Moffat back on point
Young Scotsman Aiden Moffat backed up a strong weekend on home turf at Knockhill with another triple points finish, his third of the season, at Rockingham – the biggest weekend points haul of his career to date.
The Laser Tools Racing man flew out of the blocks in the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with P12, P11 and P9 at Brands Hatch Indy acting as encouragement for the campaign ahead.
Two further points finishes in the second event of the year at Donington Park came next before what looked like a watershed moment at Thruxton – second on the grid for the first of Sunday’s races in Hampshire. Unfortunately, Moffat was tagged into a spin in the opening throes of race one and his weekend capitulated from there through no fault of his own.
From the lofty standards set by the promising young racer early in the season, his mid-season form left something to be desired. Issues with the car at Oulton Park, specifically the differential, in-race damage at Croft and a stop-go penalty at Snetterton left Moffat disadvantaged despite showing strong pace.
Knockhill provided home comforts. Moffat was back on it with everything needed for a successful weekend falling into place once again. Three lots of points, and a pair of strong top-ten finishes in races two and three.
With that in the bag, Moffat would have headed to Northamptonshire and Rockingham in optimistic mood. A torrential downpour on Saturday was navigated well, leading to 12th spot on the grid for Sunday’s first round – all despite niggles with fuel pick-up on the car.
“I managed to battle my way up to ninth in race one, despite running the harder compound Dunlop tyre,” said Moffat. “That harder tyre takes a longer time to work at its best and that meant that I had to defend from the quicker cars as well as do my best to make progress up the order.”
“I was determined to overtake whenever I could and was running ninth until, with just two laps to go, I was tagged at the Tarzan Hairpin and ran wide.
“That dropped me to 11th place but I still finished as the best-placed of the drivers on the harder tyre. With that out of the way for the weekend, better results were on the cards.”
Gremlins made their way back into the A Class for race two, stunting Moffat’s progress.
“From 11th on the grid for race two, I made my way up to sixth place until the fuel pick-up problem kicked in again,” continued the Scot. “We had that all weekend and never really got to the bottom of it, so it allowed Matt Neal to get by and Aron Smith’s Volkswagen CC went by too.
“Adam Morgan, in the sister Mercedes-Benz , crawled over the rear of my car, but I managed to defend the eighth place lap after lap.
“He eventually took advantage of earlier damage to the wing mirror on my car. I was unable to confirm where he was on the track as he made his move. Unable to defend fully, I was forced to cede the place and dropped to ninth place but in the draw for the reverse grid for race three.”
The draw could have been kinder to Moffat, who was in ninth for the start of the final round from Rockingham.
“We started ninth and were subsequently involved in some fierce fighting. I was hit from behind at Tarzan and it really bent the suspension. I was turning right on the straights! It was well out.
“Under the third and final safety car period, I was hit again but despite the damage, I managed to hang on to ninth place, once again in the points.
“On one hand was a frustrating weekend because I really feel that I had the pace to do better. On the other, three points-scoring finishes and two top-10 results are a really positive way to end a weekend that had its problems, with the fuel pick-up and some of the contact.
“You forget just how tough this championship is. Yes, I want to be winning or on the podium, but when you look at the quality of the field and their level of experience, to be racing with those drivers and finishing ahead of some, is very satisfying so on the whole I am pleased with where we were at Rockingham. I can’t wait for Silverstone!”
Keep track of Aiden Moffat in his race diaries throughout the 2016 season over at aidenmoffatracing.co.uk.