Triple score for AmDtuning.com at tricky Thruxton
The AmDtuning.com team secured a hat-trick of points finishes on a challenging weekend of racing for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton.
Race day saw the Hampshire circuit battered by high winds and heavy rain, leaving the West Thurrock-based team to battle against the elements with its turbo-powered VW Golf.
Attleborough-based driver Ollie Jackson went into the weekend eager to bounce back from a tough weekend at Donington Park, and he secured 13th on the grid in what would prove to be the only session where dry tyres were the order of the day.
Despite visibility issues in the opening race, Ollie showed the pace of the Golf by posting the sixth quickest lap en-route to twelfth, where he then started race two.
Ollie was again on the pace in the second race of the weekend but his chances of a top ten result to match his speed were hampered by the fact he found himself boxed up behind the Honda of Jeff Smith. An off-track excursion across the grass then led to a quick pitstop before Ollie rejoined the circuit to cross the line in 15th and score the final point.
Ahead of race three, conditions seemed to be improving, leading to Ollie and the team electing to go with a combination of slick tyres on the front and wets on the rear of the Golf. Sadly, as the field completed the green flag lap before the start, the heavens opened and Ollie had no option but to pit at the end of lap one to fit wet tyres all round.
While that dropped him right to the back of the field, Ollie battled back into 15th to take his third points finish of the day, leaving him 18th in the championship and 14th amongst the independents.
“We were up against it in the conditions and it’s a bit of a shame that we had such good race pace and didn’t quite get the results to match it,” he said. “Sadly when you are stuck behind a car that is quick in a straight line, it can be difficult to make a move stick even though we had more pace in the corners. The decision to go with the mix of slicks and wets seemed to be the right call in race three when we started the green flag lap but then it chucked it down and I had no option to pit. It was right to take the gamble though and we finished where we started, so we didn’t lose anything by doing it.
“The race pace is the big positive that I can take away from the weekend, and I’ve also been able to learn a lot about driving a front-wheel drive car in those kind of conditions. They were the first real laps I’d had in the wet and they will also help with my car control in the dry. There are a lot of positives for us to take away.”
Team boss Shaun Hollamby said he was pleased with more points for the team, even though there was some disappointment that the top ten pace displayed by Ollie wasn’t reflected in the final results.
“After the disappointment of Donington, we’ve picked up three solid finishes and have shown good race pace in all three races,” he said. “We took a gamble in race three which didn’t pay off, but we had nothing to lose with where we were on the grid. It’s been a steep learning curve for us with the conditions and we’ve tried a few things to see what what worked and what didn’t.
“It’s slightly disappointing that the pace Ollie showed hasn’t been converted into some top ten finishes but there are plenty of positives to take away from the weekend and the fact we showed top ten pace is definitely one of them. Oulton Park is next, which should suit the Golf, and there are a few things we plan to look at in the month before then to get more from the car.”