STRONG WEEKEND SEES PMR CONTINUE PODIUM RUN AT DONINGTON
Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing headed to Leicestershire’s picturesque Donington Park for Rounds 25, 26 & 27 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship last weekend (9/10 October) in confident mood after the squad’s double-podium at Silverstone just two weeks prior.
Having firmly dispelled any rumour of the pair of Astras being ‘past it’ – despite being one of the older cars on the grid – it was time to move forward and continue breaking the cycle of bad luck that the team had braved earlier in the campaign.
Both Dan Lloyd and Jason Plato found themselves stuck in the mid-pack during Saturday’s initial Free Practice session, but would improve for the second, with Lloyd 12th in the times while his two-time champion team-mate went fastest in FP2.
Mid-afternoon saw the return of the popular Top Ten Showdown and, in a repeat of Silverstone, both Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing drivers would find themselves in the top ten at the close of the first session.
With just a few minutes to turn the car around before heading back out, it was all hands on deck to make a number of small, last-minute changes. The adjustments paid off, with the frenetic period resulting in the squad’s best-ever group qualifying result, with Lloyd coming home P2 and Plato just behind him in third.
Sunday proved to be an exciting day for the team, with more sponsors and guests than ever before joining the Warwickshire squad, all clamouring to capitalise on both cars being at the front of the grid.
The session started well for Lloyd, as he held his place against the Toyota of Rory Butcher. He would eat away at the gap between him and the Honda of former champion Shedden throughout but ultimately was unable to pass him, crossing the line second and taking his third podium in just four races.
Plato also made a good start, before being passed by Butcher and Senna Proctor early on. With three laps under the safety car giving the approaching pack the opportunity to close up the gap, the #11 car eventually lost another place on lap 12 and kept the attacking Ash Sutton at bay for the remainder of the race to take sixth.
With 66kg of success ballast onboard – the most he’s ever carried in the car – Lloyd struggled to get a clean start, losing places in the initial laps, settling in fifth spot at the halfway mark to secure a fourth top-five finish in as many races.
This was to be the session in which luck would run out somewhat for Plato, as an incident early in the race with Chris Smiley resulted in him running wide, dropping him down the order to eventually finish a disappointing 18th.
For race three, by virtue of the reverse grid draw, Lloyd started in seventh and, despite a five-second penalty for starting out of his grid box, the 29-year-old drove impressively, maintaining his starting position throughout and pushing the Honda of Josh Cook at the very close.
Despite being right in the thick of the main pack for the majority of the race, Plato drove hard in the final contest, eventually making up three places by the chequered flag to cross the line 15th.
“It’s been a mega day, yet again,” said Lloyd. “I think the highlight for me was qualifying on the front row, after struggling so much with the car for the majority of Saturday. Turning it around to have the best qualifying result of the season was a massive moment for me, and I can’t thank the team enough for making so many changes and giving me a fantastic car to go racing in. It really set us up for the Sunday, and we managed to bag some seriously solid results, as well as holding our own with 66kgs on board.”
“This weekend was another fantastic result for the team, with our best team Qualifying result yet, another podium and a string of high top ten finishes under our belt,” said Team Principal Adam Weaver. “If it hadn’t been [for the incident] in Race 2, I’m convinced Jason would’ve managed to stay in the top ten for the weekend too, which is frustrating, but that’s racing. There’s been a lot of talk recently of the Astras getting old, despite Jason’s Astra being the newest car on the grid, but the last two weekends have proved that they’re still up there and mixing with the best of them!”
“It’s been another really positive weekend for the team, and I’m really happy with what both drivers achieved during Qualifying and into the first race,” added Team Manager Martin Broadhurst. “We tried a couple of things on the car in FP1, which we thought would set us back slightly, but it proved to be the opposite. The cars are proving themselves as worthy race winners, and we’re going into Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks in a really positive frame of mind, ready to bring some silverware home.”