BTCC Promise unrewarded for IP Tech Race Engineering on home soil

IP Tech Race Engineering showed further promise in the penultimate meeting of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone.The ninth round of the season marked the home event for the Team Club 44 Chevrolet Cruze being driven by team boss Andy Neate, which had been fully repaired following the accident that forced the team to withdraw from the previous event at Rockingham.Although an engine issue cost him valuable time in Saturday’s second free practice session, Andy showed the pace in the all-new NGTC-spec car in qualifying, where he posted the eleventh fastest time.That came despite the fact that Andy lost time in traffic on his best lap, without which the Cruze could have qualified inside the top six.Sadly for Andy, the opening race would again end in early disappointment when he was caught up in an incident on the exit of the final corner on the first lap. Having been forced wide following contact from Will Bratt’s Audi, Andy was on the outside when Bratt then clashed with the BMW of Nick Foster, which was sent spinning across the front of the Chevrolet.Taking avoiding action to miss Foster’s car, Andy slid off across the gravel and into the barriers, leaving the team with work to do to repair the front left of the Cruze in time for race two.While the team was able to get the car out on track to take up its grid slot, the limited time between races meant that Andy was forced to compete in race two without the correct set-up, restricting him to 17th place as he struggled for grip as the race wore on.Further showing the potential in the car, Andy then matched the pace of a number of the top ten runners in race three, although spending the race in traffic meant he had to settle for 18th place as tyre wear again played a part in proceedings.Andy and the team will now aim to end the season on a high at Brands Hatch during the season finale next month.Andy Neate – Team principal/driver: “We showed the potential that there is in the car during qualifying, especially when you consider that I got held up and lost a tenth of a second on my fastest lap – which would have put us well inside the top ten.“In the first race, I wouldn’t have even been in the position to have to take avoiding action if it hadn’t been for contact from Bratt’s Audi, and that then had an effect on race two as the boys worked brilliantly to repair the car but didn’t have time to get the set-up right for the race.“In race three, the lap times we set were comparable with those in the top ten but when you are forced to fight in the pack at the start, it quickly takes the best out of the tyres and it then becomes a real challenge.“There is no doubt that there is a lot of promise in the car as we have the handling, and now have the power as well. Sadly the issue we had in practice, and then the incident in race one, meant we couldn’t convert that promise, and the aim now is to have a trouble-free weekend at Brands Hatch and turn it into points.”