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Tordoff heads into summer break on a high

Sam Tordoff left home soil in high spirits heading into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship mid-season break after collecting three top ten finishes and a strong points haul over the Croft weekend.

The Yorkshireman’s qualifying and race pace caught the eye again, with the 29-year-old picking up two fourth place finishes and a top eight result in the Team GardX Racing with Motorbase Ford Focus RS, collecting 34 well-earned championship points.

Tordoff claimed fourth in qualifying, just 0.203 seconds off the benchmark time and the highest-placed front-wheel drive car on a circuit that favours rear-wheel drive machinery. This ensured he’d remain this season’s best qualifier.

Tordoff dropped to fifth off the line with the Yorkshireman forced to defend hard against fast-charging ‘King of Croft’ Colin Turkington in the opening laps. Managing to keep the two-time BTCC champion at bay as the laps unfolded, the GardX-backed racer was able to move up a spot with Andrew Jordan taking to the Clervaux gravel. He held fourth to the chequered flag.

With 48kg of ballast on-board for race two, Tordoff had a tough task ahead of him to keep the Team BMW duo of Turkington and Collard at bay for the 15 lap contest. A steady hand and strong defensive drive was repaid with his second fourth placed finish of the day – boosting him up into 10th in the standings.

With the reversed grid draw slotting the #600 Focus RS into sixth for the final race of the day, Tordoff had the double task of running on the Option-Hard tyre with another 48 kilograms of success ballast on-board. Dropping places off the line against the faster starting BMWs, Tordoff found himself tussling with Tom Ingram for eighth. He lost out to the Speedworks man on lap three but a real battle followed and on the final lap Tordoff snatched the place back as the duo raced across the start/finish line by just 0.097 seconds.

“Overall it was a good weekend,” said Tordoff. “We’re back in the hunt! It’s been great racing at my home circuit, I’ve had lots of friends and family here supporting me and it does make a difference.
 
“It would have been nice to get onto the podium but we never really expected to do that at Croft. I’ll keep taking fourth, it’s a good amount of points and not a hideous amount of weight. It’s all a step in the right direction.

“Running the hard tyre in race three hard was always going to be tricky, particularly with the typical scenario where most people throw caution to the wind to some extent. There were a few fast people coming through, so overall I think we can be happy with eighth in the last race.

“The car was good,” he added. “It’s surprised me how good really. Croft’s a rear-wheel drive circuit and they’ve not dominated this time around. We’ve been the most competitive front-wheel drive car and we’ve been mixing it in the top five in all three races so that’s a pleasant surprise. I thought it would be a real struggle this weekend, and I’m looking forward to the summer break now.”

The weekend’s points haul lifted Tordoff to 11th in the overall Drivers’ standings and fifth in the Independents’ championship.

“We’ll arrive at Snetterton with next to no weight which means hopefully we can qualify well there,” added Tordoff. “With double points on offer for race 3 as well, you never know, we might be leaving there in a much more favourable position.”

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