Team ES Racing’s latest recruit Dave Newsham blasted his Vauxhall Vectra to the top of the time sheets today at the first official Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship test; Team Principal Chris James also put in a solid performance to finish the session in the top ten.
Today’s result was a great end to a busy weekend for the team after they had spent it repairing the #78 Vectra of Chris James which suffered a heavy impact at Brands Hatch testing last Thursday.
Following the mornings media activities Dave Newsham threw down the gauntlet early setting the pace with a sub-1 minute lap time. This time would stand for the rest of the session with Newsham further improving his time with a 58.965s lap in the last hour, with this he would become the only driver to dip below the 59 second mark.
The day wasn’t without its drama for Newsham after he suffered a few gremlins including a puncture and brake problems; overall the day turned out well for the Inverness-based driver.
“It’s been awesome hasn’t it, just awesome” beamed Newsham. “We did a lap, one of the first flying laps and set the fastest time and after everyone else had been pounding around and we’d been sitting in the garage to go out and go even faster we seem to be able to turn it on whenever we like.”
“The car is just awesome, it was brilliant at the Brands Hatch test and it’s been brilliant here too, it’s just really quick” He added.
Team principal Chris James running a 2011-spec engine for today’s test finished the session in ninth place after steadily improving his times in the first time out since his heavy accident at Brands Hatch.
Summing things up James commented: “It’s been an amazing day, how can you not say it’s been an amazing day when Dave has been fastest all day, he’s obliterated anybody’s time around here previously.
“My time of 59.6 was sixth tenths faster than that of James Nash’s race pace last season, we had a race set up all day, we never had anything like a qualifying set up today, after Thursday the team doesn’t need to prove anything, we know we had an enthusiastic professional quality team, we’ll do our talking on the track this year, it’s been a great day.”
Team Manager Andrew Dean had a positive day at the helm commenting on the efforts the team have put in over the last few days.
“From where we were last Thursday obviously with the state of Chris’s car I think the team deserve an enormous amount of praise to get it here in a running condition and still prepare Dave’s to a high standard.
“Obviously the team are still learning the cars and still learning to work with two cars because it’s a big step up for them from one car, but I have to say my initial impression of the guys is that they are massively enthusiastic and very capable so hopefully as the season goes on and we gel as a team we can build on some decent results.
“To come here and be quickest today is a bit of a surprise, didn’t expect that, Dave’s obviously an accomplished driver and the cars a proven package. We have the benefit of having all the set up data from Triple Eight as well but it’s all very well having all the kit and information but if you don’t know how to use it then it’s no good to anyone.
“I’m quietly pleased with the performance of not just the drivers but with the team today as well” he added.
The first round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship takes place at Brands Hatch on 1st April.