TEAM HARD: OULTON PARK IN QUOTES
It was a mixed weekend during the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship for Team HARD Racing as the five-car squad bagged a number of points-finishes whilst also enduring some bad luck at Oulton Park.
Check out what the drivers had to say about their weekends below…
Aron Taylor-Smith, Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing, said: “After qualifying, the team put on an unbelievable show to transform the car. It’s no small effort to get into the top ten in this series and having our worst qualifying to date, then our best result to date is testament to what has gone on. To say I am proud of what they have achieved is an understatement.
“Whilst it’s a great result for me, I’m more concerned about delivering good results for my team. Knowing they’ve left Oulton Park with a good result under their belts makes me really happy.
“The car was really strong in sector two, with the more technical stuff, and Croft is the most technical circuit on the calendar so we go there thinking the car should go well.
“We’ve made great improvements to the chassis and I’m excited to see where that takes us moving forward. We are edging closer to what a qualifying car needs to be which we haven’t had to date in the Cupra so fingers crossed we will challenge from the get-go next time out.”
Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero, said: “It was one of those weekends of what could have been. We started the weekend with two really strong practice sessions, but we couldn’t carry that into qualifying. We still need to work on our Saturday qualifying pace because at the moment it’s making our Sunday mornings very tough as we have to come through the pack.
“Overall, race day was okay. We come away with two points finishes and it was looking like we were going to secure third after climbing to eighth [in race three] but picking up some advertising boards while avoiding an accident up front put paid to that as it caused the engine to overheat.
“It’s one of those things and we will go again at Croft in two weeks’ time where I think the car will be strong.”
Will Powell, Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero, said: “A tough weekend, but lots learnt, and the race pace is starting to come.”
Powell was involved in an intense battle during Sunday’s opener before contact saw him retire from the encounter.
“The team did an amazing job to get the car back out for race two,” he continued. “But the heavy impact caused a few gremlins with the electronics which we carried for the rest of the day
“I settled down in race three to pick up 21st at the finish which was as good as it got.
“Thanks to all our sponsors, partners and to the team for all their hard work. A hot bath tonight for the sore neck and on to the next one at Croft. On to the next one at Croft.”
Nic Hamilton, Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing, said: “A pretty positive weekend in terms of development progress and overall pace. We still have a few bits to fine-tune with regard to my servo brake to keep me a bit more consistent through the races and in qualifying, but this is quite an easy fix, so I am looking forward to that.
“Race one was definitely the strongest race I’ve had all season, although I had a bad start due to my hand clutch and being on a hill. It’s quite difficult to start due to the undulations on the pit straight so I dropped all the way back to last but I managed to come through and gain four or five positions to recover to 22nd which I was super happy about.
“I knew I needed to do something about the starts on the hill, so I tried something new for race two but unfortunately, I stalled which is the first time I have done that in a very, very long time. However, this just shows that we are now just trying to find those extra little bits to keep us in the pack. That’s something we can work on, but I don’t think it’s going to happen again and, putting the start issue aside, the pace was really good and I have to be happy with that.
“Race three I started much further back due to the stall in race two and unfortunately, I was tagged which put me onto the grass and off the back of the pack by about five seconds. I pushed hard to close that gap and by the end of the race, I was right back on the pack and crossed the line under one second behind. All in all, this shows that from the start of the season I am now able to close up on the pack and maintain my pace throughout the race due to not being in pain from my legs which is great.
“Now it’s all about using the pace I have found to take advantage, make the right decisions and moves, and be a bit more clinical with my racing. I feel like I am relearning that aspect of racing again but honestly, Nic 2.0 is 100 per cent in full effect, and I will keep on developing and continue to build towards some good results from now until the end of the season.”
Rick Parfitt, Uptonsteel with Euro Car Parts Racing, said: “It was a bruising weekend, but we made huge strides forward in set-up and by race three I was finally comfortable and bang on the pace which I’m really happy about. It was great to be fighting in the points for much of the race.
“All in all, there are many positives to take away. Onwards!’