BTCC: Brands Hatch II: Team B&Q Jet York City Racing race notes

Brands Hatch Race Report The question on everyone's lips when we arrived was would we be able to turn our recent misfortunes around and bring both cars to the end of the meeting unscathed. The answer would ultimately prove to be negative but...

Brands Hatch Race Report

The question on everyone's lips when we arrived was would we be able to turn our recent misfortunes around and bring both cars to the end of the meeting unscathed. The answer would ultimately prove to be negative but there were positives to be drawn from the weekend. At long last Hyla managed to get a good number of laps under his belt and Jim was able to overcome problems that dogged him for much of the weekend to get back on the pace for a decent showing in the feature race.

Qualifying

After three disastrous meetings we were finally able to provide Hyla with an engine capable of seeing him through to the end of the free practice and qualifying sessions and there were relieved faces all around the team's garage. Causing more concern was an intermittent fuel surge problem on Jim's car that proved hard to get to the bottom of. With no apparent explanation for the problem the team changed the fuel pump and hoped this would overcome the problem as it had done in the past.

Both cars were suffering from large amounts of understeer during the qualifying session but the team made some radical changes to both car's setup overnight and they were hopeful that these problems have been resolved ready for the sprint race where Jim and Hyla would line-up on the grid in eighth and 11th place respectively. The feature race grid would see Jim qualifying in ninth place with Hyla Breese immediately behind him on the grid.

Sprint Race

After a strong first half of the race our progress is turned on its head by the deployment of the safety car. Jim had a strong start and forced his way up into fifth place behind Norman Simon, James Kaye, Gavin Pyper and Tom Boardman, losing his rear bumper along the way. Hyla, still finding his feet in his new mount, was holding his own slightly further back. Jim's fuel surge problems returned as the safety car returned to the pitlane and he fell back into the clutches of the baying pack as he struggled to retain full momentum. After trading places for several laps with his teammate he started to drop back from the Australian.

Shortly after, unbelievably, it was like Groundhog Day again as the perennially unlucky Breese suffered yet another engine component failure as he passed his team on the pit wall on lap 17. Having parked the car on the infield before Paddock Hill Bend he stepped from the car in disbelief and jumped over the Armco where he stood for a moment and simply stared at the car, surely wondering what he had to do to finish a race, before helping marshals push the car to safety at the end of the pitlane. As he trudged back to the team in pitlane he must have been wondering what he had to do to finish a race. Once the car was back in the pitlane it was immediately obvious what had stopped his progress - a conrod had come straight through the block creating a fist sized hole.

Back on track Jim continued to circulate until he was caught up in an accident between the Barwell Motorsport twins of Aaron Slight and Tom Chilton at Paddock Hill Bend that brought out the red flag and brought a premature end to the race. The Kiwi felt somewhat aggrieved that the Maidenhead-based Edwards had been involved but it was soon explained to him that the blame lay somewhere closer to home and he went back to his transporter for a quiet word with his teammate. Unfortunately for Edwards the dramas did not end there as the interval between the two races saw the team struggling to overcome the persistent fuel surge problems and repair the body damage sustained.

Feature Race

Starting in ninth place, with the fuel surge problem that had dogged him up until now finally resolved, Jim Edwards Jnr was determined to put on a show for the fans and to try and lift the spirits in the team. Completing the first lap in seventh place - behind Norman Simon, Gavin Pyper, James Kaye, Spencer Marsh, Tom Boardman and Graham Saunders - he set about passing the Alfa of Graham Saunders. After passing him in a clean move up the inside into the Druids Hairpin he found himself embroiled in a ding-dong battle that saw the pair trading places time and again for several laps before he broke clear of the GA Motorsport driver.

Following yet another safety car period he took over fifth position when Tom Boardman retired with a broken front wheel and there he remained until the end of this action-packed race. Despite his best efforts to catch the Honda Accord of Spencer Marsh in fourth he was unable to make any real impression on the gap ahead of him and he had to settle for a solid fifth place finish. Up front a desperate Norman Simon nudged Gavin Pyper out of the lead in a move that could so easily have seen the pair end in the gravel trap and moved us up into a podium finishing position but, as has been the case throughout the latter part of this season, we were not to be so lucky. But, as we begun the long drive back to our base in the north, at least spirits had been lifted slightly by seeing one of our cars coming home in a race mercifully devoid of any reliability woes.

Comments And Quotes

Jim Edwards Jnr: "Brands Hatch proved to be another trying weekend but at least I came away with a solid finish in the feature race and I am still in fourth in the championship, although it does look a little too close for my liking now. Tom Boardman and Gavin Pyper are now breathing down my neck but we were very strong when we tested at Donington earlier this season and, having hopefully resolved our problems with car here at Brands Hatch, I am hoping to be a little closer to the front than we have been in recent events. We are hoping to finish the season on a bit of a high and retaining that fourth place will be like winning the championship for the team, our ever-enthusiastic fans and I. We will be doing our best and it promises to be an exciting battle for fourth."

Hyla Breese: "What can I say? It's very difficult to put into words the disappointment for all the team after working as hard as they could to get me an engine capable of going the distance. The first test session on Sunday morning was the best the car felt all weekend and it's interesting to see that my lap time was the same in every outing over the two days, so as I got more time and improved, the car got slower. Both Jim and I were suffering a lot from bad power understeer in critical corners like Druids and Clearways onto the straight. I felt I would have definitely gone a lot quicker in qualifying all but for this understeer. So Jim and I did different things set up wise and would see which was best during the sprint race and then use the best for the feature. Jim managed to find the best improvement and I would have used that in the feature if I'd been in it."

"I am still learning a lot about FWD and felt something just click in me in the first test session and I went a lot quicker, quicker than a number of cars including Jim. I could attack the corners more and generally felt happier in the car throwing it around more. Unfortunately I'm going to finish the small year I've had in minus points now which is disappointing. Something I've never had happen before in my entire career. So Donington will be another test weekend for me. I'm hoping to finish off this tough year with a good result for the whole team and if I can get in between a few of Jim's championship contenders to help him and the team championship position, I sure will!"

John B&Q: "I was absent again for this meeting due to commitments back in York. It was a mixed weekend, with York City moving back up to third position in the league after a solid victory, but the race team didn't achieve as much as promised. This was a little disappointing but it is somewhat offset by the plans we are currently putting in place for next season - watch this space!"

-www.yorkcityracing.com-

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