Monday, September 26, 2022

Motor Sport: Disappointment for AMD Tuning

THE team endured a weekend of disappointment as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed to Donington Park for the second meeting of the year.

The West Thurrock-based team made the trip to the East Midlands buoyed by a strong end to the season opener at Brands Hatch – where Tunbridge Wells racer Mike Bushell came close to his maiden top ten finish.

Leading the way in the rookie championship standings, Mike went into rounds four, five and six of the campaign in optimistic mood with his first target being to break into the top ten for the first time.

A strong showing in free practice saw Mike post the sixth quickest time at the wheel of his Ford Focus, although he was unable to improve on his time in the all important qualifying session; the end result being a 14th place grid slot for the opening race of the weekend.

Unfortunately, things started to go awry from the moment the green flag lap got underway for race one, with a driveshaft issue forcing Mike to return to the pits as his rivals lined up to take the start of the race.

While the team worked hard to replace the part to allow him to rejoin the action, a further driveline issue as he left the pits saw the Ford coast to a halt at Redgate.

A repeat of the same issue would again force Mike back into the pits at the start of race two and resulted in a non-classified finish – leaving the team hoping for better luck in the final race of the weekend.

Showing the undoubted potential in the car, Mike proved to be one of the quickest drivers on track as he battled to work his way through from the rear of the field – posting a fastest lap quicker than ultimate race winner Matt Neal.

Sadly, contact with the Chevrolet of Dave Newsham at the final corner would result in damaged steering on the Focus and left Mike to retire the car to the pits; leaving him without a single point from the second weekend of the season.

Team and driver will now hope to bounce back when the series heads to Thruxton in three weeks time.

“It’s been a very disappointing race day, there is little more I can say,” Mike reflected. “The weekend had started well and in free practice we were right in the mix, although in qualifying I was struggling with rear end grid and it meant we couldn’t improve our lap time in the same way some of the others did.

“I still felt confident when we went out to the grid in the opening race but when the green flag lap got underway, that was when things started to go wrong. It was frustrating to effectively be forced to sit out the first two races, even more so when the pace in the car was so clear to see in race three as it leaves me to wonder what might have been.

“The contact in race three while I was fighting for position was unfortunate, but this is just a weekend to forget and put behind us.”

Team boss Shaun Hollamby shared in Mike’s disappointment but said there were still positives for the team to take away from the weekend.

“While we can’t be happy to come away from the weekend without a race finish, the pace we showed in the final race was very encouraging,” he said. “We’ve had a number of problems that we’ve faced during race day, but Mike was quicker than a lot of the front runners in race three and if we’d been in the position we should really have been in, I have no doubt he could have been right in the mix at the front.

“That’s something that we can take away from the meeting and we need to focus on showing that kind of pace when we get to Thruxton in a few weeks time. Donington is a circuit where we never seem to have had the best of luck, and unfortunately our curse struck again this weekend.”


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