GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed continue to make progress in this season’s BTCC – despite a weekend of mixed results at Croft. The independent Chevrolet team only secured one points finish at the weekend, courtesy of Paul O’Neill’s 9th in race one, with the other races proving frustrating as avoidable contact was made with other drivers.
In the first race conditions were tricky as a result of rain that stopped just before the race. O’Neill opted to start with slick tyres on the front and wet tyres on the rear – a gamble that only began to really work in the closing laps, as fellow slick-wet runner Mat Jackson demonstrated by almost winning the race. O’Neill was less fortunate as he struggled more in the start of the race, dropping as low as 18th.
“In the first race we took the gamble on tyres but we couldn’t quite get the heat into the slicks until later in the race,” explained O’Neill. “However, I’m not sure the end result would have changed if we’d been on full wets, as all it meant was we were struggling for grip at the start while the others struggled at the end.”
The second and third races were particularly frustrating for O’Neill as he failed to finish due to contact with his rivals.
“In race two, the car felt really good and we had strong pace, but when I went down the inside of Chilton at the hairpin, we just touched wheels. I’ve probably done that move 15 times in the past few years and not had a problem. In race three, it was a carbon copy.
“We don’t deserve some of the luck we have had so far this season but we can’t change what has happened and have to look forwards. We are still learning the car and continue to make progress every weekend, as we could see in race two before the retirement. It all looks good for the second half of the season and we saw last year that it was after the summer break that the Cruze really came on song.”
John George suffered from an injured thumb as a result of an off he had in the first race into the Croft tyres. Although his mechanics were able to repair his Chevrolet Cruze, George had to raise through plenty of pain for the second and third races on his way to 14th and 17th positions respectively.
“The incident in race one really handicapped me for the rest of race day as my thumb was extremely painful when I was changing gears, especially on the downshift,” he said. “There had been quite a bit of damage to the car after the incident and the boys did a great job to get me out on track for the second race of the weekend.”
George currently sits in 15th in the Independent drivers championship and has scored just 5 independent points all season. He left Croft having added no points to his tally and admitted that he was partly to blame for not being fast enough.
“I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t achieve more this weekend, but I didn’t quite have the pace,” added George. “We’ve got a seven week break now before Snetterton so I need to work with the team to see what I can do to improve myself and the car as a package and then come out stronger and faster in the second half of the season.”