Sunday, 01 May 2011 05:00
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AmD Milltek Racing takes Hampshire double point score
AmD Milltek Racing enjoyed its best ever weekend in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, picking up two points finishes during the third meeting of the 2011 season.
Buoyed by a maiden points finish at Donington Park, the West Thurrock based outfit headed to the high speed Hampshire venue seeking to add to its championship tally and proved to be one of the revelations of the weekend as its Volkswagen Golf ran inside the top ten in every session on track.
After a strong performance in both free practice sessions, New Malden racer Tom Onslow-Cole secured a highly impressive sixth place on the grid during qualifying, despite his session ending slightly early after running wide at Church, which resulted in grass collecting in intakes at the front of the car.
It gave the AmD Milltek Racing team its best qualifying performance to date, while Tom’s lap of 1min 18.122secs was a full 3.716secs quicker than the car had lapped the Thruxton circuit last season in what was its first outing in the BTCC.
In a further indication of the progress made, Tom was noticeably quicker through both speed traps than the Golf had gone in the past.
When the opening race got underway, Tom was shuffled back to eighth on the opening lap as he struggled for grip but lapped strongly to keep pace with Tom Boardman and Mat Jackson ahead, while also keeping championship leader James Nash at bay.
An incident for Jason Plato two laps from the finish saw Tom climb up to seventh place, where he then finished for his second top ten result of the year.
Unfortunately, the team was then forced to miss the second race when an issue with the manifold was discovered, with the team unable to fix the problem in time to take its place in the field.
As a result, Tom started the final race of the weekend from the back of the grid but displayed good race craft as he worked his way through the pack to take the chequered flag in tenth for a second points finish of the weekend.
Tom heads away from Thruxton sitting 14th in the drivers’ championship and tenth amongst the Independent runners: “We finished in the points in both races we started and have been inside the top ten in every session, which is a great result for the team. Running in the top ten in race one is one thing, but to come from the back of the field to score points again in race three is a sign of our progress. There is still more to come, but we’re heading in the right direction.
“People said this circuit was all about power but you also need a good chassis, which we have with the Golf. We’re getting good power from the engine and while the aerodynamics aren’t as good as some of the saloons, we are working on it and are now looking for little things to improve.
“After scoring points at Donington, we wanted to come here and prove that we are a team that can regularly fight inside the top ten. Of course, we will occasionally drop outside the points, but this weekend we have shown what we can do.”
Tom’s double score means AmD Milltek Racing has closed to within nine points of former champions West Surrey Racing in the HiQ Teams Championship in tenth place while the team holds eighth place in the Independents’ team trophy heading into a small break before the fourth round of the campaign at Oulton Park.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend for us. The car has been on the pace from the first lap of practice on Saturday morning and we couldn’t have hoped for better in qualifying, Tom was absolutely on the money. He struggled a bit with some grip issues at the start of race one but seventh was a great result, although it was disappointing that we discovered the manifold problem too late to be out for race two,” team principal Shaun Hollamby said.
“However, race three was fantastic. Tom showed strong pace and did a really good job to work his way forwards and he was able to pull away from people in both the normally aspirated and the turbo cars. We’ve got a four week gap now before Oulton Park to look at a few issues we have, which will help to boost our performance even further.
“We are still a new team in the BTCC, but the boys really came of age this weekend and have shown we can be true top ten contenders, which has been our aim all along. Being in the top ten in every session from this point onwards has to be our target.”
Article courtesy Matt Salisbury