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AmD Milltek Racing.com shows strong pace at Rockingham
Old 20 Sep 2011 09:52
Category: BTCC
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The AmD Milltek Racing.com team showed strong pace throughout the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham only to come away from the eighth meeting of the 2011 season without any points to its name.

On his third outing for the West Thurrock-based team, former Clio Cup champion Martin Byford produced his most competitive performances of the season but was left to rue an incident on the opening lap of both race one and race two which hit his hopes of breaking into the top ten for the first time.

Colchester-racer Martin enjoyed easily his best qualifying result of the season on Saturday as he secured tenth on the grid for the first race of the weekend but was then caught out on the opening lap when an incident ahead saw him make contact with a rival car and dislodged the bonnet on his turbo-powered Volkswagen Golf.

Having managed to return to the pits despite having the open bonnet blocking his view, Martin was able to rejoin the race – albeit a lap down from the rest of the field – and took the chequered flag in 20th place.

Unfortunately for Martin, another incident ahead on the opening lap of race two again hit his hopes of a points finish after a coming together ahead resulted in contact with the Chevrolet of John George. With a broken bonnet catch, Martin was forced to return to the pits but then produced a fine drive to bring himself back level with the remainder of the field; posting the sixth fastest lap of the race but taking the chequered flag in 18th after his earlier delay.

Contact on the opening lap of race three saw the VW slip down to 20th place before Martin started making forward progress, although he spent much of the race on the end of a train of cars fighting for position in the midfield.

Running in 19th for a long spell, Martin finally managed to battle ahead of the Ford of Michael Caine and the struggling Honda of championship leader Gordon Shedden before a last lap move saw him claim 16th from Knockhill race winner Tom Chilton – again showing strong race pace with the Golf despite spending the full 16 laps in traffic and with damage to the bodywork sustained in race two affecting his straight-line speed.

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“It was difficult to come back from what happened in race one,” he said. “Race two was equally frustrating given the pace we showed in the car and then in race three, I lost out when I got hit at turn two and it meant I was in a train of traffic throughout. It’s a real shame because the car was really strong this weekend and in the final race, when I got ahead of Caine, I was able to pull away and make up places; it was nice to get ahead of someone like Tom Chilton before the end. Although we lost out a bit on the oval, we had genuine pace in the car and with a better result in race one, we would have been in the points.

“The team has done a really good job this weekend and has taken a methodical approach to working through the programme we had. We’ve been on the pace since qualifying and we have unlocked a lot of potential in the car, we just weren’t able to make the most of it.”

Team boss Shaun Hollamby was left frustrated by the failure to score points on what had been a strong weekend for the Volkswagen squad, but with the team’s home circuit of Brands Hatch coming up next in a fortnight’s time, hopes remain high of a strong performance on the iconic GP circuit.

“In the BTCC, you need to basically treat the three races as one because they all have an effect on each other – given that your starting positions are dependent on earlier results,” he said. “You’ve got to finish, and finish well, and we were on the back foot after the first lap of race one which was a shame. The pace Martin showed on track was really good, especially in the second race, and he made the most of the fact that we have a strong chassis with the Golf. What we now need to do is make sure we get all we can from the engine, as we just lost out a bit through the speed traps.

“It’s disappointing that we haven’t scored points this weekend given the steps forwards we have taken again, but Brands Hatch GP circuit should suit us down to the ground and as our home circuit, we’re hoping for a strong weekend there.”

AmD Milltek Racing.com are supported by AmD Essex, Milltek Sport, Tesco Momentum 99, YourRacingCar.com, Mintex, Super Pro, Pipercross, Corbeau, KW, ABS, Cornering Force, Airtec, SFS Hoses, Eurocell and AlignMyCar.

Photos: Bob and Steve Knightley
Tags: 2011 btcc

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