Last weekend at Croft brought a pole position and podiums galore as we travelled to the North East for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The weekend started with Ash dominating both of the free practice sessions in the wet on Saturday morning, before a wet and windy Qualifying on Saturday afternoon that lasted just nine minutes and would see 12 cars involved in a high-speed crash with 3 drivers being left with serious injuries.
Luke Davenport went off on the fastest corner of the track that caused damage to his car which proceeded to drop its oil onto a very wet track, leaving the surface like an ice rink. The session was then red flagged and the decision was made by the officials not to restart it, following a lengthy period where two drivers were extricated from their cars and the mammoth task of clearing the debris took place.
For the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing drivers, all four drivers qualified in the top ten, with Ash once again setting the overall fastest lap to take pole position. With the lights out for Race 1 on Sunday Ash immediately held onto the lead with a perfect text book start in his Levorg with Jason also making a superb getaway and slotting into 6th before then running wide and onto the grass at Sunny. He scrambled to get the car back on track but unfortunately lost numerous places in the process dropping him back down the order to 25th place. Josh and James also made good clean starts as Josh held 8th and James dropped to 10th.
Race 2 would see Turkington get the better of Ash off the start line and take the lead with Ash running in 2nd before Turkington ran wide at Tower and skipped the chicane although still managing to retain his lead. Turkington took the win with Ash taking a glorious 2nd. Jason endured a great battle taking his best finish of 2017 so far in 6th whilst James finished just out of the points in 16th with Josh bringing his very battered Subaru Levorg across the line to finish in 24th place.
The reverse grid draw for Race 3. Jason got a great start off the line holding his 4th position as did Ash gaining two places in the process and up to 6th but there was further disappointment for James after being pushed out wide at turn one which sent him into the tyre stack. Ash was gaining on race leader Mat Jackson and on the last lap at the Hairpin a move around the outside failed as Jackson forced him onto the grass to bring home his third podium trophy of the day and another 2nd place finish.
Although both Josh and James endured a tough weekend, they both showed great pace and race craft throughout, and if hadn’t been for the incidents they had been caught up in it could have been a whole different ball game and we are very proud of their achievements from the weekend and the great battles they endured whilst running at the sharp end of the grid. The icing on the cake was Jason being back on the podium with his 3rd place finish. The title ‘King of Croft’ has now been adopted by Ash with his outstanding performance and three podiums over the weekend.
A delighted Ash commented
“Croft was a perfect weekend for me and a great step forward for the team, having us all inside the top ten in Qualifying. I went into croft with a positive mind set, it has been my strongest track over the past few years and it was always going to suit our car. Saturday showed we found the sweet spot in the wet weather conditions topping every classification. Despite having a great day, it didn't end how everyone would have wanted, we were unfortunately involved in the qualifying nightmare pile up. The team did a sterling job and worked late into the night to get the car ready for Sunday's action.”
Jason commented “What a super super weekend for Team BMR, Ash had an absolute corker of a weekend, and I had my best results of the year.”
“The mid-season break is going to be important for me as I need to work hard with the engineering team to find a solution to the chassis handling issues that I have. We made some progress in this area at the weekend but I just can’t find the sweet spot at the moment.
I'm confident that we will start the second half of the year in much better form and be challenging for the race wins. I'm motivated and digging deep.”
We have now reached the half way point of the championship were we traditionally break for the summer and return for racing at Snetterton in Norfolk on the weekend of the 29th and 30th July for rounds 16, 17 and 19.
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