BTCC: Snetterton: Team PSP race report

More points for Team PSP at Snetterton. David Leslie and Phil Bennett both added to Team PSP's points tally at Snetterton in rounds 13 and 14 of the British Touring Car Championship, with Leslie securing a strong 5th place in the Sprint ...

More points for Team PSP at Snetterton.

David Leslie and Phil Bennett both added to Team PSP's points tally at Snetterton in rounds 13 and 14 of the British Touring Car Championship, with Leslie securing a strong 5th place in the Sprint and recording one of the fastest laps in the Feature race.

Free practice & Qualifying - Saturday:

Both drivers worked through a programme of evaluating various suspension settings, continuing to explore the potential of their PETRONAS-backed Proton Impian race cars. In the first session, Leslie posted a best time just 0.5 seconds shy of fastest man James Thompson, showing that the team is continuing to close the gap on the front runners. Phil Bennett found the initial settings not to his liking and reverted to known parameters for the second session, which brought him close to Leslie's pace.

In the first qualifying period with track temperatures at 36º C, both drivers went out for a warm-up lap coming straight in to swap tyres on the car to bring them up to temperature. Leslie then lost time with a pitlane misfire, traced quickly to a defective ignition coil which was replaced.

Both drivers were very quick in the first sector with top-three straight-line speeds, and both professed themselves happy with a good race set-up. David Leslie said:"The ignition problem threw my first qualifying session a bit, but we got it together in the end. We're in good shape for the races." Phil Bennett said:" I'm feeling good-- I did fifteen laps in qualifying and my tyres were still fine afterwards which bodes well for race distance tomorrow."

Sprint Race-- Round 13

Both drivers made solid starts with Phil Bennett getting ahead of David Leslie to finish the first lap in 11th place. Following the first intervention by the safety car, both Team PSP drivers picked up a couple of places. Mayhem then broke out when Blencowe's Alfa blew its engine at the demanding Russell hairpin leaving oil on the racing line. Several leading cars were caught out, rejoining after some erratic off-track moments. This elevated Bennett and Leslie to 5th and 6th respectively as the safety car came out once more.

Once the track had been cleared, the two Team PSP drivers ran in formation until Bennett's car began to develop oversteer at the notorious Bombhole. Late in the race, he ran wide allowing his team-mate past with both Morrison and Hughes also managing to overtake on the last lap. This left Bennett scoring points in 8th place with Leslie taking an excellent fifth place just over 6 seconds behind race winner Thompson.

Phil Bennett said:"I really thought I was on for fifth or even fourth as I was chewing Reid's rear bumper in the middle of the race. Still, it wasn't to be-- but at least I added to our points tally."

David Leslie said:"That was amazing-- Phil and I negotiated the oilspill safely and were able to leapfrog up into the leading pack. My car felt great so I could run on the pace with them. Another good solid result for the team."

Feature Race-- Round 14

After the rolling start and still on the first lap, Bennett was tapped at Coram, one of the fastest corners on the circuit, dropping him down the order among the Production class. Leslie started in 9th and took 8th on lap 2, running with the leading pack and posting very fast laptimes. Both drivers took early pitstops, slickly executed by the Team PSP mechanics. Bennett picked up a puncture just after the pitlane entrance with just three laps to go, finishing strongly but out of the points.

Despite a sterling drive, Leslie's engine began to misfire with 8 laps to go forcing his retirement. He said:"After the safety car pulled off I found myself tangled in the mid-order brat pack-- it's a zoo down there! I fought back up and then got a misfire. It's a shame because the car felt brilliant today. My best lap was on a par with the fastest of the day. Still, that's motor racing!"

David Wong, Team Principal, Team PSP said:"It was a good solid result in the Sprint race and tough for both drivers in the Feature. It just shows how close the competition is now in BTCC. But it's more points in the bag for Team PSP!

-tpsp-

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers David Leslie , James Thompson , Phil Bennett