Porsches head 2012 Tour Britannia entry

A quintet of Porsche 911s will bid to make it five wins on the trot for the German marque when Tour Britannia starts in Harrogate today evening (Wednesday 6 June). Competitors in the eighth running of the classic race and rally tour will tackle 20 special stages and two races during two and a half days of intense competition in an event based at the Rudding Park Hotel in Harrogate.As well as the classic cars in the all-out competition event, later cars will contest the concurrent Targa Britannia and a field of fabulous classics will take part in the regularity rally that runs on a similar route.Heading the competition field away will be former GT racer Phil Hindley in his 911SC. The former Porsche race winner and TVR Tuscan champion will be driving his latest project in competition for the first time, but is sure to be particularly quick in the races at Croft and Cadwell Park.Porsches have won five of the eight tours run to date, and Hindley will lead the 911s of Mike Smith/Ian Ashley, Philip Walker/John Clark and Jeremy Cooke/Mike Dowd in a very competitive field. Smith and former Grand Prix driver Ashley make a very strong combination in the 911 used by Sean Lockyear to win Tour Britannia in 2010, while 2011 overall winner Clark joins Walker in another very competitive package.Taking on the Porsche ranks will be some V8 American muscle headed by Robert Hartley/Evelyn Boscawen and Mike Thorne/Jonny Todd in Shelby Mustang GT350s, along with the Chevrolet Camaro of Stuart Scott/Steve Wood and the AC Cobra of Mark Freeman/Kevin Kivlochan. British power includes a pair of Austin Healey 3000s for David Smithies and David Grace. Among the smaller-engined cars, the multi-discipline experience of Roger Kilty, partnered by Lynette Banks, will make their Ford Escort Mk1 a leading contender.Heading the Targa Britannia field will be the spectacularly fast Radical SR3 SL of Richard Meaden and Jethro Bovingdon, which will be challenged by Liam Brady and David Shepherd in their Aston Martin DB7.The regularity field is wonderfully varied and leading runners should include Neil Oatley, who has former WRC co-driver Fred Gallagher alongside in his Volvo PV544, and brothers Steve and Tony Graham in their fabulous Lancia Fulvia. Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Bentley are all represented in this element of the event.After the opening two stages on Wednesday evening, two full days of competition will take crews across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire before the finish at Harrogate on Friday afternoon.On Thursday spectators are welcome at Croft (from 10am) and on Friday at Harewood hillclimb (from 07.20 and 17.00) and at Cadwell Park (from 10.10). Other spectator venues are available and full details, along with any admission charges, are shown on the event website: tourbritannia.comFormer Tour Britannia winners2005 Ray Bellm/Paul Lanzante (Ford GT40)2006 Bruce Stapleton/Alastair Cowin (Morgan Plus 8)2007 John Grant/Charles Elwell (Chevron B16)2008 Sean Lockyear/Roy Stephenson (Porsche 911)2009 Nick Whale/Harry Whale (Porsche 911RS)2010 Sean Lockyear/Ian Reed (Porsche 911)2011 John Clark/Emma-Jane Gilbart-Smith (Porsche 911)

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