Sam Tordoff battled hard to salvage three points finishes during a challenging second meeting of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park over the weekend (April 27/28).
The Yorkshireman’s early qualifying pace in the Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R was sadly barely rewarded, with Tordoff collecting just 6 points from the weekend’s three contests on the Leicestershire circuit.
Staying true to form in qualifying, the GardX-backed racer took advantage of a late run during Saturday’s red-flagged qualifying session to bag a 5th place spot on the grid for race 1.
With zero weigh on-board the Honda Tordoff made a lightning start off the line, to take 4th from Smiley. Managing to avoid a huge multi-car incident as the pack raced through Craner Curves, the Leeds-driver set his sights on a podium spot following the restart. Duelling Cook for 3rd, the two Honda’s battled side by side with Tordoff besting the BTC Racing driver on the final corner.
Regrettably, it was a short-lived celebration after damage sustained during the tussle with Cook pitched the #600 Civic off into the gravel on lap 12. In spite of saving the car from further damage, Tordoff’s hopes of a podium finish were dashed, and after re-joining the race the #600 Civic crossed the line in P13.
Setting the tone for the day, contact and mishaps continued to hound the Cobra Sport AmD Autoaid/RCIB Insurance driver in race 2. Running as high as 8th in the opening laps, Tordoff was tipped into another spin by Plato on lap 9, dropping him down the order to take 14th at the flag.
Left on the less-favourable tyre for race 3, the #600 crew opted to test a radical set-up change for the final race. Setting the fastest lap time of all cars running on the option-tyre, the prime choice showed to give a clear advantage over the harder-compound and Tordoff had to settle with a credible P15 finish. Collecting his third points finish of the day.
“This weekend has been yet another disaster, unfortunately;” commented Tordoff. “We had another strong qualifying position in P5 on Saturday, and I thought our luck had finally turned. We were running a comfortable third in the opening race, and then contact that I’d had earlier broke the car and that eventually spat me off. It was incredibly frustrating and then really set the tone for race 2.
“After coming through the pack nicely, we were turfed off again which ruined our race. That left us on the less favourable hard tyre for race 3. We made the decision to try a few radical things, thinking ahead to Thruxton. It seemed like a good time to experiment given that the rest of the day had gone so disastrously wrong. Sadly, it didn’t work out, although we did set the fastest lap on the hard tyre.
“We just have to keep trying. Keep plugging away, and our time will come.”
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returns in three weeks’ time when it arrives at the fastest circuit on the calendar, Thruxton in Hampshire, for rounds 7, 8 and 9 on May 18/19.