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Will Bratt endures Croft frustrations

Will Bratt has a tough weekend during round five of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship at Croft, all of which left the former Formula 2 racer unable to show his true pace.

After an encouraging debut at Oulton Park two weeks ago where Bratt picked up a brace of points finishes, he left Croft with a single points finish to his name after bringing the #14 Rob Austin Racing Audi A4 home ninth in the first race.

Qualifying saw the start of the problems for Bratt and he finished up 21st overall, after an issue with the springs and dampers on the car.

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“We expected the car to be ok”, explained the 24 Year old. “For half a lap it would feel alright but then it started to really slide around and the back was constantly swinging out. I had to work hard just to keep it on the track – it was like driving a rally car. As soon as I’d load it up for a corner, the back wanted to come round straight away.”

Round 13 saw Bratt start 20th after Jason Plato had a problem on the way to the grid and by the time the Safety Car was deployed at the end of the opening lap, Banbury racer Bratt was 16th, having avoided the start line melee.

By lap 14, Bratt had worked his way into the top ten and was chasing down the Redstone Racing Ford Focus of Aron Smith and on the penultimate lap, he took the position from the Irishman to finish ninth overall and sixth in the Independents’ category.

After his strong run in round 13, Bratt had anticipated a similar performance in round 14 and in the early stages; he was able to hold ninth before he felt something going amiss on the A4.

Slowly slipping down the order, Bratt was forced to pit after seven laps due to a slow puncture and once back out on the track; he was able to match the pace shown by the works Hondas despite being a lap down.

This left Bratt 18th for the final race of the day, round 15. He had climbed up the order to 14th when the first Safety Car was introduced. Once racing again, he soon worked his way into 13th before pitting on lap 12 due to a flat battery.

“It’s been a really unlucky weekend”, added Bratt, “Qualifying set the tone really, we went the wrong way with the springs on the front so we had a tall order in the races. The first one went quite well and in race two, once we got over the puncture, the car worked well and I was matching the Hondas of [Matt] Neal and [Gordon] Shedden.

“We’re hoping to be back in the car at Snetterton after the break, we’ll just have to see what comes up with the sponsorship – thanks to DUO for their support this weekend. The Audi’s got potential, as Rob [Austin – team principal and team-mate] showed in race two with his podium, and I know I’m capable of being right up there at the front.”

The Snetterton 300 circuit plays host to round six of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship in seven weeks time, over the 11/12 August.

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