Team ES Racing had a positive return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship today at Snetterton when Dave Newsham qualified in third place, just 0.054 seconds away from pole position while team-mate and team principal Chris James finished the session in fifteenth.
The day didn’t start well after radiator problems put Newsham out of the first practice session. Newsham made it out for second practice and soon started to signal his intentions as he set the second fastest time just behind Jason Plato.
It took some time to set a time in qualifying after a red flag interrupted the first flying laps for the Team ES drivers. As the session resumed and the drivers headed out James was unlucky to pick up a puncture and had to limp back to the pits on a rim. Thankfully there was no major damage cause by the blow-out and James was able to resume the session promptly.
The first flying lap of the session from Newsham catapulted him up the timesheets placing him second, just behind the flying Toyota of Frank Wrathall. As the session went on the times fell and the top three would be covered by just 0.054 seconds as the chequered flag fell. Team-mate James had been putting in consecutively faster laps and finished the session in fiftheenth, just 0.042 seconds behind Rob Austin, who himself was only 0.020 seconds off the pace of Andy Neate in the works MG.
“It started off with a bit of a problem with Dave’s radiator, but at least it happened in first practice, hopefully that’s the bad luck for the weekend out of the way” reflected James. “I was happy with my pace in free practice two but qualifying started with a puncture which was far from ideal.”
“It’s a shame I couldn’t be a little further up the grid as I’ve got Nick Foster behind and he’s likely to be quick of the grid in the rear wheel drive BMW, but we’ll plug away and look to stay out of trouble on the opening laps.”
Newsham added: “I’m happy with today, and I’m surprised at our pace in comparison to the NGTCs. We know we have great race pace as we did a long run this morning and were competitive times.
“I’ll be looking to get off the grid cleanly and let the grid sort themselves out before we can see where we are. I’ll be attackin early, and if we have the pace I’ll be going for the win, we just have to see how we get on.”
Source: Team ES Racing