BTCC: Rd.5, Thruxton (19/20 September)

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James Gornall, #180 GKR Audi S3, said:

“I’ve not been to Thruxton for twelve years, so it’s been a while since my last outing! It’s a very different circuit to anywhere else but I don’t think it’ll take me more than a couple of laps to get back up to speed as it’s not somewhere that has changed a lot since my British GT days. Thruxton is a track where you have hang it all out and I’m looking forward to the weekend ahead. The team has been working hard on the cars and hopefully we can reap the rewards of their efforts. Our focus has to be on maximising our performance on race day and the aim is to try and bring home points in all three races.”

The GKR team was able to secure a points finish at the end of a battling day on track as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season resumed at Thruxton. The award-winning, Essex-based motor dealership headed to the fastest circuit on the calendar looking to bounce back to form after a tough weekend at Knockhill last month where both were unable to score. The pair worked hard through the two free practice sessions to dial in the Audi to the high-speed Hampshire circuit, with the pair then setting their quickest times in the half hour long qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. James would be the quicker of the pair by just 0.075s having gone six tenths of a second faster than in practice.

James would drop back to 20th in race one, as the field battled through the opening complex but recovered back up to his starting position by the mid-way stage of the race. Although not entirely comfortable with the balance of the car, James fought hard to gap the cars behind and would retain his position through to the finish.

He headed into race two seeking to move forwards toward the points, and found himself running just outside the top 20 through the early stages but was struggling for rear end grip around the fastest circuit on the calendar. Exiting the final chicane on the tenth lap, the gearbox on the Audi let go and forced James to retire, with it then becoming apparent that the lack of grip had been caused by oil leaking onto the rear wheels. Unfortunately, the short time between races meant that the team was unable to replace the gearbox on James’ car in time for race three.

James Gornall, #180 GKR Audi S3, said:

“Sadly it’s been another frustrating weekend for me and things didn’t go my way. Having not been to Thruxton for twelve years, I hit every target I set myself on Saturday in getting up to speed, but others found more time than we did which meant we weren’t quite as high up the grid as I hoped to be. I struggled with the balance of the car in the opening race and then in race two the rear end was really loose and I was unsure why. It was only when the gearbox let go and I had to stop that I saw the oil on the rear tyres and it all became clear. It’s a shame that I then couldn’t start race three, so this is a weekend to put behind us and look forward to Silverstone.”

Driver Standings:

Images & Videos by kind courtesy:
Jakob Ebrey

Next BTCC meeting:
Silverstone National, 26/27 September