Airwaves Racing Celebrate Maiden 2011 Victory at Donington Park
Airwaves Racing secured their first win of the 2011 Dunlop British Touring Car Championship after a weekend of dramatic results at Donington Park. A difficult qualifying session coupled significant race damage to the teams ‘Little Red Devils’ looked to be writing off the Kent-base team’s chance of success, however, a fantastic victory and top ten finish in race 3 has put them firmly back on the map for the Championship challenge ahead.
It’s always satisfying to see the car do well and to get a great result for the team and David [Bartrum].
After a fraught race 1, Mat Jackson managed to secure the Airwaves Racing team a solid points result and, despite receiving damage to his car early in the race, he delivered a solid 6th position for the start of race 2. A technical issue in race 1 later saw Gordon Sheddon’s Honda Civic disqualified, moving Mat up into 5th.
BTCC rookie Liam Griffin had a lucky escape off the start line when John George spun off the track and into his path. He did well to avoid the potential carnage, but unfortunately his evasive action cost him three race positions. Griffin showed good pace throughout the race, working his way up through the pack to finish the race in a highly respectable 14th position.
With the Sunshine beating down on the Donington Track for the start of race 2, the Airwaves Racing team were hopeful of a good points haul to strengthen their Championship position. However, fortunes turned against the team and Liam Griffin once again when, coming into Cravers Curves with the Chevrolet of Jason Plato and Rob Austin’s Audi, a shunt by Gordon Sheddon pushed him into a spin and directly into Plato, resulting in a dramatic roll for the Chevrolet and forcing both drivers into retirement on the opening lap.
Jackson would fair better in an incident packed race, but not without his own dramas. Once again, showing his extensive race craft, he worked through the field over the opening laps and was sitting in a comfortable 4th position by lap 9. Over the next few laps Jackson and Chilton battled hard and after an impressive display of driving skills from the Airwaves Racing driver, contact from Chilton’s Focus knocked Jackson straight into the gravel trap and down to 12th position. A final charge to the finish from the Henley-In-Arden based driver managed to bag the Airwaves Racing team a 10th place finish and much-needed point for their Championship challenge.
After an almighty effort from the Airwaves Racing crew to re-build Griffin’s heavily damaged car following race 2, on paper, race 3 did not look to favour the Airwaves Racing team with Jackson and Griffin starting off in 10th and 22nd places respectively. A multi car tangle off the start line saw Jackson benefit and leap into 2nd position after narrowly avoiding a clash between James Nash and Tom Chilton, resulting in the dispatch of the safety car. Jackson then sets his sights on the Chevrolet of Alex MacDowall and following the restart, took advantage of MacDowall as they came side by side into Coppice and stole up the inside to steal the lead where he would sit, unchallenged for the remainder of the race; taking the first win of the 2011 season for the Airwaves Racing Team and picking up an additional point for fastest lap.
At the back of the pack, Liam Griffin finally got to show his capabilities and pace as he expertly worked his way through up an impressive 11 places by the 12th lap. He continued to push the Focus hard and managed to catch up to Plato by lap 15 but just couldn’t quite manage to find the extra pace to pass the BTCC record breaker. Looking content with an 11th place finish coming into the last lap, a last minute collision between Andy Neate and Tony Gilham saw the pair taken out of contention and the Airwaves Racing driver automatically promoted into 9th position; his best ever finish in the BTCC and picking up two vital points for the Airwaves Racing Championship challenge along the way.
Airwaves Racing Team Principal David Bartrum said:
“It’s been a really hard weekend. Coming to Donington is always interesting for Airwaves Racing. We had a frustrating time in the first two races, Liam had a bit of damage in race 2, but fair play to the boys for the effort they made to get the car back out for race 3 and to Liam for scoring his first BTCC points, I’m over the moon. You always want your cars in the top ten but for Mat to start in 10th and win the race is fantastic and for Liam to avoid the trouble and come in with a points score is a great result for the team. As I’ve said before, the Championship all about legs, that’s another leg of the Championship done now and we’ll see what comes out of Thruxton in a couple of weeks.”
Airwaves Racing Team Manager Oly Collins said:
“A fantastic end to a very tough weekend. We’re absolutely delighted to have secured Airwaves Racing’s first win with the Ford Focus and Mat Jackson, and also for Liam’s first points result after he had a brilliant race mixing it with the likes of Jason Plato. The team did a great job to get Liam’s car ready for race 3 after a lot of damage in race 2, and to have delivered it in such great condition is a credit to all at Motorbase Performance and Airwaves Racing. “
Airwaves Racing driver Mat Jackson said:
"We didn’t get off to a good start in qualifying after only managing to finish one lap, so we were on the back foot from the off. We did well to salvage what we had after contact in both races and to come back with a win in race 3 is fantastic for our sponsors, Airwaves, Redstone, The Money Shop, Addison Lee and Leyland Paints and a great finish to a good weekend. It’s always satisfying to see the car do well and to get a great result for the team and David. We can go in to Thruxton now with a smile on our faces.”
Airwaves Racing driver Liam Griffin said:
“I started fairly averagely, race 1 didn’t go well, race 2 was a disaster, obviously with quite a lot of damage to the car that was not my doing, but to see the Airwaves boys turn it around and get me back out for race 3 was amazing. They did their bit and I wanted to make it worth their while. I’m delighted to get that monkey off my back now and get that first points score under my belt.”
The Airwaves Racing team head to Thruxton next for round 3 of the BTCC on 30th April and 1st May 2011 where they will continue their 2011 Championship campaign.
-source: airwaves racing