Tough day at Thruxton BTCC for Pirtek Racing

Andrew Jordan and Pirtek Racing set a stunning pace at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire over the weekend (28/29 April) to claim pole position for round seven of the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, but race day proved to be a real challenge after an incident at the first corner of the opening race.

Andrew finished the day on a strong note with fifth place in the final race, while his Pirtek Racing team mate Jeff Smith started the event at the tail of the grid but raced hard all day and finished ninth in the third and final race as appalling weather made the day really tough for all the drivers.

“Qualifying was really good,” said Andrew, who took pole position with a sensational lap, eight-tenths of a second faster than Jason Plato and more than a second clear of everyone else. “I was on slicks and it was still greasy, but we were under last year’s pole time, which surprised me,” said Andrew. “It was a good lap,” he said with understatement after a superb display of skill in challenging conditions. “I was pleased to get our first proper BTCC pole.”

Race one on Sunday started on a soaking wet track and it all went wrong for Andrew from the start. “I hit some standing water and the car slid a bit. There was a slight touch with Plato at the first corner and that just sent me round and into the wall. It damaged the rear suspension and also did some damage at the front,” he said after limping back to the pits.

The Pirtek team then worked flat out to get the car ready for the second race. “We just got the car done in time, but it was still not quite spot on. I came from the back of the grid to tenth,” he said. “It was important to get a finish so I bided my time. I nearly got ninth place at the flag and then they drew position nine out of the hat for pole in the grid draw race three. So I had to start tenth on the grid for race three.”

Still on a wet and slippery track, the grid formed up for the final race and tyre choice was a tricky decision. “It was nearly dry enough for slicks, but it rained again on the warming up lap so we stayed with wets. I got up to fifth but the handling still wasn’t quite right, so we wonder if there is still something from the accident in race one."

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