Andrew Jordan and Pirtek Racing were right at the heart of the action as the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship started with three action-packed races at Brands Hatch on Sunday (1 April).
In front of a huge crowd and a live TV audience, the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic made a superb start to the season and came away with two second places and a sixth place to give Pirtek Racing its strongest ever start to the season. A fine day’s work from driver and team put Andrew immediately into the title race and he is third in the overall points, only headed by the big two names in the BTCC: Jason Plato and Matt Neal.
To compound a great weekend for Pirtek Racing, Jeff Smith chalked up three top 10 finishes and ended the day with a fighting fourth place to leap into sixth place in the overall standings. After three of the season’s 30 races, Pirtek Racing leads both the HiQ Team Championship and the Independents’ Team Trophy and Andrew is top of the Independents’ Trophy with Jeff in fourth. It was a stunning weekend for the team and drivers.
Andrew started the weekend in style with fourth fastest time in qualifying, just a fifth of a second away from pole position while Jeff was 12th fastest in the 22-car field. In race one, Andrew was running in the leading pack until he was tipped sideways and clipped by another car, which left the Pirtek Honda with significant damage to the front left corner. Somehow, the wheel and tyre survived, but all was not well and he had to ease his pace and nurse the car home in sixth with the tyre destroyed by the end of the race. Jeff, meanwhile, raced hard to take tenth place in a four-car battle for seventh.
The team worked flat out to repair the damage to Andrew’s car in time for race two and he repaid the effort by racing hard to finish a fighting second from sixth on the grid, a third of a second behind race winner Matt Neal as Jeff battled through to seventh. But the best was to come in the final race as the Pirtek cars took second and fourth. After a red flag due to a gaggle of cars off at Druids, Andrew led for seven laps before Plato squeezed ahead while Jeff scored a tremendous fourth place.
“Any other day I’d be very pleased with two seconds but I’m slightly disappointed that the win got away from me in race three,” said Andrew. “It’s certainly got me fired up for my home event at Donington. The main thing, though, is we’ve come away from the first round with a decent points haul.”