Lea Wood and the Houseman Racing squad ended their 2014 British Touring Car Championship season in fine style at Brands Hatch last weekend (12 October) thanks to a hat-trick of competitive showings.
Wood recorded a brace of finishes in the overall championship points at the Kent circuit, keeping his head while many competitors were losing theirs.
The weekend also saw the team make good on their target of breaking into the midfield pack and proved to be the most successful of the campaign in terms of results, providing a fitting reward for their hard work and a perfect way to head into the off-season.
Wood qualified the team's Toyota Avensis 21st on the 30-car grid in Saturday's wet-dry session, though he was unfortunate not to find himself further up the order after a late red flag ruled out his quickest lap.
Race one did not begin as planned, with an accident ahead forcing Wood to take evasive action. That led to a trip through the gravel and dropped him to the rear of the field. However an excellent recovery drive saw him finish P16, putting the Avensis in a good position to compete during race two.
Wood was then able to make the most of his pace, climbing as high as 11th before he was forced to avoid a spinning Fabrizio Giovanardi. This cost the Houseman driver a few spots, but he still recorded an excellent 14th-place finish and secured well-deserved championship points.
The weekend's final outing saw the 2014 BTCC season conclude in dramatic fashion, with heavy rain making for treacherous conditions.
Despite this Wood kept the Avensis on the island to take another P14 finish. The Houseman driver came home under a second behind two-time BTCC champion Giovanardi, though given the limited visibility he'd be forgiven for not knowing which car he was chasing across the line.
Wood and the team now head into the off-season with the firm intention of building on their 2014 efforts and returning as regular points scorers next year.
LEA WOOD: "It's great to end the season with three strong results and, after our accident at Rockingham, with the car in one piece! We had good pace throughout the weekend, and were it not for a few evasive manoeuvres could have scored even better. But it's the performance that matters, and we really showed that here.
"The first two races were certainly eventful, with the mixed-up grid leading to a lot of action in the early stages. That made getting back among the points scorers particularly pleasing.
"The weather in the final race was crazy – it was like someone had thrown a blanket across the windscreen! But again the result was great, plus we tried a new wet setup which worked well, so that’s more data gathered for next year.
"All in all Brands was a good way to finish the season. We only just made it on to the grid this year, so I'm very pleased with what we've achieved. A big thank you goes out to our sponsors and supporters who made it possible – hopefully we'll be back even stronger in 2015."