With everything to play for the AmD Tuning.com BTCC VW Golf, driven by James Kaye nailed a win in race no.1 at Donington Park, UK but the rollercoaster ride continued in true BTCC style as a major shunt in race 2 and a retirement in race 3 leaves us joint top in the championship standings, read on...
Event report courtesy of BTCC.net :
Coming into the second round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park, the S2000 class battling for the Jack Sears Trophy remained one the most difficult things to predict. With some fantastic on-track action last time out at Brands Hatch (30/31 March) it was Liam Griffin leading the way in the cup tally for Addison Lee Motorbase, taking two out of three class victories, but had it not been for a ride-height infringement on Lea Wood’s Wheel Heaven / Houseman Racing car in the final race there would have been three different winners from three races.
After free practice and qualifying at Donington Park, however, it looked as though one driver was set to dominate the weekend. AmDTuning.com’s James Kaye set a blistering pace, topping the time sheets for the older-specification cars in both free practice sessions before putting his VW Golf at the front of the class in qualifying. Kaye was over half a second quicker than the next Super-2000 car of David Nye in his Welch Motorsport with Sopp + Sopp Ford Focus ST. Kaye was, in fact, the only Jack Sears driver to post a time below 1m12s all weekend.
The Isle of Wight-based driver converted his strong starting position into victory in race one, although he was unable to maintain the dominance he had shown in free practice and qualifying, finishing less than one second ahead of Liam Griffin after 16 laps of the iconic Leicestershire circuit. The race itself was an excellent exhibition of the class, with all six entrants battling with one another over the full race distance without a single retirement or accident. Behind the battling pair of Kaye and Griffin it was Joe Girling who proved that his Chevrolet Cruze has the potential to fight near the sharp end after the disappointment of an opening round plagued by mechanical issues.
The second race of the day could not have been any more different to the first, as reliability and clean racing were replaced by mechanical issues and racing incidents. A start line collision involving race one winner James Kaye and David Nye put both cars into the pit wall and out of the race. A safety car period followed, but almost as soon as the racing resumed, Team BMR Restart’s Warren Scott put his Seat Leon into the tyre barrier at the Old Hairpin. Soon afterwards, both Joe Girling and Liam Griffin retired from the race with mechanical faults, leaving Lea Wood as the sole surviving S2000 driver for the last 11 laps of the race. A measured drive saw the Hereford racer take his inaugural Jack Sears Cup in 17th position overall just outside of the main championship points-scoring positions. After the race, Lea commented, “It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s been a long time coming – obviously we had a few problems at Brands Hatch with the ride-height infringement, so to come back from there and get a win makes it even better.”
The earlier collision meant that David Nye’s Ford Focus was unable to make the start line for race three, however Kaye’s Golf was less badly damaged and a concerted effort from the team meant that he was able to take his position at the back of the grid. Unfortunately for the West Thurrock-based team, an electrical problem saw Kaye retire from the race despite once again running the fastest pace of all the S2000 cars. At the end of the day’s racing, James commented, “The car was strong all weekend at Donington Park and we really showed our potential throughout Saturday and then in the opening race. Race one went well and it was good to earn our place on the podium again and then in race two, there was nothing I could do; I simply got caught up in it all when someone else had an incident.
“The team did a fantastic job to repair the damage there was to the car and it felt strong again in race three, but unfortunately there was an electrical gremlin that put us out which is a real shame as the victory was ours for the taking. While there is some disappointment that we’ve only come away from Donington with a single Jack Sears Trophy win to our name, I think we’ve put in a really good performance and can head to Thruxton in confident mood.”
With Kaye out of the running and both other previous cup winners Lea Wood and Liam Griffin also retiring, it was left up to Joe Girling in his M247 Racing with Tech-Speed Motorsport to battle against Warren Scott’s Seat Leon for the final victory of the day. Girling eventually pulled out an impressive ten second lead over Scott, and became the fourth different driver to win in the S2000 class this season. Liam Griffin and James Kaye are now joint front-runners for the Jack Sears Trophy with two cups apiece going into the next round at Thruxton on 4/5 May. For more info check : www.btcc.net or www.amdtuning.com
Pictures courtesy of Bob Knightley