Coming into the third round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton we had slight concerns that we’d struggle with one-lap pace in the rear-wheel-drive BMW, compared with our front-wheel-drive rivals.
MAY 08th 2017
Andrew Jordan: BTCC 2017, Thruxton – "A frustrating weekend after costly, self‑induced error"
It’s easier to make corrections with the throttle in the FWD cars around Thruxton, where the cars really move about in the fast stuff.
We’d tested at the track – one of my absolute favourites and where our pace has always been good – before the race weekend and were pretty pleased with the set-up options we’d come up with. There’s always more to learn as we get to grips with RWD, of course, but we were confident of a good showing.
The opening free-practice session threw in a bit of a curveball as I was fourth quickest. The car was a bit of a handful, but not too bad. There was a bit more oversteer than we’d had at the test, which made it a bit snappy. I knew the FWD boys would up their pace as the meeting progressed. And that was proved in FP2, when I was seventh, and qualifying, in which I ended up 16th, albeit only 0.8s shy of pole position.
The beauty of the BTCC, though, is there is so much going on and endless opportunities to make progress, whether it’s with a better race-day set-up than the guys in front or the misfortune of others, so I woke up on Sunday morning ready to get stuck in.
And then I spoilt it for myself! I spun at the Complex towards the end of race one while battling with a group just outside the top-10. It was totally my fault; I ran a bit wide onto the dirt and it got away from me. I fell to almost last with only a few laps left.
And that misdemeanour spoilt race two for me, too, as you start that one from your race-one finishing position. I was on a bit of a hiding to nothing down in 28th but I still gave it my all. It was a shame that after the long delay to repair the Armco after a shunt, it was finally called off early after another smash. I’m pretty sure a top-10 result was on, but it was good to get some points after starting so far back.
Race three at the end of the day was a strange one. There wasn’t much pace in the car at all. I started 14th – when you’re outside the top 10 in race two you’re not in the mix for any reversed-grid opportunities that may present themselves for the finale – and made up one place, to scoop three points, which is better than none at all, of course!
It’s been very interesting to see how the new-for-2017 Dunlop tyre has been working. It used to be that the FWD cars would wreck their front-lefts around Thruxton, but that’s not the case anymore. The durability is much better, which puts them at less of a disadvantage when tyre life is crucial.
Another great circuit, Oulton Park, is next, and I’m raring to go. It’s a track that suits the RWD cars and I won’t be carrying any ballast there. The Cheshire track has got to be the place where my Championship challenge kicks in…
Images courtesy of btcc.net
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