Redstone Racing kicked off their 2012 British Touring Car Championship with a mixture of highs and lows at their home circuit of Brands Hatch.
Having had a frustrating qualifying session the previous day, the team headed into race day looking to bounce back and kick off their title challenge with some positive results, and the team saw their drivers bring home top ten finishes as well as damaged cars.
“A very frustrating weekend all round, one which we’ll be glad to put behind us!,” remarked Oly Collins, Team Manager for Redstone Racing. “The Redstone Racing team worked amazingly with the damage repairs needed after various incidents but were not repaid in results. We think we have recognised an issue that we are confident we’ll be able to resolve for Donington Park, so we’ll dust ourselves down and get ready to come back strong in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Lining up eleventh on the grid for the opening race of the season, Mat Jackson was soon on the charge and took a seventh place finish which he turned into a fourth place in the second race.
Heading into the final race of the day, Jackson lined up fifth but was soon running second before having a moment at Paddock Hill Bend which broke the oil line and Jackson left a trail of oil all the way up to Druids.
Jackson said about his weekend: “We were on the back foot after qualifying, but we made good progress in the first two races. The third race started well; we made some set-up changes and the car felt really good. Then the rear end broke away and we went wide into the gravel, which damaged an oil line. It’s not quite the start we wanted but the season is long and we just need to keep plugging away.”
For the team’s latest recruit, Smith his opening race for Redstone Racing ended in the Druids gravel trap just after half distance and his second race was compromised due to the damage sustained in the first encounter.
Smith was caught up in the incident which saw the final race of the day stopped due to Jackson’s moment but once the race was restarted, the young Irishman was able to work his way into the top fifteenth and finished eight, a result which brought him his first points finish for Redstone Racing.
“I’m really proud of my pace this weekend,” said the former Clio Cup racer. “I was fastest in the third sector in race one before I was involved in an incident that caused a lot of damage. The team worked tirelessly to get the car repaired; I don’t know how they managed it as I was all ready to pack my bags and go home! Race three was a battle of two halves for me. I hit the oil in fifth gear and went backwards into the gravel but then at the restart I made the top ten with a damaged car. It’s an encouraging start to the season and I’m delighted with the pace my Ford Focus ST has shown.”
For Griffin, who has entered his second season in the BTCC with the team, the Brands Hatch season opener gave him his best weekend to date as he recorded top fifteen finishes in all three races.
Race one saw the former Porsche Carrera Cup GB racer recover to fourteenth after an early race drive through penalty and the second race saw Griffin improve to twelfth. The restarted final race saw Griffin secure another improvement as he finished eleventh.
“For me, consistency ruled at Brands Hatch and I was rewarded with my best ever weekend in the BTCC,” added Griffin. “There was a lot of contact out on track so I just kept my head down and managed to avoid it. This season is all about gaining confidence and building on it, so I’m looking forward to carrying that forward to the next few circuits, which suit my driving style.”