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ST Blog – Knockhill/Rockingham08/09/15

This week’s rant comes off the back of two difficult weekends in BTCC, but for very different reasons.

Knockhill was a weekend of what should have been. The car felt fantastic round there all weekend and was most definitely the fastest car on the grid. Qualifying went well with a P2 slot behind teammate Andy Priaulx and we followed that up with a fourth place finish in Race 1. From there on, the rest of the day was a nightmare!

Fastest in Races 2 and 3, I didn’t finish either race. The smallest of touches with Andrew Jordan in Race 2 when running 5th broke the rear wheel and that put us out on the spot. The team did a great job to repair the car and we lined up at the back of the grid for Race 3. The car was simply superb and I carved my way through the field to 5th position before a stupid mistake on my part led to contact with Rob Austin and once again a broken wheel.

That was definitely the end of my championship aspirations and a long drive home on Sunday night.

Two weeks later, Rockingham gave us the opportunity to make amends. However this time, we were surprisingly in for a struggle.

Throughout Saturday’s disrupted practice sessions the car had felt reasonably good but when qualifying came we were unable to deliver. For the first time all year the car was a real handful and that showed as I qualified 11th with my teammates further behind. Following some lengthy engineering discussions we felt we had some good solutions for Sunday’s Race 1 but that proved to come to nothing. Therefore we went fairly radical in terms of setup for Race 2 and thankfully the car finally came alive. I climbed from 15th to 7th only to make contact with Colin Turkington and with a bent car undo all my hard work! For Race 3, again we made progress and this time with no contact rose from 14th to 5th.

It was a little reward for all the guys hard work in what has been a challenging few weeks. Ultimately we have thrown away probably 40 points in the last two weekends’ which would have put us in serious championship contention. Anyway, this is the BTCC, these things happen and you must take the positives, not dwell on the negatives and move on!

In brighter news it is Goodwood Revival this weekend and I cannot wait. Last year it was genuinely the most fun I have ever had racing. This year I will be driving a 1962 Fiat Abarth 1500 in the St Mary’s Trophy. The entry list is absolutely ridiculous – I’m going to have to pinch myself with the famous names and faces I’ll be up against. The car unfortunately was prepared very late and so we won’t be in with a chance of a podium but weirdly it doesn’t matter at Goodwood – the fact that I am there and racing is good enough for me.