Last year we had the pace in the car, we had the wins, we just didn’t have the consistency. I knew going into this weekend that I had to maximise everything that I could get. It’s getting less important to win in this series and the focus is very much on consistency. That being said you still have to make sure that when you have a car capable of winning on the day, you have to make sure you get the win.
To get fifth in qualifying was great, that pace backed up all of the confidence that I had over the winter. As always at Brands it was really close, we were only one-tenth of a second behind Jack Goff on pole, and 30 of the 32 cars on the grid were separated by less than a second.
I got a really good start for the first race, but I had to blend out a little bit as I didn’t want to go around the outside of my teammate Colin Turkington at Paddock Hill Bend. BTCC new boy Dan Cammish then got me going into Druids in the brand-new Honda Civic Type-R, so I sat behind him for a bit waiting to make my move. I had a huge moment going past him for third at Paddock, running a little wide and lighting up the rears all the way up to Druids. While I was starting to catch Colin and Jack, it wasn’t quite enough and I wasn’t going to start taking any big risks this early in the season. Third, was a good start and I made sure I consolidated that first podium of the year.
Race two was something else. Unfortunately, Colin had an electrical gremlin from second at the start of the green flag laps, which meant as I was third, I was effectively promoted to second on the grid. The track was damp when we went around to the start line, so I asked the team to let me know what everyone was doing with their tyres. It definitely didn’t look dry enough to change from the wets, and the majority of drivers on the grid agreed. A few drivers at the back of the grid took the risk, but we decided to take what seemed to be the more sensible option and stick with the wet compound.