We were quickest for most of the first practice session, dropping down to third right at the end, and I genuinely felt like we were on to a winner. I was faster than [West Surrey Racing team-mates] Colin [Turkington] and Rob [Collard]. We felt really comfortable in the wet, and I ended the session feeling like we were right on the money and in a nice position.
We went out for FP2 in high spirits, with some old tyres on and were going through the motions. Then the turbo oil scavenge pump stopped working, meaning I had to come back in and basically park it due to the amount of work needed to swap them over, thanks to the awkward nature of replacing it.
It was a real mad-dash to get out for qualifying but the guys managed to get the car fixed and ready for the start of the session. However, unfortunately, the replacement pump was faulty, causing it to fill the turbo with oil instead of sucking it out. The result was the car started billowing out smoke, I was black flagged and had to sit and watch the rest of the session.
What makes it even more frustrating is that, if you look at the times across the weekend, had things gone to plan qualifying could quite easily have seen us in the top six. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and we ended up having to start race one from 30th on the grid.
Race one was just one of those races where absolutely nothing went my way. No matter which way I went it was always the wrong choice and the gaps just didn’t open. Following on from the theme of Saturday afternoon it was just really frustrating. That being said we made progress and crossed the finish line in 21st, an improvement but still not where we wanted to be.
We ran the hard tyre in race two, which hindered any chances we had of making serious headway as if you tried really hard to push then they became a real struggle to keep on top of. Despite that we still managed to move up the order, although missing out on points again, finishing in 18th.
Race three – Mega. It was a total contrast to race one, the gaps just opened and I was able to work my way back up the field. It was really great to get back up into the top ten and the racing was absolutely brilliant. I managed to get past Tom Ingram around the outside of Redgate, there was a tiny touch but nothing major. It was proper racing.
Finishing fifth really was a case of salvaging a good result out of a seriously trying weekend, and I know we’ll be looking back all season at Donington as a “What should have been” weekend.
Next on the calendar is Thruxton, which historically isn’t too friendly to the rear-wheel-drive cars, so it’s going to be a case of getting through the weekend in Hampshire and looking ahead to Oulton Park and Croft. Both Oulton and Croft really suit the rear-wheel-drive BMW, so we know we’re going to have to nail the opposition at those weekends. We really need to start clawing back some points quickly. However, I still feel really good in the car at the minute so we’re going to take every single chance that we can and hope to move back up the order from Thruxton onwards.
I recently announced that I will be competing in three rounds of this year’s World Rallycross Championship, and I really can’t wait for it. I absolutely love that sport. I’ll be driving one of MJP Racing’s Ford Fiesta Supercars at Silverstone, as well as in Loheac in France and Estering in Germany. The cars are just phenomenal and it’s where I started my racing career, which is something I’m really proud of. I’m under no illusions about how competitive it’s going to be, but I’ll be going to those three meetings with no pressure and ready to have a lot of fun.