Saturday, April 13, 2024

Motor Sport: AmDTuning rue lost chances

THE team was left to rue a weekend of misfortune at Donington Park after bad luck across race day saw the team head away empty-handed from the second round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

The West Thurrock-based team made the trip to the East Midlands circuit seeking to open its account for the 2016 campaign, with Ollie Jackson having shown impressive pace both during the annual season launch at Donington Park in late March, and in the Brands Hatch season opener earlier in the month.

The weekend started well with Tamworth-based Ollie inside the top 15 in the opening practice session, and with the team working hard to complete it’s planned programme, the 31-year-old went into qualifying hopeful of a strong showing.

In challenging mixed weather conditions, Ollie put the Audi S3 inside the top ten at the mid-way point of the session on a drying circuit, and then – after a session-halting red flag – looked well placed to secure the team’s best qualifying result with the car before another red flag on his quick lap left him an unrepresentative 19th on the grid.

Despite that, hopes were high of a top 15 finish in race one only for contact going into Redgate forcing him into a trip across the gravel that dropped him to the back of the field. Although able to close up to the cars ahead, Ollie was only able to work his way back up to 21st place before the race was brought to a halt due to multiple incidents on track.

From the same position on the grid for race two, any hopes of points were again extinguished when a clash between two drivers behind resulted in Ollie being unceremoniously punted off into the gravel – and retirement – at turn one, with race three then ending in disappointing fashion when he was forced to bring the Audi in to retire after twelve laps.

"It’s difficult to know what to say really," he said. "Although it was unfortunate that we were caught out by the red flag in qualifying, the car felt the best it had ever been by a long way and I felt we were in a really strong position going into race day. Sadly, things then just didn’t go our way.

"In both race one and race two, there was nothing I could have done going into turn one as contact from behind put me off into the gravel at turn one, and then in the third race, we had an issue with the car that meant I had no option but to bring it back into the pits to retire.

"It’s frustrating that, for the second weekend in a row, luck seems to have deserted us but it’s important that we keep our heads up and come out fighting at Thruxton in a few weeks time and push for the points that the whole team deserves."

Team boss Shaun Hollamby shared in the frustration at how race day had panned out, but vowed that the team would work hard to bounce back in Hampshire during the third round of the year.

"Like Ollie, it’s difficult to sum up how the weekend has gone but once again, Donington Park is a circuit that hasn’t been kind to us," he said. "It’s more frustrating that the issues that have really cost us this weekend have been things that we couldn’t control, as the red flag in qualifying certainly prevented us from getting our best qualifying result with the Audi, and the incidents in races one and two were down to contact from other drivers that Ollie could do nothing about.

"Even if we’d been able to finish the third race, the fact we were on the soft tyre would have made it difficult to make too much progress, so this is a weekend we have to just put behind us and look forwards. We can’t change the results, but with the improvements we have made to the car, we can be optimistic that better times lie ahead."


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