BTCC Round 2 | Donington Park | 29th April
Round 2 of the MSA Dunlop British Touring Car Championship certainly threw a number of challenges our way. After a superb points haul at Brands Hatch, is was important that we held our nerve and continued the positive start to the season!
Saturday’s practice sessions were very wet and the track was really slick. We showed some real signs of competitiveness, proving this with a respective 8th and 6th in the free practice sessions. Frustratingly, we failed to carry this performance into qualifying where it counts, ending up 19th out of 31 cars.
This series is like a roller coaster ride and it’s important to overcome set-backs and look at the bigger picture. Sunday is for racing and with three of them to look forward to, we were focussed on making sure we took full advantage of every opportunity to make up places and bag some points!
Sunday was bitterly cold but fully dry. In race 1 I made good progress early on to get inside the top 15, but unfortunately I would later drop outside the points to 22nd place after being moved onto the grass while battling with Rob Austin on the final lap. Our challenge to score points had now become even more difficult.
In race 2 I once again made good inroads on the first lap, passing a total of 9 cars. Now up into the points there was still a lot of work to do as the gaggle of cars I was racing with weren’t giving an inch.
I moved up to 11th place, then dropped back to 12th, before a move around the outside of Aiden Moffat and Tom Oliphant at Redgate corner earned me 2 positions. Now in clear air, I was able to achieve a superb 9th place overall.
What a different feeling to the first race and to make things even better, my number was selected from the draw for the reverse grid – I would start Race 3 from pole position! What a turnaround in fortunes. *The only drawback was that I had already selected to use the hard option tyre in race 3 which had been shown to be considerably slower in the other races.
*Each event (except Thruxton) has an option tyre and every driver must select which race they use this tyre in. You can only choose race 1, race 2 and race 3 a total of 3 times each in the season.
Lined up on pole position and with the live TV interview done (where I managed to say my team name wrong!!), it was now show time!
I got off the line superbly and led into Redgate corner and down through the Craner Curves. With cold rear hard tyres I oversteered into the Old Hairpin, losing the lead to reigning champion Ash Sutton and then dropped to 3rd as Adam Morgan got by too. I held my own as the laps went by but I dropped down the order to 13th as the cars on medium tyres stretched their legs and I struggled to find any grip.
I’d hoped for a better result despite the hard tyres but there’s still so many positives to take away from the race, not to mention my race start where I led the field into turn 1. Being on pole position provided great exposure for all my sponsors so I’m delighted to have had my 15 seconds of fame.
Next up we head to Thruxton Circuit, the fastest track in the UK, for Round 3 of series.