about the wings that -the Alfas were running, and 1 think there are two ways of looking at it. They’ve done_ their homework, read the rules properly and come up with something that’s legal.

If it’s within the letter of the law, then good luck to tIlem. On, the other hand, it’s not really in the spirit of two-litre racing. lieveryone has to start doing that it’s going to become more like a sports. sedan class, which wasn’t originally the point, but you can’t blame • 473 Moro’ SPORT MAT 7994


Al a’ or exp ótinthè rules to their advantage. The other teams will have to respond. We’ve still got to examine what is and isn’t totally legal, but we aren’t just going to lie down and surrender.

I might have been able to run Gabriele Tarquini a lot closer, but after the race we found that I’d been suffering from a slow puncture in the left front.

It felt OK at the start. I got alongside Tarquini at the complex, but he had the inside line and then io Winkelhock came at me at the next right-hander, which slowed us both up a bit and allowed Tarquini to open a bit of-a gap.

I was able to keep the gap steady for a couple of laps, until 1 started to have trouble with the handling. which 1 can only put down to the fact that the tyre had started to deflate. When lohn Cleland: caught me, I was spending so much time fighting with thecar that I couldn’t fight with him. After he had gone past Giampiero Simon’ was soon with me. felt I had the measure Of him on the -track. He was quicker than me, no question, but he couldn’t get past. Then going into the second part of the complex. the lefthander. with about bye laps to go, he just drove into my left rear cjuarter when I was holding my normal line. I guess he just got frustrated. That spun me right around.

Although that ended my race. it was good to see that they ve decided to take firm action against anything that they perceive to be unfair driving. There were-two instances at Thruxton, and in Simoni’s case I thi.nk that the 25s penalty was sufficient. It doesn’t do me any good. of course, but it dropped him to I 1 th. out of the points,-and that has to hurt. Now that they’ve flexed their muscles, the message may get through Apart from the Alfas, 1 suspect that the I.

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than some people predicted. They weren’ far off the pace, and I understand that they’ve got a wing’ and spoiler homologation package under development. As far as -the championship is concerned, they are sure to be pecking away at it. I’m not ruling them our. John Cleland’s Vauxhall went really well, of course, but we should have expected that. The Cavalier was _very competitive at the circuit last year. And I know that there’s more to come from Renault and Toyota. I don’t think we saw anything like their true potential.

As I said, there’s nowhere else quite like Thruxton, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. It was fantastic for the series that such a big crowd turned up for the race, though 1

tend to agree that there’s a danger that the IITCC could become a victim of its own success, if they want to keep the momentum going, then at the very least they need to sort out not lust how they.’re going to get everybeidy to the circuit but how they’re going to get them allin. It’s not only Thruxton, Snetterton -has grOt a similar problem. Even if we only go to a particula venue once aTear, it’s still something tha needs addressing. Obviously it’s hard if track only has one main entrance. but the need to ease access, perhaps set up tern, porary ‘roads’ or car parks in adjacen fields where possible. It’s alright having I ii,000 people inside the circuit, but when there are another 5000 stuck outside the7e Is a real risk that they won’t bother coming back. At the moment the level of support is terrific, but they need to sort out things like this so that people aren’t tempted to make do with the television instead. P R

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