SUNSHINE.CO.UK OUT OF LUCK AT OULTON PARK After a stunning start to the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport found itself out of luck in the fourth round of the campaign at...
SUNSHINE.CO.UK OUT OF LUCK AT OULTON PARK
After a stunning start to the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport found itself out of luck in the fourth round of the campaign at Oulton Park.
Widnes-racer Paul O'Neill headed into the weekend sharing the lead of the Independents' championship standings, while the Honda team arrived in Cheshire sitting second to Airwaves BMW in the Independents' teams standings.
Paul had secured eighth place on the grid despite being restricted to just four laps in qualifying before a gearbox issue forced him to park his Honda Integra at the side of the circuit.
Despite the best efforts of the Tech-Speed team, the gearbox issues continued into race day and forced Paul to miss the first two races of the weekend, although the home hero was able to take his place at the back of the grid for race three.
Showing what might have been without the gearbox problems, he stormed through the field to eighth place -- setting the second quickest lap of the race in the process -- before a slight issue with the brakes on his Honda saw Paul run wide at Cascades on the final lap and drop to tenth.
Paul made up a place following the conclusion of the race when Andy Neate was excluded and he now heads to Croft later this month in fourth place in the Independents' championship and seventh in the overall title chase.
"It was a total reversal of how things went at Thruxton and Rockingham," he reflected, "but you can't have them all. This weekend has been a blip and it won't happen again. You want to do well every time you go out on track but even more so on home soil and it is unfortunate that things didn't go our way.
"We win as a team and we lose as a team but they certainly didn't deserve the bad luck we've had this weekend."
Team-mate John George enjoyed a strong performance on race day, although it would end in disappointment when he was forced to sit out the final race of the weekend.
The Guernsey racer qualified in 19th place on the grid, a solid drive in race one saw John gradually climb up the order to take the chequered flag just outside the points in twelfth place. Starting from the same position in race two, John avoided an incident ahead on the opening lap and fought his way up to eleventh place behind Dave Pinkney's Vauxhall and the similar Honda Integra of Lea Wood.
John looked well placed to secure a well-earned top ten finish as he ran quicker than the pair ahead but when Wood locked up into the final corner, John was powerless to avoid running into the rear of his car. That contact was enough to damage the engine on his Integra, and left John to sit out the final race of the weekend. He leaves Oulton Park 17th in the Independents' standings.
"Apart from the final race, it's been a good weekend for me," he said. "I ran well in practice but unfortunately I didn't string a good lap together in qualifying which left me with work to do in the races. I had a good battle with Andy Neate and Lea Wood in race one to finish in twelfth and then I was eleventh for a long time in race two and was lapping quicker than the cars ahead. Unfortunately, Wood locked up in front of me and I had nowhere to go and the damage was enough to put me out of the final race. That was a disappointing way to end things but I've gone well this weekend and quicker than I have before."
Oulton Park proved to be a weekend where the sunshine.co.uk team was forced to battle hard against the elements, and Tech-Speed chief Marvin Humphries admitted it was one that the team now needs to put behind it as it focuses on preparing for round five at Croft.
"The team has worked really hard but it's been a tough old day with Paul's gearbox issues and John's accident," he said. "We've shown again that we have the pace, but unfortunately Paul wasn't able to make the most of it in the first race when he was in a position to capitalise. John was doing well before getting involved in his accident but this is a weekend we just need to put behind us and move on to Croft."
Sunshine.co.uk MD Chris Brown shared in the disappointment felt following the weekend but said the team would bounce back strongly.
"Race day just didn't go to plan, which is a shame because Paul and John were quick enough to show what might have been," he said. "Tech-Speed worked so hard on Paul's car and we were all gutted when he missed the first two races. It made it difficult in race three but he was still able to show that he is one of the quickest drivers out there.
"John's speed in the first two races was really encouraging and he deserved to get a points finish today. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and he was unlucky to get caught up in the incident that finished his weekend.
"Our season so far has been fantastic but sometimes things don't go your way. We'll regroup and head to Croft looking to get both cars into the points."