Double podium for BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 at Thruxton
The BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 team secured more silverware to add to its tally, with a double podium finish from the latest rounds of the Championship at Thruxton.
The Suffolk-based team made the trip to Hampshire seeking success at the quickest circuit on the calendar, with confidence high following a victory on home soil at Snetterton two weeks earlier.
During Qualifying on the Saturday, Ingram was able to repeat his front-running form to secure second on the grid, with Chilton suffering a damper problem to post the 18th best time. Halstead continued to find more speed and set his fastest time of the weekend and would line up in 27th.
The opening race would be a quiet affair at the front, with Ingram retaining his position at the start and remaining in second throughout the 16 laps to minimise his losses to title rival Ash Sutton (NAPA Racing UK).
Chilton drove hard to work his way through to twelfth place, whilst Pearson battled to fight his way through into the points. Unfortunately for Halstead, an incident with a recovering car at the chicane mid-way through the race resulted in a trip to the pits, leaving him unclassified in the results.
Race two would follow a similar pattern to race one at the front, with Ingram once again holding station throughout to add another podium to his seasonal tally.
Although he lost ground at the start, Chilton would also spend much of the race running in the same position as earlier in the day but lost 12th position when Dan Rowbottom (NAPA Racing UK) nipped ahead in the final laps.
An incident impacted on Pearson’s race, after contact at the complex knocked the Scot back down the order, leaving him to finish outside the points in 19th.
A clash that resulted in a flat-spotted tyre would hamper Halstead’s bid to make up places, but he brought his car to the finish in 23rd spot.
With the top twelve reversed for the final race, Ingram lined up in eleventh place on the grid and got ahead of Josh Cook’s Honda (One Motorsport with Starline Racing) on lap one to hit the top ten. Ingram held position until taking the chance to drive ahead of Laser Tools with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill two laps from the end to secure ninth spot, helping him to retain second in the standings.
Chilton was part of the same train of cars as Ingram and was running in 13th place when he was forced to pit with a puncture towards the end, which dropped him off the lead lap and down to 25th place.
Pearson ended the weekend with another 19th place finish whilst Halstead would put in his most competitive showing to come out on top of a race-long dice with Nic Hamilton and Will Powell in 22nd.
Tom Ingram, said: “Qualifying was key this weekend as when you are near the front here, you tend to stay there unless you have an issue. It’s a difficult place to race when you get into dirty air, and there aren’t that many places where you can really make a move for position without taking some big risks.”
“With that in mind, to come away from the weekend with two podium finishes, a top ten in the reverse grid race and no damage to the car is pleasing.”
Tom Chilton, said: “There was a technical problem that meant it was pretty incredible that we even managed to get 18th.”
“We had a solid run to P12 in the first race but it was just my luck that we then missed the reverse grid by one after race two. I felt the car was in a good place and I was keeping pace with Ash Sutton in the final race and was confident that if I got my hybrid right in the closing stages, I could try and make a move on him.”
Ronan Pearson, said: “Considering how long it’s been since I raced at Thruxton, I was really pleased with how things were going up until the end of the opening race. I didn’t quite manage to string a lap together in qualifying but was still inside the top 20, and to then come through and score some points in race one was a great way to start Sunday.”
Nick Halstead said: “Once again I feel there have been big improvements across the weekend, particularly on a circuit where I’ve not been for three years and where I’ve never driven front-wheel drive before. It was always going to be tough and the incident in race one didn’t help because it cost me track time that I really needed.”
“This is such a tough series and I need to remind myself of that sometimes, and to be within a fraction of a second of some of these drivers is a big win for me. Having been able to drive on the limit at Thruxton, I can head to Oulton Park and I circuit I really like feeling confident.”