The fourth round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship took place over the weekend at the MSA Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire. The Pirtek Racing team showed great pace in the car but were unable to use the speed to garner results in what was a frustrating weekend for the team and driver Andrew Jordan.
Saturday saw the skills of the Pirtek Racing team’s mechanics come into their own after an engine change was required during second free practice. With only two hours before the afternoon’s qualifying session the team faced a race against time to be ready and after a truly heroic effort they only just missed the deadline with minutes to go.
After failing to set a qualifying lap the Pirtek team started the first race of the weekend from 22nd position. A storming opening lap from Jordan saw him move up five places in the first few corners, finishing the first lap in 14th place. Over the next lap the young BTCC star proceeded to battle further up the field and was running in a solid 12th position before a loss of engine oil pressure left him nursing the car back to the pits and into retirement.
The Pirtek team found themselves once again up against the clock to turn the car around with another engine change necessary for the Vauxhall Vectra. The Tamworth team had less than two hours to make it out for the next race and with only 30 seconds to spare the car exited the pit garage to great applause as Jordan joined the back of the grid for race two. Once again Jordan stormed through the field setting the fastest lap of anyone on lap two whilst running in ninth place. On the fourth lap of the race Jordan was forced to pit to reconnect a dislodged pipe costing him track position. He rejoined a lap down and in 20th place but pushed forward to finish in an eventual 16th.
Starting the final race in 16th place Jordan was better placed for a points paying finish and in the early laps once again used the raw pace of the Vectra to gain positions on his rivals. After several safety car interventions Jordan was up to 11th. As the cars began the 12th lap of the race, an incident involving Andy Neate in the WSR BMW saw him collide into the side of Jordan, spinning round the Pirtek car into the tyre barrier. Neate was later penalized and excluded from the race for the incident.
Jordan commented after the weekend, “Whilst we were out on track we could show the pace of the car, it felt really good especially in race two where we were matching (Jason) Plato for pace lap for lap. I think we had the best race car we’ve had all year this weekend but we had some really bad luck with engine issues and it put us on the back foot. It’s frustrating especially after being fastest in the test I really thought we could be in the top four.
“The lads in the team did a phenomenal job to turn the car around between the races and with all their hard work this weekend it would’ve been great to finish with some points in race three. I had two run-ins with Neate in the last race and the second one he just went into the side of me so I was sandwiched between the two WSR cars which turned me round into the wall and ended my race. It’s not a great end to the weekend but it makes us even more determined for Croft in two weeks time, we are surely due a change in luck and when that happens we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
The Pirtek Racing team remains on 30 points in both the Drivers and Constructors Championship with six rounds and eighteen races still on the 2010 calendar.