Sunday, 20 April, 2014

BTCC Thruxton – Driver Ratings

Posted by Nikki Thompson On May - 1 - 2012

Jason Plato – 8/10
A great weekend for Jason in the KX Momentum Racing MG6. Despite treacherous conditions, he managed to achieve two podium finishing positions in the first two races and a fourth finish in race three. These results mean that Plato leads the championship going into the six week break before Oulton Park.

Gordon Shedden – 9/10
The flying Scotsman lived up to his name at Thruxton, as Gordon pushed his NGTC Honda Civic to the limit and beyond, and has now put himself in the championship hunt – being just four points behind Jason Plato. Despite a horrendous qualifying session – having all of his fastest times removed due to a technical infringement – Gordon finished took two out of three victories in races two and three to put the spring back into Honda Yuasa’s step.

Matt Neal – 7/10
Although probably not getting the results he would have wanted, it was a good weekend for Matt in the second NGTC Civic. Qualifying didn’t quite go to plan, when after hitting some standing water off line, the Civic span and was lucky only to have a slight amount of damage. Starting down in nineteenth, Neal fought back through tough conditions to finish in tenth. Results came at the end of the day, however, when he – along with Shedden – gave Honda their first 1-2 finish of the year.

Mat Jackson – 7/10
A strong weekend for Mat and Redstone Racing at Thruxton. Having their best qualifying session of the year, lining up fourth for the first race, Mat took advantage of the incident between Andy Jordan and Jason Plato at the first corner to storm through to the lead. Leading from start to finish, Mat took the win and also went on to score a second podium finish in race two. A good drive in race three also saw him score points by finishing in sixth. Jackson goes into the six week break leading the Independent’s Championship by one point.

Rob Collard – 6/10
Having run the London Marathon in four hours and six minutes seven days previously, Rob was battling the elements in a completely different race at Thruxton. Qualifying saw Rob end up sixth, however made up places in the first lap incident, and ended up finishing in a strong fourth position. The BMW struggled with its tyres in the conditions in race two, as Collard fell backwards and ended up seventh. A tangle with Lea Wood on the final corner of the last race saw Rob end up with a puncture, but limped over the line to take seventh.

Andrew Jordan – 6/10
Jordan took his first pole position of the year with a spectacular lap around the Thruxton circuit. Standing water off line at the first corner of race one saw him spin off and hit the barrier – abruptly ending his race with suspension damage. Andrew fought back in race two and finished in the points with tenth ahead of team mate Jeff Smith, and had a good fight with Mat Jackson in the final race to finish sixth.

Dave Newsham – 7/10
Despite the engine giving up the ghost during Saturday’s qualifying session, Newsham managed to set a time good enough for fifth for the opening race of the day. Taking advantage of the first corner incident, Dave soon passed Frank Wrathall’s Toyota to take second – staying there until the red flag flew – to give Newsham his best ever BTCC finish and ES Racing’s second podium. Having lost some places in race two, Dave ended up in  sixth, whilst in race three – and conditions worsening – his choice of slick and wet tyres didn’t pay off and ended up two laps down in eighteenth.

Jeff Smith – 6/10
A consistent albeit quiet weekend for Jeff in the second Pirtek Racing NGTC Honda Civic. Despite an off in qualifying which left him starting the weekend near the back of the field, Jeff drove three solid races to make up places, and finished in three point scoring positions.

Tom Onslow-Cole – 6/10
Some consistent driving in tricky conditions allowed Onslow-Cole to score some well earned points for the eBay Motor’s outlet. Qualifying in tenth ahead of team mate Nick Foster, O-C finished in eighth after making up places. Bodywork damage in race two restricted performance, and fell back to thirteenth place. Ended the day rounding off the top ten after another consistent drive.

Frank Wrathall – 7/10
A superb weekend for Frank and the Dynojet team at Thruxton. Qualifying in his best ever position of third and remained in the top three in the first handful of laps before being passed by both Plato and Collard. Made up a place in race two to finish in a strong fourth, and ending the weekend on the third step of the podium – bringing home some much deserved points in the process.

Tony Gilham – 6/10
After reaching the third step of the podium at Donington, the Team HARD racer wanted to make another impression at Thruxton. Finishing the first two races within the points put him in prime position when Murray Walker chose him to finish on pole for race one. Holding on to the lead for a number of laps, before eventually being overtaken by the 2012 Hondas of Shedden and Neal. Disaster struck when a lock up into the final turn saw Tony skid off the track and hit the barrier, forcing him to retire from the race.

Aron Smith – 7/10
A very strong weekend for Aron Smith in the Redstone Racing Ford Focus. The Irishman qualified in seventh – despite sitting out FP2 due to a clutch problem – set the tone for the weekend in terms of finishing positions. Some quiet antics on track saw him finish all three races within the top ten – a great result going into the six week break.

Lea Wood – 6/10
Also having strong weekend was Lea in the BINZ Racing Vauxhall Vectra. Wood qualified in the top ten and looked racy throughout all three racing – having some good on track battles with the likes of Tom Onslow-Cole and Tony Gilham for position. Finishing races one and two ninth and twelfth respectively, race three was a little more drama fuelled, when contact with Rob Collard on the final turn of the last lap saw them both go off the track. Despite this, Lea still managed to bring the Vectra home in eighth, rounding off a solid weekend.

Rob Austin – 5/10
Hoping to leave the engine gremlins that haunted the RAR team at Donington behind, Thruxton looked hopeful for Rob Austin. Having only just got the engine in the Audi A4 in time for qualifying, a shunt at the end of the session left the Audi with significant damage – and a lot of work for the mechanics. A retirement in race one due to an incident with another car also dented the teams spirits slightly. Despite getting out for race two, progress was slow and Austin ended up down the field, whilst in race three, having sorted the set-up of the Audi somewhat, he ended the weekend in the points. The team will now be looking forward to Oulton Park and will be keeping their fingers crossed for some well deserved finishes.

Nick Foster – 6/10
A quiet weekend for Nick Foster in the third eBay Motors’ BMW. Starting the weekend by qualifying in eleventh behind team mate Onslow-Cole, Nick drove three strong races, despite rain-fuelled conditions, to finish all three in point scoring positions. Overall, a good weekend for the team, who will now have their eyes on more points at Oulton Park.

Liam Griffin – 5/10
Although starting the weekend on a positive note, qualifying in a strong ninth position, race one didn’t exactly go the way Liam would have wanted in his Addison-Lee backed Ford Focus, as a hefty impact with the tyre barrier having caught some standing water on track ended his race – and left his mechanics with plenty to do. The hard work paid off, and Griffin was back out for race two and finished the day in a point scoring thirteenth.

Dan Welch – 4/10
A disappointing weekend for Dan in the Proton. A drive shaft problem scuppered any chances of finishing in the points – as it forced him to sit out all three races of the weekend. All eyes will now be on Oulton Park, making developments in the Proton in the process.

Ollie Jackson – 6/10
A great weekend for Ollie in the AmDtuning.com Volkswagen Golf – battling the conditions in the process. Although no real dramas on track, qualifying in thirteenth put him in a good position to bring home some good points. Some consistent driving saw him finish all three races in point scoring positions – showing that the Golf is making good progress so far in the season.

Andy Neate – 4/10
Not the best weekend for the second Triple Eight Racing MG6. Contact between himself and Shedden during race one saw him finish down the field, with race two being slightly better – finishing just outside the points in sixteenth. A second retirement in race three brought the weekend to a disappointing end. Neate will now be looking forward to Oulton Park to bring the MG back to life.

Chris James – 4/10
A disappointing weekend for the Team ES Racing team principal. Although rounding out the points in race one, an off in race two caused James to retire the Vectra with damage. Although getting back out for race three, he finished down the field in eighteenth, behind team mate Dave Newsham.

Adam Morgan – 3/10
Not the best weekend for Adam in the Speedworks Motorsport. Although qualifying in thirteenth, he lost positions in race one – with an off on the grass resulting in him retiring in the pits. Race two also didn’t quite go to plan, when Adam finished four laps down. Another retirement in race three brought a disappointing weekend to an end.

Tony Hughes – 3/10
Just like team mate Adam Morgan, Thruxton didn’t bring the results that the team would have wanted. A spin in qualifying left him near the back of the grid, whilst a crash at Noble in race one brought the morning to an end quicker than planned. Hughes finished the second race a lap down. A good recovery in race three saw him finish just outside the points in sixteenth.

John Thorne – 0/10
The Thorney MS team announced that they would not be running the Vauxhall Insignia at Thruxton. The team will be working hard throughout the six week break to have it back out and running smoothly at Oulton Park.

Report: Nikki Thompson
Photos: Nick Dungan / Sportstock.co.uk

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