Struggled a bit at the start of the weekend with the rear end of the Mercedes A-Class being a little unpredictable, but the team worked hard to make the car more stable for qualifying. In qualifying achieved 12th on the 32-strong grid — unfortunately I had made a mistake through the final chicane and that ruined a lap that had the potential for p5.
After an engine change before race day, I started race one in optimistic mood, but made a tiny error on the opening corners, which dropped me two places. In a subdued race, where overtaking was limited, I managed to make my way through the traffic again and ended the opening 16-lap race in 12th place. The car felt OK though, but not when you had to quickly react to a situation or quickly swap sides to try to overtake, so it was a bit frustrating really. I felt that we could have gone better but at least we took points.
The second race was stopped after an accident on the opening lap for Dan Lloyd’s MG. As I had already made progress we began the restart one row higher up the grid having moved up to 10th from the original starting position of 12th in less than a lap! Despite a clash with my fellow Mercedes-Benz A-Class racer Adam Morgan, I took home a ninth-place finish in a car that had lost its edge after the knock with Morgan. It affected the geometry of the car a bit, so our pace was reduced a little. I was just unlucky, really, but it was a top 10 finish and points once again and when the championship is so competitive, that is still a good result
Missed out on the reverse grid draw (yet again!) and started the final race from ninth on the grid and blasted up the order on the opening lap, but then picked up a very heavy vibration on the first lap, and was pretty confident a puncture was just around the corner as it got worse and I struggled for front end grip. Luckily the tyre held out, but with speeds at Thruxton approaching 150mph I was just waiting for the bang!
I managed to stay in the leading group, attacking for position and defending strongly. With a mix of front and rear-wheel drive cars around me and with cars of differing weights, this meant that the advantages ebbed and flowed around the lap. But at the end I secured eighth place, just half a second behind race two winner Rob Collard (BMW 125i M Sport).
Again, I feel that a better result went begging but we have no damage, I am qualifying better and I have always raced better than I qualify anyway, so three more points-scoring races are very positive. After winning at Donington, our expectations are high but you have to remember just how competitive this championship is. Last year, there were 12 different winners and there are so many good teams and drivers on the grid that getting points in a 32-car grid is a real achievement.
So now I sit at 10th in the drivers’ championship and sixth in the independent drivers’ title race, while Laser Tools Racing runs eighth in the independent teams’ contest, with the next races coming at Oulton Park, Cheshire, on May 20/21.