Andrew Jordan: Nice to get a win, but I wish it had been on the road
That was as expected going in to Knockhill with very little weight on board. We knew the car should be quick and it translated to the track really well.
A power steering issue delayed our start to the weekend, and we didn’t get any track time until about 20 minutes into the first practice session. But when we did finally get out we were right on the pace and went straight into the top three. The car felt fantastic right out of the box and the good thing about that is its just fine tuning from then onwards.
Usually we wouldn’t do a new tyre run in FP2 in order to save the tyres for qualifying, however due to the nature of the Knockhill circuit, you only really have time for two runs rather than the usual three, so we went out with a new tyre run in FP2 and went to the top of the time sheets.
That filled me with confidence going into qualifying and I knew that pole was on the cards. Qualifying was incredibly close with pole position constantly switching between drivers. In the end we qualified third, which was great but strangely it was the most disappointing qualifying I’ve had all year. I genuinely felt we should have been on pole and when you look at TSL’s “ideal” lap time, had we nailed a perfect lap then we’d have been starting from the front for race one.
Looking at the weather forecast overnight I was quite concerned, as we have struggled recently with wet weather stability. Come Sunday morning and it was bloody wet, but luckily the car seemed pretty good and I was able to hold my place. I had a knock from Chris Smiley’s Honda, which allowed Colin to get around the outside of me and from then on I was a bit more cautious. The last thing you want to do when following your team-mate is to hit a puddle, lock up and take each other out.
After Colin’s little tangle with Stephen Jelley gave me another position back we ended the race in fourth, so it was good points on the board. We made a few changes between the races which really worked for us, while it seemed like Colin had gone a little bit the wrong way which allowed me to get past him. I dropped a position to Tom Ingram at Turn 1 in what was a very good move.
During the safety car period they were asking the drivers their opinions on the weather conditions – there was a large puddle into the hairpin, which isn’t too bad as it’s slow speed, but there was also a puddle forming into Turn 1. To be honest I think they kept the safety car out to try and get to 75% and award full points, but it was definitely the correct decision to stop the race.
In the pitlane I could see the body language of the scrutineers and could see something was up with both Ash Sutton and Tom Ingram’s cars. They both failed the ride height check in post-race scrutineering which meant I inherited the win. Obviously, I’d have preferred to win on the road – it doesn’t feel the same to win in post-race decisions, but it still feels good – but the points are there which is the most important thing.
We made a couple of changes between races two and three which left the car not quite as strong as it had been in race two. Starting from sixth due to the reverse grid, we worked our way up into third but I could see that I wasn’t going to catch either Colin or Tom Chilton up at the front, so I held position to come home in third to round off a really strong weekend.
Looking at the standings now it really is Colin’s to lose, as he holds a 43-point lead over Ingram in second. We’re now fourth and just 16 points behind Tom, so we’re really now concentrating on getting a BMW 1-2 in the overall standings come the end of the season.
Silverstone is going to be a tough weekend for us. The circuit really favours the front-wheel-drive cars, and if we qualify in the top ten then I’ll be happy – we just need to work together and slipstream in qualifying to get ourselves in the best position possible. I really expect Ingram to be up at the sharp end along with the likes of Josh Cook and Jack Goff, so it’s going to be a really tough weekend.
It’s very difficult not to look back on the season and think “what might have been”, had I not been ill at Thruxton and missed a race, or if we hadn’t had the struggles we had at Rockingham, but then anyone could say the same.
The next thing on the agenda however is ensuring that we win the St Mary’s Trophy next week!