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I'm no flash Harry, insists jet-set driver; Racing star is happiest in his Campervan.

Byline: Zoe Burn

HE has a jet-set lifestyle, an army of fans and races cars in one of the most prestigious championships in the world - yet Harry Vaulkhard's life is very different from the perception of a racing star.

Instead of lapping up the attention and ditching his native Newcastle for an apartment in Monaco to live the superstar lifestyle, he is at his happiest cruising around in his VW Campervan with his long-term girlfriend Carlie Taylor. The 24-year-old is currently making waves in his rookie year of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), and on Sunday will be one of just four Brits to line up at the famous Brands Hatch racing circuit in Kent as the series makes its only visit to the UK of the year.

He said: "My life is normal really, I went to university to study Transport Design and I relax by going surfing and I spend most of my free time driving around in my VW Camper.

"I'm not interested in this whole 'flash Harry' thing. I do what I do and it just happens to be a racing driver."

Harry's first racing action came as a child when he dabbled in moto-cross while watching his dad, Nigel - a successful Newcastle businessman - racing classic touring cars. By the time he reached his mid teens, Harry had taken the wheel himself, messing around on trackdays in an old Ford Escort, before entering his first serious season in 2006 when he joined the SEAT Cupra Cup.

The following year in just his second full season, Harry won the title.

"I had a great team around me and the best engineer, a man called Ian Brocklesby," he said. "He was instrumental in my success and I knew we were heading for bigger and better things together after that title."

In 2008 Harry got his big break in the British Touring Car Championship but it was marred by tragedy when his engineer died. After two years in the British series, Harry this year took the huge step onto the world stage. Now instead of touring the UK's racetracks, his life sees him jet off all over the world.

But he has the constant support of his girlfriend Carlie, whom he met when they were pupils at Kings School in Tynemouth. He said: "We've been together seven years now, and we have a great, chilled and happy relationship.

"Carlie likes the racing, but she works full time as a teacher so can't always come away with me. She knows the sport and understands it - she doesn't like to get in the way and is happier keeping a low profile.

"She's great, she's always helped keep my feet on the ground."

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LIVING LIFE AT A FAST PACE Harry Vaulkhard in action KEEPING HIS FEET ON THE GROUND WTCC star Harry Vaulkhard with his long-term girlfriend Carlie Taylor who is always there to help him
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 16, 2010
Words:487
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