So coming in to round 8 of the BTCC we were put on the back foot before the weekend even started when we received a 1 second time penalty for an incident at Knockhill, this was my third strike and meant we had to start at the back for race 1.
Now I love this championship, nothing else comes close. Consistantly 20 odd cars qualifying within just one second and close hard racing all the way through the pack, its as exciting to drive in as it is to watch and to me no other championship on earth has half the appeal that the BTCC does to me… However… It lets itself down sometimes and once again though I find myself frustrated and struggling to understand how the championship is policed. I believe my move at Knockhill was marginal, the car I was trying to overtake moved across after I had committed to the manoeuvre but even so it was technically a push to pass so I accept the penalty as fair. What frustrates me is that I had exactly the same manoeuver done to me in the race before but for some reason no one was penalised. In fact each one of my three strikes this year are the same, I think they were all deserved yet I have multiple examples of other drivers getting no penalty at all for the same mistakes… Time and time again this seems to be happening and if you put yourself in my boots when you put your heart and soul in to your racing then I’m sure you can appreciate my frustration.
Anyway, now I have that off my chest, back to Rockingham! Starting at the back was a huge shame, we had the car really well hooked up, even with a mistake on my quick lap in FP2 it was still good enough for the top 5. My history around Rockingham is pretty good and the Toyota went well there last year so we were potentially looking at some very strong results, instead we came away with a load of damage and only one points scoring finish of 14th.
Race 1 we were on the hard tyre and, as everyone did, we struggled. We had good pace compared to the other cars running the hard tyre but P20 was all we could manage.
Race 2 and our progress was halted by turn two when Warren Scott outbraked himself and slammed in to my left rear wheel (he did come and apologise afterwards). It was a really hard hit but somehow but we were still able to continue (lucky) but the damage had left us struggling for pace, battling with people we don’t normally race against and getting hit left right and centre! Still, we survived, made progress, got a couple of points and set ourselves up for a strong top ten finish in race 3.
Race 3, unfortunately, again ended at turn 2. This time Dave Newsham outbraked himself, slid in to my left rear wheel and turned me around (Dave also apologised) this left us dead last and we had to start all over again. We progressed through and it looked like we might of been set to get back to the top ten but then out of nowhere I got collected from behind and my rear suspension broken. Unfortunately I cant give anymore details than that. Only because I have no idea what actually happened until I see the footage this weekend. I was clear so I wasn’t looking behind and as I was braking for the final complex I just got hit.
All in all, a pretty disappointing weekend and a load of wasted potential. I think the team and I did a good job and did all we could. Sometimes that’s all you can do, there’s just nothing you about being on the receiving end of other peoples mistakes.
Looking ahead to Silverstone and I have a good feeling, I’m not sure why but I think we will suit Silverstone. However it is a big power circuit, long straights and relatively few corners so logic dictates that the Motorbase cars will dominate but there will be 30 other guys desperate to beat them so expect some intense and exciting racing!