Going into the eighth meeting of the season at Rockingham we had our boost turned down, so we knew we were going to struggle in terms of speed, but our race pace should still have been strong.
AUG 29th 2017
Andrew Jordan: BTCC 2017, Rockingham – "It felt like we deserved that win"
In FP1 we weren’t really in the mix. It was something we expected though and I can’t even remember where I finished in that session. Then, for FP2, we made a lot of improvements and we didn’t run new tyres, which is always an advantage going into qualifying.
I was aiming for the top ten when I went into quali', but we had a couple of issues meaning I had to settle for 18th, which wasn’t representative of where we should be. Colin struggled with similar characteristics but they were able to sort it by the end of the session. Still, I was going in with the mindset that this wasn’t going to be a strong weekend for us and that I had to maximise everything I could from then on.
In race one I had a mega start, moving from 18th to 11th by the end of the first lap. I was running the harder tyre, which wasn’t the preferred tyre this weekend. Although people expect the soft tyre to drop off during the race, the hard didn’t come in at all, so there was no benefit.
After finishing 12th, I knew that we were playing the long game, with the aim being to get into the top ten by the end of race two and then hope for some luck with the reverse grid draw
It all went to plan in the second race where I had a fantastic battle with a couple of Subarus and Rob [Collard, WSR teammate], and we ended up crossing the line in seventh. The weekend was looking up and we just kept chipping away in each race.
Alan Gow then pulled me out of the hat for the reverse grid, which was nice as I don’t think I’ve had a reverse grid pole since something like Croft in 2014. We made some big changes ahead of the race, and I really struggled with the tyres for the first few laps. I knew I had to defend and just wait for Adam Morgan, who was second in the Mercedes, to start to lose his front tyres. I was definitely not on the limit as the car felt quite bitey. Instead, I drove fast enough to keep the gap to Adam, but slow enough to look after my tyres. Eventually, they started to come in just as Adam’s started going, allowing me to get into a rhythm.
To have the Safety Car come out just a couple of laps from the end was annoying, but I knew that if I could get a good restart then I could just relax and take no risks. I did just that and ended up crossing the line with 1.7 seconds to spare ahead of Adam and Jason Plato’s Subaru.
Jason said afterwards that he’d have won the race if he “had the boost that the BMWs got”, and that’s absolute rubbish. The BMWs don’t have any advantage, especially if you look at the speed trap figures. If the boost on the Subarus is so shocking, then how come both James Cole and Ash Sutton both won races this weekend? Sutton also got the fastest lap in race three, running full success ballast, so they both must have driven out of their skins all day if Jason says it’s down to boost…
But anyway, the win was great, it felt like my side of the garage deserved it after the nightmare at Snetterton where victory was stolen from us right at the very end. I didn’t feel pressured to get a result, but it was certainly a great morale boost for everyone to get back on the top step.
The results this weekend moved me up into the top six in the points table, which is brilliant for the team too as we now have three BMWs in the top six, with Colin [Turkington] right up there in the title fight with Sutton.
To get three wins out of my first year with BMW has been fantastic, but we’ve had too many downs. I’m going into the last two rounds, starting with Silverstone (which I expect to be tough because of our lack of boost) aiming to just learn as much as possible for next year and come out fighting in 2018.
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