After the summer break, I headed to Snetterton for the start of the British Touring Car Championship season’s second half really keen to improve on my consistency.
JUL 31st 2017
Andrew Jordan: BTCC 2017, Snetterton – "Close, but no cigar!"
We had great weekends at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, very bad ones at Donington and Thruxton and an average one at Croft. Consistency is so vital in this series, as I’ve said before, so my mentality is focused entirely on trying to iron out those bad weekends.
Rolling out the BMW Pirtek Racing 125i M Sport for the first free-practice session, things felt good. I set the fourth-fastest time and the base set-up was a great place to start from.
We tried a few things for the second session but they didn’t really help and a new-tyre run was squandered by a red-flag stoppage.
In the all-important qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, I left a bit too much to do – I didn’t quite hook it all together and ended up eighth. I was sure we were good for a top-five spot. Still, remembering the minimising-errors mentality, the attitude was: ‘I can race from here’.
For race one I had to be patient while the tyres came up to temperature. The car was tricky early on but I soon settled into a rhythm and watched people in front spoiling their own races. I had Mat Jackson in front and Jason Plato piling pressure on behind me, so it was satisfying to take fourth, which would equate to a second-row grid spot for the second race.
And I made a blinding start to race two. I was following front-row man Jack Goff when he out-braked himself into Turn 2 with about four laps to go, which left me with a few instantaneous decisions to make – some of which would have a bearing on where I ended up for the next corner! I got bundled down the order to seventh in the mess, although I fought back to sixth by the end. I had the pace in the car for a podium so that was a pity. I felt a bit robbed, but it was still a solid points haul.
My last chance for a top result came with third on the grid for the final race. I made a pretty good start, although not as good as my getaway in race two, and pulled a peach of a move to take the lead from Gordon Shedden.
I got my head down, found the perfect rhythm – my lap times were all within a tenth or two – and maintained the gap to Flash [Shedden] while looking after the car. With two laps to go, I saw Flash run wide at the last corner so I knew I had it in the bag. It was easy.
And then nothing. As I got on the throttle out of the hairpin, the car died. There was a sickening silence and, of course, Flash sailed past to head off to victory.
It was some sort of electrical issue and by the time I’d reset everything I could on the dash, got going, had the same problem again, reset it all again and got going again, the entire field had passed me and I came home 21st and last of the finishers.
I was gutted. My third win of the year had been cruelly taken off me. I would have left Snett' as the top points scorer of the weekend and made a 25-point dent into the championship lead.
But, as the well-worn cliché goes, that’s motor racing.
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