Last weekend, The British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) returned to the ITV4 screens in scorching temperatures. After a five week gap, the UK’s most followed motorsport series did not disappoint and delivered three action packed races in front of spectators for the first time in nearly eighteen months.
Following a strong showing at the first race weekend, the Briggs Equipment supported driver, Árón Taylor-Smith was eager to keep the momentum flowing while developing the new BTCC Cupra ran by Team HARD. The Irish ace spent the majority of Saturday fine tuning the engines & chassis ahead of race day in only it’s second ever race weekend.
Árón Taylor-Smith, commented: “Saturday’s are all about putting your best foot forward ahead of race day and today was a rather difficult one. We ran into a few problems while trialling some new geometry tweaks on the car and also picked up a small engine misfire. This somewhat curtailed our progress in the two free practises and qualifying felt as though it was the first true problem free run of the car. However, it must be said that everyone at Team HARD did an exceptional job to get these issues ironed out throughout the day.”
The top ten shoot out in qualifying returns for this season and made its debut at Snetterton. Drivers are given a twenty-five minute window to post a time in qualifying one which can then allow them into qualifying two to determine their starting position for race one. It certainly heightens the drama of the qualifying session with drivers being eager to progress into the second part of qualifying.
Árón, continued: “Ahead of the weekend my goal was to make the top ten shoot out but unfortunately it wasn’t to be on this occasion. The grid is ultra competitive and not being able to maximise free practise made it a little harder than it should have been but such is life. We feel short by 0.6 of a second that left us 19th on the grid. Our time will come and this is all part of the process of developing a new car.
Unfortunately luck was not on the Briggs Equipment supported drivers side in the first two races as Árón was caught up with other driver’s mistakes. Both in race one and two he was subject to contact early on in the races, which prevented any real progress and left him outside of the points. The BTCC is renowned for close combat racing which is what makes the series as widely followed as it is but on this occasion, Árón was on the receiving end and didn’t get to make the progress that he was capable of during the first two races.
But valuable information was learnt on the chassis that was applied in race three and this saw Árón return to the points to finish a valuable 14th in the final race of the day.
Don’t forget we still have a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a ‘Hot Lap Experience’ in a BTCC race winning car at the world famous Silverstone circuit.
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