With the next race of the 2015 British Touring Car Championship taking place at Thruxton this weekend, here is a recap on the last meeting which took place at Donington Park for rounds 4,5 & 6.
The sunshine from the first race weekend seemed to be let loose over Donington Park to provide an astounding, beautiful and warm Saturday afternoon for qualifying. Reigning champion Colin Turkington took pole position from Honda’s Gordon Shedden with only 0.069s separating Shedden and Jason Plato who ended up in 3rd.
The MG’s of Andrew Jordan and Jack Goff both had unsympathetic sessions as the Triple Eight Racing’s boys seemed to be taken in by the afternoon sunshine. Jordan was troubled when he spun the MG6 in two separate incidents and with team mate Jack Goff also spinning, things were not going his way either as the extra ballast on-board his MG was depriving him of any momentum towards familiar grounds so Goff only managed 13th.
Running in 8th for the majority of the session, Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat completed an impressive display, but unfortunately was knocked down to 9th in the final few moments. This was not met with much disappointment though as he was able to celebrate a first top ten qualifying.
Moffat explained: “The only disappointing thing is that I felt that I could have gone faster. I felt the car was strong enough to produce more but as is always the case, you’re always fighting for track space and always against the time where, unfortunately, the time ran out for us to gain more track space.
Sunday was a contrast to the summer teasing sunshine that qualifying saw, as clouds hung over Donington with the odd smile from the sun breaking through every now and then. That summer feeling wasn’t too hard to find though as the Laser Tools Racing team lit up the paddock. Smiles all around as the optimism and excitement was just flowing through the veins of everyone in the team.
Race 1 would be a historic moment for Triple Eight Racing as the team celebrated its 500th Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race. MG, for the second year running, have teamed up with Triple Eight Racing by providing their brand new MG6’s to be raced, and have been scoring solid points as they defend the Manufacturer Constructors Championship crown from last season.
As the revs built, pops of the exhausts reverberated through the air and the lights dipped, 29 cars set off for Round 4. Moffat battled his way through though the first corners unscathed and was able to get his head down; setting some good lap times in the process. Being able to hold on to his starting position of 9th, it wasn’t until around the half way point of Race 1 that the soft tires started to “fall-off” which started to see Moffat slipping down the order. With a few moments getting the Mercedes Benz sideways, the grip was all but gone come the final few laps and resulted in the car coming home in 18th.
The Triple Eight Racing MG6’s managed to overturn a below par qualifying with Jack Goff managing to gain six places throughout the race to finish 7th , with team mate Andrew Jordan being able to move up one place and cross the line in 4th. Team BMR’s Jason Plato was the overall winner taking his first win of the BTCC season.
There was nothing to be ashamed of as the team applauded Moffat on his arrival back to the pit garage. As predicted, the soft tyres were always going to be a challenge and, as the car came to a halt outside Garage 17, the young Scot showed his appreciation but his saddened eyes illustrated how upset he was with the result. Nevertheless, with the soft tyres out the way the team could focus on getting some good laps in with the durable and harder compound over the remaining two races.Moffat had managed to post the 10th fastest lap meaning that he was able to move his way back into the top ten for the second race, and could get his Mercedes Benz A-Class get stuck in yet again in the thick of the action.
With the grid replenished from lunch, Race 2 got underway and in the usual BTCC fashion, the bumping of bumpers and sharing of paint started instantaneously, with the youngster being almost pushed off the track by the third corner. It would not be the last time that the teenager would have an encounter with the green grass that Donington Park was offering though. Running as high as 8th by the mid-way point, unfortunately the Laser Tools Racing Mercedes was seemed to be bullied off the track by the BMW of three times World Touring Car Champion, Andy Priaulx.
“A man (Priaulx) of that calibre should at least have the decency to show some form of race etiquette.” explained Gary Allen, Laser Tools Racing Team Manager. “Aiden gave him the respect and provided enough room for both of them. It’s the BTCC, and you do have to bite the bullet sometimes, especially when you get in with the mix at the top end of the field.”
The MG’s had similar results in Race 2 to what they did in Race 1. Andrew Jordan crossed the line with another 4th after an epic battle with Team WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan and unfortunately dropping down the order where he was running as high as 2nd at one point. Triple Eight’s other half, Jack Goff, managed tosecure 8thafter battling to the finish line with Race 1 winner Jason Plato.
A classic BTCC tussle took place in the final race of the day which provided incredible action right through the grid. With Moffat starting in 16th, the 18-year-old had been bombarded by pressure all weekendso the team orders were to just go out there and to enjoy himself. Taking those orders onboard, he produced a performance that will be likely to be relived over and over again by all of the Laser Tools Racing team.
Making move after heart racing move, he managed to move his way up the order. With incidents taking place in front of him, Moffat kept his cool and was quick to avoid any drama that lay ahead. It was sensational drive that even saw the Mercedes Benz take to a bit of rally cross during a battle with Rob Collard to the finish line. Moffat eventual crossed it on the grass claiming 5th position.
The MG’s finished the weekend with only one car running as, at the very end of lap 6, Jack Goff had a coming together at the final chicane with Sam Tordoff’s BMW. Team mate Andrew Jordan managed to take home a trophy as the 2013 BTCC Champion took to the podium finishing in 2nd in Race 3. The MG Triple Eight Racing Team stand third in the Team’s Championship with Jordan lying in 4th, and Goff in 6th in the Drivers’ Championship. In the Manufacture Constructors Championship, MG find themselves in 2nd sitting just behind top placed Honda.
Hands were shaking from the adrenaline, eyes watering with tears of jubilation and smiles were exchanged by the bucket load. As news fed through that Moffat was the highest placed independent driver for the final race, the team could not contain themselves any longer, and a stamped of blue ascended to the podium to watch Moffat presented with a first BTCC trophy of his racing career.
Talking to ITV-Sport, Moffat described the weekend. “To start in 16th in race three and walk away with a trophy is massive for us. We’re a family run team so it means so much to everyone. A year ago if you’d told us we’d be up here we’d probably have laughed it off, so for it now to be a reality it’s a good reward for the hard work everyone puts in.”
After Round 6, Moffat sits in 16th overall in the Drivers’ Championship on 19 points. He is performing well in the Independent Drivers’ Championship too as he is currently sitting in 8th position. Laser Tools Racing stand in 11th overall in the Team’s Championship and stand in 6th in the Independent Team’s Championship. The breath-taking start to its 2015 season continues as it heads for Thruxton for the next round on 9th and 10th May, with plenty more action in store.
- On: 08 May 2015
- By: CarShop
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