JAMES NASH SHOWS HIS NATURAL SPEED AT SNETTERTON James' first race win in the prestigious HiQ MSA British Touring Car round at Snetterton on Sunday was later that evening disallowed. The no doubt difficult decision came after the stewards...
JAMES NASH SHOWS HIS NATURAL SPEED AT SNETTERTON
James' first race win in the prestigious HiQ MSA British Touring Car round at Snetterton on Sunday was later that evening disallowed. The no doubt difficult decision came after the stewards deemed James to have had an avoidable collision with leader, Collard, who spun out of contention for a race win and collected Jelley, causing damage to both cars.
A technical issue meant James missed qualifying and started from the back of the grid for race one. Frustratingly for both driver and team, a driveshaft failure on James' out lap resulted in him starting from the pit lane, however a second failure forced him to pit out of the race.
In stark contrast to the first race, James revelled in race two, starting 16th and making up an impressive eight positions to finish 8th overall, taking some well earned points.
Despite this being just his third event in the BTCC and still familiarising himself with the Lacetti and team, James resisted the pressure from Plato running behind him and was running 12th by the end of the first lap. A confident move on Pinkney moved James up to P11 on lap 2, still fending off the far more experienced Plato until the sixth lap when the Racing Silverline car passed him.
On his 8th place finish, James said, "I got a reasonable start off the line and tried to manage my tyres from the start. I had to work hard, with Jason behind me, and I wanted to keep him there for as long as possible.
I'm really pleased with that result, having been disappointed with the earlier race. This is my best finish to date. It was a little frustrating not being able to make a move on Collard. We had some really close racing and for sure we have the pace and we can now do a race distance. This is just my third race event, but we're improving all of the time, I sincerely hope my performance today will help our search for additional sponsorship so I can continue beyond Knockhill"
It was an all Chevrolet Lacetti front row for race three, with bamboo engineering's Vaulkhard on pole and James 2nd on the grid. The two fiercely competitive BMWs of Collard and Adam were behind, meaning the pressure was well and truly on. But James remained unphased, focusing only on turning his earlier fortunes around to take a podium position. Conceding a place to Collard into the first corner, James fought back, retaking 2nd place from Vaulkhard. From here James held superb pace, building a strong gap over the rest of the pack and setting the fastest lap of the race with a 1:12.503 on lap four.
With the gap to Collard quickly diminishing to just 0.719s, James was racing firmly on Collard's tail, and coming under increasing pressure from Turkington, proved his pace and skill when competing against the BTCC giants.
Getting out of shape into the Esses, Collard ran wide, allowing James to close in and by lap 13, James was leading the race following Collard's spin and collision with Jelley.
A stint with the safety car did little to distract James' desire to win his first BTCC round and he made a great restart, building a gap of 0.333 over current championship leader, Turkington.
But the joy was short lived as the stewards deemed the move on Collard "an avoidable collision" and subsequently excluded him from the race.
Speaking after the hearing, Team Manager, Paul Field said:
"James drove fantastically today. We all know how quick the BMWs are off the line, so the plan for James was to make it through the first corner ahead of Vaulkhard, because we knew James had the pace. Which he did. He then pulled a respectable gap over Vaulkhard and began to close in on Collard, bringing the gap down to under a second and staying firmly on the BMW's tail.
Despite this being only his third event in the BTCC, James remained focused and determined to the end. He managed his tyres perfectly, maintained great pace and resisted enormous pressure when challenging Collard and being hunted by Turkington.
The end result is obviously disappointing, but the stewards have looked at the footage and deemed the collision avoidable. We would like to extend the teams' best wishes to Rob Collard.
We now have to focus on the positives and look forward to the next event."
The next round of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship takes place on the 15th & 16th August at Knockhill.