Tough Rockinham BTCC weekend for IP Tech Race Engineering

IP Tech Race Engineering endured a challenging weekend at Rockingham after an accident on the opening lap of the first race forced it to withdraw from the seventh round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.With the Rockingham weekend marking the first time that the Team Club 44 Chevrolet Cruze being driven by team boss Andy Neate had run with a level of turbo boost comparable to its rival machines on track, hopes were high of challenging for a maiden point finish.Electrical gremlins in qualifying limited Andy to the 22nd fastest time in qualifying – which became 21st on the starting grid when a penalty applied to Aron Smith’s Ford Focus was taken into account.Rain on Sunday morning led to challenging conditions when the opening race got underway, with strong start seeing Andy making up places on the run to Deene before contact from one of his rivals saw him lose momentum.While he was able to recover and rejoin the pack, Andy was then left with nowhere to go when an incident ahead left the Proton of Dan Welch stationary across the circuit at Gracelands.Unsighted by the Vauxhall of Howard Fuller, Andy was powerless to avoid Welch's car when Fuller suddenly swerved to avoid the stricken Proton, with the resultant contact causing heavy damage to the front end of the Cruze.Having been returned to the garage following the race, it soon became clear that the damage sustained was too great to be repaired at the circuit, leaving the team with no option but to withdraw from the remaining two races.IP Tech Race Engineering will now hope for better luck when the series heads to Silverstone on the weekend of 28/29 September.Andy Neate – Team Owner/Driver:“That’s one of those weekends where I really don’t know what to say. Heading to Rockingham we were really confident about what we could achieve and with the increased boost, we were keen to show people what the car is capable of on a level playing field. The electrical issue on Saturday put us on the back foot but I got away well when race one started and made up a few places before Deene.“Someone then hit me meaning I lost those places again and then when I got to Gracelands, it all kicked off in front of me. I had nowhere to go and I can’t put into words how disappointing it is after everything the team has put into repairing the car after the damage we sustained at Knockhill. We’ll go away and regroup ahead of Silverstone.”