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Thruxton ‘reasonable’ for Triple Eight

888 Racing with Collins Contractors experienced a ‘reasonable’ weekend at Thruxton according to Tony Gilham. The team recorded 5 points finishes out of a potential 6 for Gilham and James Nash. However neither driver had any experience of the circuit in touring cars before the weekend – a factor which may have limited results.

Nash went into the meeting leading the BTCC Drivers championship for the first time in his career. The 25-year-old did his best in qualifying to set the tenth fastest time despite his lack of knowledge of the track and being forced to carry a maximum 45kg of success ballast for leading the championship.

In the first race of the day Nash improved on his starting position to take an eighth placed finish. Removed of any ballast for the second race he was able to improve two places again to finish in fourth. The final race of the day saw Nash improve once more to finish in fourth and remain firmly in the championship hunt – despite dropping to third overall in the standings.

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“We struggled at the beginning of the weekend what with the ballast and not knowing the track and we didn’t get the best out of the car,” said Nash. “Having said that we moved forward in each race and scored points again in all three races.”

Nash lamented the poor restart made by Tom Boardman in front of him in race three, which meant that he was unable to get close to the second-placed car of Jackson in the closing laps. “It was a shame about the last race restart because without the delay I’m sure we would have done even better,” added Nash.

Tony Gilham, in the second 888 Vectra, also improved his positions in each of the three races although only by one in each race. An 11th, 10th and 9th place were his reward for the day and he expressed satisfaction at the results.

“A reasonable end to a weekend that didn’t look too promising after a disappointing qualifying,” said Gilham, from Kent. “We’ve got to be happy I suppose moving up in each race and scoring some more points.”

Gilham acknowledged that he needs to start the race weekend on a stronger footing if he is to regularly contend for points finishes in the future – his best qualifying so far this season has been in 11th. “We’ve just got to get a grip on qualifying starting next time out at Oulton Park,” he added.

After the success enjoyed by Triple Eight last season at Thruxton, in which Fabrizio Giovanardi scored the team’s last two wins, Team Chairman Ian Harrison admitted that things felt a little less good this year.

“The feeling after the races is a bit flat really,” said Harrison. “We came here carrying high expectations but you have to remember that neither James or Tony had raced here before in a touring car and initially we went a bit too conservative on set-up, certainly more mild a set-up than we normally would have used for Thruxton.

“Both drivers drove well, especially after we went a little more aggressive in races two and three. We scored 5 out of 6 points finishes so it can’t be the end of the world and it is I guess better than some of the other teams managed.”

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