TOP FIVE AT THRUXTON A pair of competitive top five finishes in rounds nine and ten of the Formula BMW UK Championship took Team Loctite's Oliver Turvey up to sixth in the series standings - a remarkable performance for a driver who missed ...
TOP FIVE AT THRUXTON
A pair of competitive top five finishes in rounds nine and ten of the Formula BMW UK Championship took Team Loctite's Oliver Turvey up to sixth in the series standings - a remarkable performance for a driver who missed the first six races of the year.
The Thruxton results were particularly pleasing for Team Loctite given that they expected to have a relatively difficult time at the Hampshire circuit. Thruxton is the UK's fastest racetrack, and the Formula BMWs spend much of the lap absolutely flat-out on its long straights and ultra-fast corners.
A huge advantage can be gained - especially in qualifying - by slipstreaming other cars and being dragged to even greater straightline speed in their wake. Most teams arrange for their drivers to 'tow' each other around at Thruxton, but this posed a problem for Team Loctite. As their sole driver, Turvey had no-one to collaborate with, and attempts to choreograph slipstreaming plans with other drivers in similar situations did not really pay off. He therefore qualified sixth and seventh for the two races, although in each case an improvement of just 0.2 seconds would have elevated Turvey three positions.
A characteristically excellent start saw Turvey leap to fourth place on the opening lap of Sunday's first race, and although he was later passed by Oliver Oakes, he still brought the car home fifth.
Race two began with a spectacular dice between Turvey and rivals Oakes, Jonathan Legris and Ross Curnow, with the quartet swapping positions several times in the early laps. By the time pack settled, Turvey was behind Legris in fifth and clearly capable of lapping faster.
Team Loctite had played a strategic ace card for this race. The drivers can only use a limited number of tyres every weekend, and with Thruxton being famously hard on rubber, the team decided to save a set of fresh tyres for the second race, when most of Turvey's rivals would only have worn sets left. But ultimately circumstances meant that they couldn't make the most of this canny plan.
"Unfortunately the safety car came out just as Oliver's new tyres were coming to their peak performance," Powell explained, "and obviously the slow laps behind the safety car gave the other drivers' worn tyres some respite, so we lost much of our advantage. Plus for some unfathomable reason Legris hung back a good 75 metres from the top three at the restart, which cost us a lot of ground to the leaders."
The frustrated Turvey immediately passed Legris when the racing resumed, and hunted down the top three, crossing the line right on third placed Euan Hankey's tail.
"If Oliver hadn't had to catch everyone up after the restart, I'm sure he could have passed Hankey without any trouble, and perhaps caught Michael Meadows for second," said Powell. "But all in all, we would have taken a fourth and a fifth before the weekend, knowing the problems that we were likely to have at Thruxton. Now we're looking forward to the next round at Croft, and taking the fight to them on a more 'normal' circuit."