Sam Tordoff made a welcome return to the rostrum during rounds 7,8 and 9 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, setting a new qualifying lap record on his way to securing pole position and a 2nd placed podium on the fearsome Hampshire circuit (May 18/19).
The Yorkshireman’s outstanding qualifying performance was once again on full display during Saturday’s session. After running in P4 in the early stages, a final last flying lap in the dying seconds saw the Leeds-driver snatch pole position – setting a new lap record on the Hampshire circuit with a lap of 1:15.55, just 0.030s ahead of Honda works-driver Dan Cammish.
A textbook start off the line saw Tordoff hold off an early challenge from Jordan’s fast-starting BMW. The Yorkshire held a controlled lead for the majority of the race and looked set for a commanding lights to flag victory in the #600 Honda Civic. Regrettably, a battery issue in the closing laps saw the Type R struggling with a power steering issue, and a wobble on lap 13 forced him to surrender the race lead to Jordan. The JCT600 backed-racer did well to hold for P2 from the chasing pack, and his battling drive was rewarded a maiden podium and first Independent win of the season.
Running with near maximum ballast in race 2, Turkington’s rear-wheel drive works-BMW took 2nd from Tordoff at the first corner. Holding off a challenge from Cammish as the duo battled door to door in the opening laps, the #600 Civic Type R was pushed wide and dropped back to 4th. A defensive battle ensued, with the AmD-racer coming under increasing pressure from the lighter chargers, and he eventually crossed the line in 6th – claiming his second independent win of the weekend.
Starting from 6th following the reversed grid draw, Tordoff made an excellent charge off the line in race 3. Running with 24kg of ballast on-board, the #600 Honda was up to 4th by the end of the first tour of the circuit and in strong contention for a podium spot. Unfortunately, the power-steering issue from the opening race returned, sadly proving terminal this time around and Tordoff’s race was over after just 6 laps.
“It’s been a good but frustrating weekend. Pole was amazing, but we had a win robbed from us with a steering failure in race one, and then another sure-fire podium lost again at the end;” said Tordoff.
“Up until race 3, I was quite happy with the way the weekend had gone, barring the slight problem with the first race. But race 3 unfortunately ruined what would have been a great set of three strong points finishes for us.
“I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with how the weekend ended. It’s not quite the comeback I’d hoped for.”
Although disappointed with the end to a strong weekend at the Hampshire circuit, the welcome results and points have helped to propel Tordoff up the championship standings ahead of the next BTCC meeting at the Yorkshireman’s home circuit, Croft, on June 15/16.