Will Bratt impressed on his British Touring Car Championship debut at Oulton Park, securing a brace of point’s results in the Rob Austin Racing Audi A4.
Bratt, who has made his name in the International single seater scene, only got the call up for the Oulton Park event the day before the event but he made an instant impression by bringing the #14 Audi home inside the top ten during the first race of the weekend.
The final race of the weekend saw Bratt double up after he was forced to retire from the second race of the weekend, having run in eighth position.
“This is such a different thing for me, it’s like getting a football player to go and play rugby”, commented the 2009 Euroseries 3000 Champion. “I didn’t want to get wiped out at the first corner in the first race so I took it steady to begin with, especially as I’d only had eight laps in the dry before then and just built-up from there.”
Heading into the event, Bratt hadn’t experienced the car so his first experience of the car was in the opening practice session of the weekend and at the end, he finished with the 11th fastest time and the second session saw the Oxon driver finish 12th fastest.
The dry qualifying session saw Bratt finish eighteenth fastest after the front anti-roll bar had snapped, and this lost Bratt a second over the lap – a time which would have put him inside the top ten and a potential top six start.
“I was a bit relieved after qualy as I thought the result was down to me, I had wheel spin on corner exits and the car felt really strange” explained the former Formula 2 racer.
Race day saw Bratt work his way up the order during the opening race to start the final lap in tenth, and he was able to secure eighth at the flag after Nick Foster and Adam Morgan collided exiting Island Hairpin.
Lining up eighth for the second race, Bratt saw his race finish after three laps after he clipped the tyres on the exit of Hislops and this broke the steering on the A4. At the time of the retirement, Bratt had been fighting for a place inside the top five.
“I thought I needed to be a bit tighter to the tyres”, added Bratt. “Unfortunately I miss-judged it slightly and it broke a clevis.”
Lining up at the back for the final race, Bratt was determined to make amends but contact with Morgan saw Bratt drop to the back of the field. He recovered to 13th with three laps remaining and despite more contact with Morgan; the Oxon racer brought the car home 11th after gaining two spots on the final lap.
“It’s annoying as a few unlucky things put us back over the weekend, it’s all a bit frustrating as I really feel we could have had a podium out of our first weekend in the BTCC if things had gone our way”, said Will.
“First we had the roll-bar go in qualifying, then I caught the tyre stack in race two and I was hit twice in race three. It’s been a good experience though; something very different but good fun and it’ll be great to do it again.”