TOUGH TIMES FOR SUNSHINE.CO.UK AT SNETTERTON Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport endured a frustrating weekend as the second half of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season kicked off at Snetterton. Both Paul ...
TOUGH TIMES FOR SUNSHINE.CO.UK AT SNETTERTON
Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport endured a frustrating weekend as the second half of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season kicked off at Snetterton.
Both Paul O'Neill and John George found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time when they were caught up in an accident in race two, but rewarded the team for the work it put in to repair their cars with a fine performance in the final race of the weekend.
Widnes-racer Paul had qualified eighth on the grid after a challenging qualifying session in wet conditions but struggled with the balance of his car in the opening race and finished just outside the points in eleventh place.
Paul had hoped to make up places in the second race but was the caught up in an incident involving James Nash and Tom Boardman exiting the Esses which saw Boardman spin back across the circuit at the Bombhole -- right into Paul's path.
The resultant damage put him out on the spot and left the team with plenty of work to do to get his Honda Integra out for the final race. With his car repaired, Paul took his place at the back of the field but stormed up the order to finish eighth and reward the team with two championship points.
"That is probably the best eighth place finish we'll get this season," he said. "We were out of position after qualifying when we were eighth quickest and then we had an issue with the balance on the car in race one. The second race was unfortunate but the guys did an outstanding job again to get both cars out for the final race. To come back with eighth was good and it was great to have John running so well behind me; he could have passed me at one point. It's not what we were hoping for from the weekend but the final race was good reward for the team."
Guernsey-based John qualified 16th on the grid but continued his strong performances on race day to climb up to twelfth place in the opening race before he was also caught up in the incident involving Nash and Boardman at the start of race two. Having taken to the grass on the outside of the Bombhole in an attempt to avoid Boardman's car, John was unlucky to be clipped on the right rear of his car which ripped a wheel from the Honda and left him to crawl slowly back to the pits.
Again, the Tech-Speed team worked miracles to repair the damaged car and allow John to take his place at the back of the grid for race three and he produced one of his strongest drives of the year as he followed team-mate Paul up the order and took the flag just outside the points in twelfth.
"The last race was brilliant and we had great pace, which was amazing considering the damage that there was to the car after race two," he said. "I really thought I was going to avoid Boardman when he was spinning and then he caught me on the rear and ripped the wheel off. To be honest with you, I didn't think we'd get out again after that, never mind with a car as good as it was. I was able to follow Paul and got to fight with Alex MacDowall and Tom Boardman for position, so it was a good way to end the weekend."
The team had gone into the weekend hoping to run at the front after an impressive performance during testing at the circuit last month, with Tech-Speed chief Marvin Humphries admitting that the team was hoping to bounce back at Silverstone next time out.
"It's been a tough weekend and we lost some pace compared to the test which we now need to look at," he said. "The accident in race two obviously set us back and in race three it was a case of making what we could from the position we were in. They both drove well and for Paul to get eighth place was almost like a podium considering how we looked after race two. John was also really strong and did well to follow Paul through the field in the way he did. We've got to put the weekend behind us and look forward to Silverstone."
Sunshine.co.uk MD Chris Brown insisted the weekend was just 'one of those things' although he was quick to praise both the Tech-Speed team and his two drivers from the way they had battled back in the final race of the weekend.
"It was an unfortunate weekend and events certainly transpired against us," he said. "It obviously just wasn't meant to be. The guys did a brilliant job to fix the damage from race two and from the back of the grid in the last race, Paul and John just had to get their heads down and they both did us proud. Aside from race two, John in particular has been really strong all day and we're really pleased with the way he drove."