Losing the chance of a podium finish through no fault of their own made it an incredibly frustrating time for Andrew Jordan and Pirtek Racing in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch over the weekend (1/2 October).
Ahead of rounds 25, 26 and 27 of the 30-race season Andrew set a superb time in qualifying to take P2 on the grid. But a computer problem prevented the car starting for the race and he missed the opening race of the day. From 29th and last on the grid for race two, Andrew raced hard and managed to battle through to eighth place by the end of the afternoon. It was also a tough weekend for Jeff Smith in the other Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra, with a best finish of 15th place from the three races.
“Qualifying was really good,” said Andrew. “The car was very good and I put a good lap together despite the amount of traffic. We knew we’d be strong on the Brands Grand Prix circuit, but I didn’t expect to be as high as second. We’ve been struggling a bit in qualifying, so it felt good to be up there next to Jason Plato,” he said. Prospects for Sunday’s opening race looked very good indeed as thousands and thousands of fans packed into the Kent track in scorching sunshine.
The team did a precautionary engine change overnight for a fresh unit and ran it up Saturday night and again on Sunday morning to check that everything was working. But it all went wrong as the clock ticked towards the start time of the opening race. “When I went to go out, there was nothing on the starter button,” said Andrew. “All the electrics were wrong and it seems that one of the computer boxes had crashed. The engineers from Triple 8, who supply those parts, came up after the race and were able to re-set it. But we don’t have access to that. That meant we missed the first and started at the back of the grid for the second race.”
From 29th place on the record size grid, Andrew raced hard to get through to 16th at the finish. “The car had some understeer and that was about all I could do,” he reported. “The last race was quite good and I went from 16th through to 8th place, which was OK considering where we started. I managed to keep clear of the incidents and got something out of the weekend, but from P2 on the grid it could have been a really good weekend.”
The BTCC season will now conclude with the final three races at Silverstone on Sunday 16 October.