Oulton Park: James Nash weekend summary

NASH DEBUTS AT OULTON PARK WITH RML CHEVROLET-LACETTI Making his debut in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship this weekend, the pressure was on for 23 year old James Nash. With just a shakedown in the Lacetti prior to...

NASH DEBUTS AT OULTON PARK WITH RML CHEVROLET-LACETTI

Making his debut in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship this weekend, the pressure was on for 23 year old James Nash. With just a shakedown in the Lacetti prior to the event and some of the hottest weather to date to add an extra challenge, the team focused on car setup and getting James familiar with his car, tyres and team.

The free practice sessions gave James the opportunity to get some testing laps in and as his knowledge of the car grew, his lap times fell.

James put in some strong laps to qualify in 16th for Sunday's race, just 1.654s off pole sitter Jason Plato and only 0.695s off race three winner, James Thompson, in the Honda Civic. An impressive first session for the BTCC newcomer.

A great first race saw James putting in some competitive lap times, and mature driving ensured he kept ahead of the Fords and Hondas. By lap 6, James passed Chilton for 12th place and enjoyed some good racing to dice with O'Neill and Jordan in the VXR. From lap 14, James secured P11 with a best lap time of 1:29.422 .

A gearbox issue blighted James' second race, leading to his retirement on lap 4.

Race three proved to be relatively steady for James, with consistent lap times providing the team with valuable data for the next event. A pit stop on lap 11 to correct an electrical issue pushed James back down the field, but he rejoined to finish 17th.

As the BTCC heads to Croft in a couple of weeks' time, the team will be focusing on getting some strong results.

Phil Barker, James' Race Engineer summarised, "Overall James put in a strong performance this weekend. His lap times improved with each session as his confidence grew and he set his fastest lap in qualifying, putting him P16. He may have hoped to qualify closer to the other Lacettis of Jason and Mat, but this is all new to him, the car, the team and the championship and he has relatively limited experience in touring cars to date. We can be pleased with James' qualifying.

The first event is always a steep learning curve and Race 1 went very well. We just missed out on a top ten finish, but James drove a great race. The BTCC is notorious for wheel-to-wheel racing and there are some very big, very experienced personalities in the field this year, so it's credit to James for keeping his focus, avoiding any trouble and for putting down some impressive lap times. We'd expected to improve in race 2 and 3 judging by his improvement throughout Saturday's sessions, but unfortunately mechanical problems robbed us of the opportunity to aim for top ten finishes which was bitterly disappointing for the team.

Looking to the next event at Croft, we'll be aiming for some solid results as James builds on his experience in the Lacetti."

-credit: rml

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