SUBARU MOTORSPORT – BTTC (ROCKINGHAM)
It was a weekend of highs and lows for Silverline Subaru BMR Racing at Rockingham over the weekend for rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Qualifying on Saturday afternoon was red flagged half way through the session when the weather made a turn for the worse plunging the circuit into the darkness of thunder, lightning and torrential rain. Jason Plato was one of the many drivers that endured an off track excursion before the session was delayed for ten minutes allowing the rain to ease and the track to be assessed before the second half of the session recommenced. As the track improved with every lap Jason brought his car home in 4th albeit with damage after another incident. Colin set the 5th quickest time making it two Subarus in the top five with James and Warren qualifying in 17th and 18th determining their grid position for the first of Sunday’s three races. Pole Position went to Gordon Shedden in the Honda.
With the weather having greatly improved for race day on Sunday, the crowds flocked to the Northamptonshire circuit to witness the drivers battle it out for points as the championship draws ever closer to the end of 2016 season.
Race One was a fantastic start to the day with both Jason and Colin making up a place on the opening lap resulting in the first podium of the weekend for Jason in third position and Colin just behind him in 4th, that also secured us the Manufacturer Trophy for Subaru. Both James and Warren received contact on the opening lap forcing them both down the order. James finished the race in 22nd with Warren making a great fight back through the field from 30th to finish in a very respectable 19th. Pole sitter Shedden took the win.
Race Two wasn’t such a great affair as both Jason and Warren suffered damage on the opening lap forcing Jason into retirement and Warren two laps down in 23rd. Colin also tumbled down the order after getting caught up in the second corner mayhem and then subsequently had a spin which he impressively controlled avoiding the concrete wall. He recovered to finish the race in the final point scoring position of 15th. James excelled making up ten places and was the lead Silverline Subaru BMR Racing driver finishing in 12th and adding to the impressive tally of manufacturer points for Subaru. When the flag fell it was BMW’s Sam Tordoff who crossed the line for the win.
There was further retirement for Warren in Race Three after an electrical issue with one of the engine control boxes failing. James brought his car home in 18th whilst teammate Jason had a superb race through from the back of the grid and up to 10th. Colin once again showed off his outstanding driving skills making his way up to the 3rd and final spot on the podium, his 8th of the season, from 15th on the grid. Aron Smith took victory in the BKR Volkswagen making it an incredible twelfth driver to stand on the top step of the podium during 2016.
All in all a mixed bag for the team but some very crucial points scored. Colin is now 48 points off the leader Sam Tordoff with Jason 11 points adrift of Colin.