AmD Milltek Racing.com scores maiden BTCC top ten
In the home event for Derby-based backer Milltek Sport, the AmD Milltek Racing.com team was able to secure its first points finish in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship during the second round of the 2011 season at Donington Park (16/17 April).
The West Thurrock-based team headed to the East Midlands seeking to challenge towards the top ten with its Volkswagen Golf, which is running this season with a new turbo-charged two-litre engine built to the BTCC’s Next Generation Touring Car regulations.
New Malden-based racer Tom Onslow-Cole was hampered by an electrical issue through free practice and qualifying, but went into race day keen to battle forward from 16th on the grid.
A trouble free run in race one saw Tom taken the chequered flag in twelfth place, which became eleventh post-race when the Honda of Gordon Shedden was excluded. A strong opening lap in race two saw Tom climb into eighth place and he then made up further places after both Paul O’Neill and Mat Jackson went off the road.
Although he was overtaken by a recovering Shedden before the finish, Tom secured a richly deserved seventh place for the team; scoring the first points for AmD Milltek Racing.com in the process. Underlining the progress made with the car, Tom’s fastest lap was just six-tenths of a second slower than race winner Andrew Jordan.
The reverse grid draw for the final race put Tom third on the grid and well placed to add to his tally, with the VW briefly edging its nose into the lead of the race on the run to Redgate. However, Tom was then forced wide by Tony Gilham through the first corner and dropped back to third before he was caught up in contact between three cars behind while turning into the Old Hairpin, which damaged the rear suspension and put him out of the race.
Tom’s first top ten finish of the season means he sits 14th in the drivers’ championship and ninth in the Independents’ drivers standings.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster of a weekend,” he said. “We had some problems on Saturday but then everything started to come together on race day. The first race was pretty uneventful but race two was really good. We did have some luck on our side, but we had the pace to run in seventh, which shows that the work the team is doing is moving us in the right direction.
“In the final race, I think I led for a few metres going into the first corner and then got forced wide onto the grass. I came back on in third and then turning into the Old Hairpin, it all kicked off behind me and I was hit hard in the rear.
“It was a tough way to end the weekend but we are only six races into a 30 race season and now we’ve scored our first points and found more speed in the car. I’m confident we can now build on this weekend.”
The top ten finish was just reward for the AmD Milltek Racing.com team for the work put in on developing the Volkswagen over the off-season, and continued the progress seen during the opening rounds of the year at Brands Hatch earlier in the month.
The results from the Donington Park weekend mean AmD Milltek Racing.com now lies tenth in the HiQ Teams’ Championship and eighth in the Independents’ Team Trophy ahead of the third round of the season at Thruxton.
“It’s been a brilliant day, although there is some disappointment at the way we were taken out of race three,” team principal Shaun Hollamby said following race day. “The target is to be consistently fighting for the top ten and the seventh place was a consistent performance; we didn’t just get lucky. Given how it panned out, I think we could have had a podium finish in the final race and that isn’t something I expected to say before the weekend.
“We’ve collected a lot of data this weekend that we will examine and then try to make more progress when we go to Thruxton. Tom and the team are doing a brilliant job and I’m sure that everything is there for us to make the Volkswagen a race-winning car before the end of the season.”
AmD Milltek Racing.com are supported by AmD Essex, Milltek Sport, Tesco Momentum 99, YourRacingCar.com, Mintex, Super Pro, Pipercross, Corbeau, KW, ABS, Cornering Force and Airtec.
-source: amd milltek