Sharp end scrap for Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing at Thruxton
Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing enjoyed a batch of strong points-scoring finishes at Thruxton this past weekend, with Jason Plato leaving Hampshire 10th in the Drivers’ standings, and team-mate Rob Collard 12th.
Thruxton throws up a unique set of challenges for teams; its large kerbs and high-speed nature make it one of the most difficult propositions on the BTCC calendar. Changeable conditions on Saturday morning prior to practice and qualifying didn’t make things any easier.
The circuit did dry out, though, for qualifying, with Plato and Collard lining up sixth and ninth respectively – impressive for the Astra hatchback at an aero-dependent venue.
Plato got away well in race one, firing into the top six from the off. Collard, meanwhile, sealed a net eighth after slicing by Ash Sutton’s Subaru on the last lap and seeing Tom Oliphant lose ninth thanks to a drive through penalty for a jump start.
Plato’s progress was compromised on lap six of race two, as contact between Sam Tordoff and Dan Cammish at the chicane forced the PMR Astra into braking to avoid a re-joining AmD Honda. By Lap 9, Plato was back on Tordoff’s tail and he sealed a move for fourth with a good run up the inside at Allard.
Collard lost out to Sutton in the opening skirmishes before settling down to a race long dual for seventh, eighth and ninth positions – the latter berth eventually where he’d find himself.
Race three saw Collard spin in the Complex, as he locked the Astra’s cold rear tyres. In the melee, Plato was forced onto the grass, losing three places in the process, dropping to 10th.
On the restart, Collard set about making amends. While Plato consolidated eighth position, Collard tore through the pack from 26th to 14th after his misdemeanour – some recovery drive, and more points for the cause.
“We scored some nice points in races one and two, setting ourselves up perfectly for the third,” started Collard. “Unfortunately, going into the Complex on the lap one with cold tyres, I just lost the rear and spun. The promising part of it was that the car was really strong on race pace, and we pulled back a lot of ground. Roll on the return leg in August!”
Plato was similarly positive after another weekend of progress.
“The pace was there, and the nice thing is we’ve improved the car in the fast bits,” he said. “I was happy with the weekend overall though, and at some point, the dice will roll in our favour and we’ll be spraying champagne.”
Adam Weaver, Team Principal, added: “The last race was really frustrating, but even in a severely damaged car, Rob proved he’s still got it and that the car is well on the pace. Both he and Jason have brought us another solid points haul; we just need some more podiums now!”
sales-i signs up
The team announced yesterday that it had renewed and bolstered its partnership with sales and customer analysis software provider, sales-i. The UK-based company, headed up by successful entrepreneur and life-long BTCC fan Paul Black is now a prominent team sponsor across the outfit’s Vauxhall Astras.
sales-i, formed in 2008, is one of the world’s best-known cloud-based sales analytics software solutions, and it has played a significant role in the expansion of parent company Automotive Brands, manufacturers of Steel Seal head gasket fix and the Power Maxed range of automotive care & maintenance products.
“sales-i has definitely been one of the major forces behind our exponential expansion of Automotive Brands,” said PMR Team Principal Adam Weaver. It has been instrumental in the implementation of several highly successful sales campaigns.
CEO of sales-i, Paul Black, added: “Our first year with PMR was fantastic, and the awareness we were able to gain from our branding on the car meant increasing our support this year was a no brainer.”