MOTORBASE AND NAPA RACING UK OPEN PODIUM ACCOUNT AT DONINGTON PARK
Reigning Champion Ash Sutton opened the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship with a second-place finish at Donington Park (23/24 April) to grasp a podium for NAPA Racing UK on its first weekend in the series.
Qualifying saw Sutton put his Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus ST third on the grid, while a mid-session car fire for team-mate Dan Cammish thwarted his hopes to set a strong lap time. After an herculean effort to repair the car overnight, the Leeds racer was able to start from 28th on Sunday morning.
Sutton continued his run of good form in the opening two races with top-six finishes, before topping the day off by bagging his first podium of the season with second in the final race of the day.
Following the hard work of the mechanics, Cammish fought his way from 28th to 16th in the first round and looked to finish in the points before a puncture dropped him to 21st in race two. Another impressive recovery drive saw him clinch a best finish of 13th to round off his outing to the Leicestershire circuit.
The Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan pairing of Ollie Jackson and Sam Osborne encountered issues over the weekend which led to a pair of retirements for Jackson, before a 19th-place finish.
Having gained an impressive 13th place in qualifying, Sam Osborne went on to achieve a best position of 17th in race three.
“What a weekend!” said Team Manager Oly Collins. “I think we covered most of the emotions available over those two days.
“Firstly, a huge thanks to the whole team for what was a monumental task turning around Dan’s car from the fire on Saturday, and the marshals who were on the scene. That’s the last thing we could have done with at the first round but, as always, the main thing is that Dan reacted quickly and got out unharmed and then the Motorbase crew worked through the night to turn it all around.
“Great results for Ash on race day, putting him third in the championship. He drove in the manner we’ve seen in recent years which has helped him win championships and got a solid start to this year’s campaign. Unfortunately, we couldn’t unlock the race pace from the car for Dan.
“Ollie and Sam were unbelievably unlucky with problems beyond the team’s control. It seems like a simple software update has affected our throttle system which has cost Ollie and Sam some good points finishes. NAPA Racing UK has its first podium in the bank and now we head to Brands aiming for much more.”
“We’re learning things so I’m pleased with that,” said Sutton. “We deserved [the podium finish] with what the boys have been putting in, especially from Dan’s car as well, obviously they’ve done a tremendous job. So, from NAPA Racing UK, a sterling job. We’ve now got some more data and it’s about learning – what do we need to do now to try and unlock a bit more.”
“It’s been a tough first weekend for us, but everybody has worked so hard and I can’t thank the boys enough for getting my car onto the grid for the first race,” added Cammish. “The fire in qualifying was devastating, after looking at the damage it had caused then you really couldn’t have expected we’d be ready for race one. Everyone at NAPA Racing UK and Motorbase put in so much and I’m thankful we were able to get some important data in the races. We’ll build from here and come back stronger at Brands.”
“Definitely a weekend to forget all round unfortunately,” admitted Jackson. “A software issue caused a premature end to both races one and two, then we had strong pace in race three but when a vibration appeared, I backed right off to bring it home and give the boys one hard-earned finish for the weekend. Thanks to Jenner, my engineer, and the guys this weekend. Despite the challenges they kept their spirits up and worked immensely hard as well as supporting the whole Motorbase Performance team working tirelessly to get Dan’s car back out on track on Sunday – a huge effort, well done!”
“It’s disappointing we had the throttle problem in two of the races, but I’m actually feeling pretty positive about things as we showed really strong pace in qualifying and race one especially,” concluded Osborne. “The whole team has done a fantastic job, we were just unlucky with a few things, but that’s how it goes sometimes in racing. I’m looking forward to Brands now.”