Jordan bang on the pace at Brands
Mike Jordan and Team Eurotech were among the pacesetters during the 2006 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on Sunday (24 September), but gearbox problems meant that a fighting seventh place in the final race of the day was their best result, yet far less than their pace deserved.
Despite a mighty effort by everyone in the team, gearbox problems hit the John Guest and Pirtek supported Honda Integra on race day, and only in the final race was Mike able to show the pace that the car had enjoyed all weekend.
In the opening two practice sessions of the weekend, the Honda was among the very quickest cars in the 24-car BTCC pack and so Jordan was disappointed to qualify tenth on Saturday afternoon.
In the two morning sessions, the John Guest and Pirtek backed Honda was in the top four times and he was understandably expecting to maintain that front-running pace in qualifying. "The set up was perfect and through the fast Surtees corner the car was just amazing and I felt really confident," said Mike.
However, it was not to be and Jordan ended qualifying tenth, four-tenths of a second away from pole position. "The car just didn't have the same bite in qualifying and at Surtees, for instance, I was having a big catch on every lap," he explained. But with five drivers setting laps in the 49.7s bracket, Mike could easily have been in the top six with only the tiniest of improvements.
In the opening race, Mike was soon on the attack and battled hard with works Vauxhall driver Fabrizio Giovanardi for ninth, taking the place with a sweet move into Druids. But the car was starting to jump out of gear and he eventually dropped back from the Italian, even though he still finished eighth when two other cars retired.
The team worked hard to resolve the gearbox problems for race two, and Mike started from the back of the grid after the team worked until the last minute. Once again he was flying, and scythed through to 12th only to have the problem reappear and he eventually retired rather than risk damaging the engine as the gearbox suddenly changed from fifth to fourth gear on the main straight.
For the last race of the weekend, the team borrowed a new gear cluster from Team Dynamics and that solved the problem. From 15th on the grid, Mike passed car after car as he stormed through the field and worked up to seventh place, on the tail of the leading group. "I did about six consecutive fastest laps and the car has been brilliant all the time we've been here," said Mike, after setting third fastest lap in the race. "We finished on a high in front of the live TV cameras, but it's been a frustrating weekend!"