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STR show great resolve at Rockingham
Old 20 Sep 2011 09:56
Category: BTCC
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Despite a disappointing qualifying session, mechanical issues and a penalty, STR showed great determination at Rockingham to claim two top-ten finishes in the latest round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Un-phased by his six-place penalty for the incident at Knockhill with Jason Plato, Tom got off to a flyer in race one from 23rd. Steering clear of the confrontations ahead he stormed up the order, climbing a remarkable 15 places into eighth by the sixth lap.

Following the safety car deployment on lap seven, a titanic five-lap battle broke out at the restart with Nick Foster’s BMW. The pair ran side-by-side and swapped places through the Deene hairpin on lap 12, before Foster eventually got the upper hand. Both drivers then closed in and quickly dispatched of James Nash, elevating Tom to seventh. But with Tom’s tyres showing signs of wear, he was reeled in by Rob Austin’s Audi, losing the position on the final lap to come home in eighth at the chequered flag.

Having qualified in a frustrating 20th, Dave was then unfortunate to get caught up in one of the skirmishes at the start of the race, and he was pushed out wide at the hairpin. The incident put him behind Tom, but he showed great resolve in a three-way battle with Alex MacDowall and Andy Neate to come out on top and take 12th on lap six. However, his race was then to come to an abrupt end on the same lap when Austin locked up into Yentwood pushing him off into the gravel.

“That was a manic race,” said Tom. “But I focused on getting a good start, racing hard, keeping clean and getting as many places as possible. The last two laps I had no grip and Austin got past, but I can’t complain at that, a top-ten finish having started from the back of the grid is a great result.”

Unfortunately for Dave his luck didn’t improve in the second race. Heading to the grid he pulled off the track with mechanical issues at the infield section and was unable to start the race.

And it wasn’t to be Tom’s race either. Starting from eighth, he got another cracking start and was up to sixth by the second lap. Having pulled out a gap from Foster, he looked on course for another solid points finish when a rear wheel bearing broke and his race came to an unexpected end.

After the two DNF’s, both drivers started the last race of the day from the back of the grid, Tom in 23rd and Dave 24th. Determined to make early ground, both made stunning starts, Tom gaining ten places and Dave seven places over just one lap.

Claiming a further three places Dave then pulled off an impressive move to squeeze past Mat Jackson to go 12th as Tom fended the Ford driver off ahead. But damage sustained to his steering arm after a clash on the first lap took its toll on his tyres and he dropped three places to finish 15th.

Over laps six and seven Tom had got the better of Gordon Shedden and then Foster to take tenth. But with four laps left MacDowall and Foster closed in and Tom was dragged into a frenetic scrap for the final points finish. Determined to hold the position, Tom had to defend resolutely as Foster made a forceful move on the back of the SEAT and he went on to finish in a fantastic tenth place.

After the race Tom said: “I was pleased with the finish. We’ve shown we’ve got the pace again, but it wasn’t where we wanted to be. The support after Knockhill has been amazing and I really wanted to be at the front fighting for another podium finish, so hopefully we can go on and do that at Brands Hatch.”

Photo: Marc Waller/MW Motorsport Media
Tags: 2011 btcc

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