Rockingham’s unique challenge of part-oval and part twisty and abrasive tarmac provided TAG Racing’s Jake Hill with a real challenge in the latest Dunlop MSA BTCC event in Northamptonshire.
After a bruising encounter at Knockhill last time out, 23 year-old Hill was given a penalty after contact with Senna Proctor late on in the final race in Scotland, resulting in Hill having to start at the back of the grid for race one at Rockingham.
A fighting opening race saw Hill battle through to 24th place from 32nd on the grid, pleased to have finished the race and made some useful progress.
“It was always gonna be tough knowing we were starting at the back, so we just wanted to make some solid progress. We did that and at least we we came through in one piece and scored some points for the Independant’s Category”
Race two saw a great start and a battling run, benefitting from some chaos ahead and pulling off some impressive moves and getting ahead of Newsham, Simpson, Butcher and Epps amongst others to charge through to 17th overall.
“Race one we had the option hard tyres on which didn’t work for us, race two was much better and we managed to get past a few people on pace and benefit from some dramas, so P17 was pretty decent in the circumstances”
The final race of the day saw another good start, and battles with Chilton – passing him spectacularly around the outside of the 130mph banked turn one – and scraps with Mat Jackson, Shedden and Neal – and getting close to taking overall points, ultimately taking a fighting P16 and more important points in the Independent Category.
“We finished all three races and made progress every time. I took some important points in the Independant’s Category and that is our focus. As always my TAG Racing team were awesome – working so hard to give me the best car possible. Frustratingly we never really unlocked the performance of the car – I’m sure we can learn from this weekend and build on it for the remaining races at Silverstone and Brands Hatch. We had our guests from TAG Racing, ROLEC Racing, Sportif and it was great to have my family here too. So grateful for the support from them plus Ecoflam, AWS Appliance Spares, Bill Rawles Classic Cars, Zynth and Danfoss for helping out hugely…without everyone’s support….and especially that from Team HARD and Tony Gilham and their partners we wouldn’t be here. We will be back stronger!”
Next race is Silverstone – catch qualifying live on itv.com/btcc on Saturday16th September at 15.40pm – with all three races broadcast LIVE on ITV4 on Sunday 17th September – Race one at 11.55pm – Race Two at 14.30pm – Race Three at 17.05pm….with all races repeated on ITV4 the following Saturday.
Will Burns saw a race three incident out of his control spoil what was otherwise a promising day of racing in the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham this past weekend (26/27 August).
Burns headed into the meeting having experienced the true highs and lows of motorsport in the previous two outings, with a first ever visit to the BTCC podium at Snetterton followed by a huge 100mph+ accident at Knockhill during his toughest meeting of the season so far.
Fortunately the repair job following that incident was not as big as initially feared, however with just two weeks in-between meetings it still required a fantastic job from Team HARD to ensure his Auto Aid/RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC was on the grid at Rockingham.
Burns had a strong track record at the circuit with five consecutive podium finishes there during his last two visits in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, however he wouldn’t be able to show his true pace in Saturday’s two free practice sessions as he battled issues with the car.
Some hard work with his Team HARD engineers meant the car was much stronger come qualifying later that afternoon, however Burns would see his best lap time unfairly removed for a perceived track limits violation, which ultimately left him 30th overall on the timesheets.
That meant the Weston-Super-Mare racer faced an uphill struggle come race day, however Burns would get his head down and produce a promising display in the opening race, which took place in front of a bumper crowd under the sweltering Northamptonshire sunshine.
On the favourable medium compound tyres, Burns would make steady progress throughout the race and despite a couple of rivals trying to derail his challenge with contact, the 27 year old continued to produce impressive lap-times on his way to 23rd place at the finish.
In race two, the Cases Ltd, Eurocams and Weston College backed driver would replicate that strong pace despite running the option hard tyres, with a battling display seeing him fight back after losing some ground and take the chequered flag in 21st position.
Back on the medium tyres for the final race, Burns was determined to break into the top twenty but unfortunately he would have no opportunity to showcase his potential once again as contact from another driver ended his race in dramatic fashion on the opening lap.
Sticking to the inside of the circuit coming out of the Tarzan hairpin, the Somerset racer received heavy contact to the rear which speared him across the track into another car, and with broken steering and suspension, he was powerless to prevent more contact at the next corner.
Burns would eventually nurse the car back to the pitlane, with the team left to assess another extensive repair job for the car ahead of the penultimate meeting of the season in three weeks’ time (16/17 September) around the Silverstone national circuit.
Will Burns: “This weekend really feels like an opportunity lost for us to get into the points positions, and a lot of that came down to the harsh track limits penalty we got in qualifying, which meant instead of starting closer to the top twenty, we were at the back of the grid.
“It’s always an absolute dogfight to try and make any progress from there, but we were able to produce strong pace on both the medium and the hard compound tyres in the first two races, and from where I started I was pleased to finish in P23 and P21.
“Unfortunately despite my best efforts to steer clear of any danger, another driver managed to get me involved in a big incident in race three which has caused more big damage to the car. Hopefully the luck might turn in our favour at Silverstone!”
Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup news!
Today we can confirm that Toby Bearne will be competing in the final 3 rounds of the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, starting this weekend at Rockingham.
Bearne has previously driven for the Team, finishing 3rd in his rookie season of VAG Trophy. This year he competed in the Britcar Endurance Championship, which saw a storming drive that placed him and co-driver Daniel Wylie on the podium in their opening weekend.
Bearne is delighted to be driving in the GInetta GT4 for the remainder of the season in the BTCC support series. We wish him every success.
Team HARD. Racing are today, pleased to announce a very exciting new development as we enter a partnership with Brisky Racing to create what is essentially a “super team” and an opportunity to race under their banner at every level of the Motorsport ladder.
Tony Gilham’s Team HARD. Racing has agreed a deal with Brisky Racing to build a partnership that will strengthen its British Touring Car operation. This brings additional expertise and backing to the Team HARD. operation while also giving Brisky Racing BTCC level support and back up for its planned three car team in the new TCR UK championship, which is scheduled to start next year.
Brisky Racing have already been the first to publicly commit their support to TCR UK and run multiple cars next year. Richard Wheeler’s Brisky Racing outfit currently sponsor and support Team HARD. and are looking forward to turning this into a long-term relationship.
This will extend the combined operation to in excess of 50 cars and with an extensive infrastructure already in place, this will only strengthen each individual championship we compete in as well as all of the off-track activities. To find out how and why this unique approach is working, please feel free to come and visit us at HQ to discuss potential future opportunities and get involved with, what is now one of the biggest operations in the U.K.
For more information, please visit our website www.team-hard.com and also briskyracing.com/
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Mike Epps endured a meeting to forget during the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s annual trip north of the border this past weekend (12/13 August) as he battled to a best finish of seventeenth during Rounds 19, 20 and 21 at Knockhill.
With the long wheelbase of his AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC not being suited to the technical, undulating nature of the Scottish circuit, Epps and the Team HARD squad were anticipating an uphill struggle heading into the seventh meeting of the season.
That would turn out to be the case throughout the weekend, with changing weather conditions and an alternator problem in free practice two hampering Epps’ preparations ahead of qualifying on Saturday, which itself would turn into a lottery as the circuit dried after earlier rainfall.
Epps would give his all to post a strong time as the conditions improved in the closing minutes of the session, however a combination of a brake issue and other drivers blocking him on his decisive laps would leave him a truly unrepresentative 28th on the final timesheets.
The issues would leave the Anytime Fitness and Simply Race supported racer on the backfoot for Sunday’s races, with the opening encounter setting the tone for the day ahead as Epps struggled to make progress in the midfield and took the finish in P24.
The second race of the day would mark Epps’ 50th start in the BTCC, however there wouldn’t be much to celebrate for the 25 year old though as after gaining a number of positions when others hit trouble, he was unable to challenge for the points on his way to seventeenth.
That result would end up being his best result of the day however, as after initially rising to a high of fourteenth in the opening laps of race three, Epps would unfortunately fall back through the order as the race progressed to cap off a disastrous visit to Scotland in P23.
The final three meetings of the season take place at circuits much more suited to the Volkswagen CC however, meaning the Hemel Hempstead racer heads into them in much more positive spirits, starting with next weekend’s visit to Rockingham in Corby (26/27 August).
Mike Epps: “We knew this would be a bogey circuit for us, but I don’t think any of us anticipated to struggle quite this much. It was qualifying that really hit us, as it’s so difficult to get anything positive from the races when you start back in 28th.
“All of my finishes were higher than that, so we were able to make some progress with a best of 17th in race two, but the car just wasn’t strong enough in the key areas compared to the others for us to be able to go on the offensive, especially when some were able to just pull away on the straights.
“It’s a tough circuit out of the way though and the next three tracks are apparently much better for the car, so we’re hoping for a more positive end to the season with some consistent points finishes and maybe more in the final rounds. Let’s see what happens.”