PODIUM AND PROGRESS AS PMR DRAWS CURTAIN ON 2021 CAMPAIGN
During a cold but dry weekend at Brands Hatch, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing rounded off its 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign with a positive weekend in Kent, as the squad added another podium finish to its tally.
While Dan Lloyd put on another strong performance throughout the weekend, team-mate Jason Plato found himself in the midst of the pack during Sunday’s race day, progressing throughout the day to clinch a top ten finish in the final round of the year.
Both drivers went well during Saturday’s Free Practice sessions, recording lap times which put them into the top six. Qualifying saw Lloyd continue his display of the #123 Vauxhall Astra’s pace, bagging fifth on the grid for the opening race, while Plato struggled with traffic throughout the session and in the highly competitive field would find himself in 17th.
In the first race of the day, Lloyd made up a place during the first few laps, defending the spot to the chequered flag to take fourth. Plato battled hard throughout, having dropped back to 21st early on, before eventually finding his way back into the top 20 with P19.
Another impressive drive from Lloyd saw the 29-year-old get past the Honda of Gordon Shedden and benefit from an off for Senna Proctor on the first lap to get into second spot. From there, he began chasing down the leading machine of former PMR driver Josh Cook, edging closer lap by lap, before a safety car period hindered his progress, diminishing the gap to those behind him and allowing Cook the opportunity to pull away on the restart. Lloyd held position for the remainder of the 18-lap contest, to secure his fourth podium in eight races.
Following his race one disappointment, Plato opted for the team to change his engine before the second encounter. With such a short turnaround, the team were unable to complete the job before pitlane opened, meaning the double champion would start the race almost a lap down. Following a necessary pitstop to cross the tyres on the car, it looked like the race was a lost cause for the 54-year-old, but he managed to fight his way back, eventually crossing the line a hugely encouraging P18.
Starting from eighth on the grid for race three, and with 66kg of success ballast on board, Lloyd held his ground in the opening laps, but as lighter cars got the better of him, the Huddersfield racer was muscled down the order.
Plato meanwhile was firmly on the assault, gaining five places in three laps. He passed his team-mate on lap 11 for tenth, a position he would hold to the finish, despite a late tussle with Rory Butcher for P9. Lloyd took 13th, grabbing a handful of last-minute points for the team.
“It was really, really great to end the year with such a solid weekend,” said Lloyd. “Qualifying was great and I managed to make up a position in race one, so I’m really happy with that. Race two was just about damage limitation initially, but the team made some great changes to the car, and after securing P2 on the first lap I was determined to get up front. I think that had the safety car not come out when it did, we would’ve had a shot at the win, but to go forward with 48kgs on the car is a great achievement for us. Mega weekend – a big thanks to the team, and a great finish to the year!”
“Obviously [Sunday] didn’t go quite as well as I would’ve hoped, but considering how we started race two, I’m pretty happy with where we ended up at the close of play,” reflected Plato. “I would’ve liked to have been up at the sharp end like we were back in 2019, but it just wasn’t to be. Dan drove an absolute blinder and it was great to see him up front challenging for the win in race two. I wish it had been a more positive end to the year, but we finished all three races and grabbed some points, and that’s what it’s all about.”
“Yet again we’re over the moon with Dan’s performance,” added Team Principal Adam Weaver. “The tension in the garage during race two was mad, as we genuinely thought he could land the win. That would’ve been an amazing end to the year for all of us, but it was great to see him grab another podium. Jason making up 18+ places across the final two races was great to see as well – it’s just a shame he couldn’t have done that from further up the grid. All in all, a good solid end to the year.”
“It’s been a tough year – probably tougher than we expected when we came into it, in all honesty,” said Team Manager Martin Broadhurst. “The grid has been tighter than ever, and the last few rounds have been fantastic for both Dan and us as a team. Seeing Jason scythe his way through the grid in the final race was fantastic, and Dan taking another podium was the icing on the cake. It’s a shame we couldn’t quite secure the win during race two, but P2 isn’t so bad. Now it’s time for us to get stuck in with the cars over the winter so that we can come out fighting come April.”