This weekend saw Team JCT600 with GardX have a strong season start and a podium finish at the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
However, it’s fair to say that both drivers, Sam Tordoff and Rob Collard, faced a few challenges on race day whilst at the wheel of their WSR-run BMW125i M Sports.
Sam lead the way on Saturday’s qualifying session, completing a quicker first lap than the BMW had ever achieved before and secured himself with 4th place on the grid. This was quickly quashed, however, as on the second lap Sam took an unfortunate spin which saw him drop to the rear of the field, finishing in 16th place for Race One.
Sam then began to make amends in Race Two, working his way up to 9th place on the grid, a result that meant he was in pole position for Race Three due to a reverse-grid draw. He lead the way through the first lap but quickly lost positioning to Adam Morgan, and although came close to overtaking to gain pole position again, he finished the race in 2nd place meaning he is 8th position in the drivers’ championship.
Sam Tordoff commented: “It was a difficult start to race day with the spin in Race One and that put me on the back foot. If there was a plus to take away from it, it was that we were then ballast-free on the soft tyre in Race Two, and our plan to take it easy early on and manage the tyres worked exactly as we planned. The race came to us as it went on and to get into the top 10 and secure pole for Race Three was ideal. I got a good start when the lights went out, but it takes time to get the heat into the tyres so I lost out to Adam Morgan early on. The tyres came to us towards the end, but yellow flags at Turn One for a car in the gravel worked against us. However, it’s good to start the year with a podium, which meant the weekend ended well.”
Rob also faced a few challenges after qualifying 12th on the grid but quickly picked up the pace to be in the top ten as the race began, finishing in 6th place. However, he also took a spin in Race Two dropping him to the back of the field as a result and managed to secure 16th place despite damage to his BMW. To end the weekend, Rob finished in 6th place leaving him at 10th place in the championship standings.
Rob Collard said: “After qualifying, I had work to do but we also knew that the BMW had good race pace and would be strong when the lights went out. I felt that it was realistic to aim for a top-six position and that was exactly what we got, so everything was going to plan. The start in race two was fantastic and the car felt great. Going into Paddock, I got up the inside of Tom Ingram and the move was ongoing into Druids. Sadly he turned in and put me into a spin so; from there it was a case of doing what I could with a car that wasn’t at its best. Race Three was interesting I did more than I expected with the soft tyre, although I think the pace was there to do even better without traffic. Overall, two top sixes is a good end result but I can’t deny I’m disappointed to miss out on a potential win in Race Two. On the plus side, the car is clearly a step forward from last year, and it bodes well for the rest of the season.”
Holding 3rd place in the HiQ Teams Championship, Team JCT600 will now prepare for round two at Donington Park in two weeks’ time.
Added: 04 April 2016