Tough weekend for Team PSP but points tally rises. The short and twisty circuit of Knockhill lived up to its name for Team PSP in rounds 15 & 16 of the British Touring Car Championship this weekend. Despite his best qualifying performance of the...
Tough weekend for Team PSP but points tally rises.
The short and twisty circuit of Knockhill lived up to its name for Team PSP in rounds 15 & 16 of the British Touring Car Championship this weekend. Despite his best qualifying performance of the season, Phil Bennett managed less than one lap of the sprint race before being knocked off the circuit with a badly damaged car through no fault of his own and was forced to sit out the feature race. Scot David Leslie, on his homeland track and in front of almost 14,000 supportive fans, drove two hard races in difficult wet conditions to record a 9th in the sprint and a possible 7th place in the feature race-- scoring more valuable points for the PETRONAS-backed Team PSP in the process.
Free Practice & Qualifying
With free practice a valuable opportunity for experimentation and preparation, both drivers assessed a range of variables. Bennett tried gearbox ratios to come up with the ideal for the demanding circuit, with Leslie working on chassis set-up.
In the first practice session for the Sprint race, Phil Bennett secured 10th spot with a time just 0.65 seconds shy of poleman Priaulx. David Leslie struggled with steering problems caused by the aggressive kerbs and finished up on the 7th row alongside Warren Hughes' works MG.
In the second session, Phil Bennett put in the best performance of his season with a sparkling lap just 0.49 seconds shy of pole position, good enough for 8th place on the grid; Leslie's steering problems meant he would start from the back of the Touring class grid in 17th place.
The main story of Team PSP's sprint race, run in very wet conditions, was the sudden departure of Phil Bennett after being clouted hard by Slight's Vauxhall at Taylor's hairpin just before the end of the first lap. In the impact, the Proton's front suspension was so badly damaged that despite the best efforts of the mechanics the car was unable to start the Feature race. Meanwhile, David Leslie drove a sound race to finish in 9th place despite an spin in the worsening conditions.
In the feature race, David Leslie battled with the appalling conditions to work his way up through the pack to record an excellent eighth place, with the possibility of being elevated to seventh if current seventh-place man Chilton is found to have missed a drive-through penalty.
Phil Bennett said:"I really thought this was going to be my weekend. We had a pretty good chassis set-up and our engine is strong, which we converted into our best grid positions of the year so far. Being punted off and out of contention before completing even one lap was hard to bear-- but that's racing."
David Leslie said:"After our trying time in qualifying, I was very pleased to have posted two more solid finishes, despite the conditions which made the Feature race particularly challenging. In the Sprint, I was mixing it with the leading pack of Vauxhalls, MG's and a Peugeot until I made contact and dropped back. In the Feature, there was just one Honda, one MG and a gaggle of Vauxhalls ahead at the finish-- all in all, quite pleasing. And a big thank you for all the encouragement from the Scottish fans-- we're already planning our return next year!"
David Wong, Team Principal, Team PETRONAS Syntium Proton said:" This was a tough and character-forming weekend for the team-- but we came away with yet more points to add to our tally."