Toyota trio Frank Wrathall, Adam Morgan and Paul O’Neill all took points finishes in the latest three races of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship at Croft.
Wrathall in the Dynojet Toyota Avensis took the best result of the weekend with an eighth place finish in the second race. Having qualified fourth in the #11 car, Wrathall’s hopes of a strong result in the first race were hit when he was spun on the opening lap before the resultant damage played its part in his retirement as he clipped a tyre stack.
This left him 19th on the grid for the second race, and by the end he has worked his way up to eighth overall and his race two result left him third on the grid for the final race of the weekend.
Wrathall dropped back at the start of the reverse grid race but then worked his way back into the top three. After a mid race Safety Car period, he slipped down the order with a mechanical issue and took the flag 15th.
“We should really have had a top-five finish in the first race of the weekend,” said Frank, who heads into the seven week summer break ninth overall in the drivers’ Championship and fifth in the Independents.
“But it was a good result in the second race to come through from 19th to inside the top 10. At the start of the final race the Toyota was superb, but I think something must have broken just before the Safety Car came out as it suddenly became really difficult to drive. I ran wide at Tower after the restart and lost places, and then it was just a case of holding on and bringing the car home.”
Morgan secured his best qualifying result to date ahead of the first race as he took 11th place and this marked the start of his best weekend to date since graduating from the Ginetta GT Supercup.
He dropped back at the start of the opening race in avoidance of Wrathall spinning ahead of him and despite a pit stop to remove debris from the front of the #33 Speedworks Motorsport Avensis, Morgan was able to finish 15th overall and secure the final Championship point.
Morgan finished the second race two laps down after an early pit stop to resolve a throttle issue but responded in the third race to pick up 14th overall and another two Championship points. It also gave him his first weekend in the BTCC without a retirement.
“It was a good way to end the weekend,” added Morgan, who heads into the summer break 23rd overall in the drivers’ Championship and 19th in the Independent standings.
“We had some problems earlier on in the day and from 20th on the grid we decided to use the race as a test and made some pretty radical changes to the car. It felt great early on until the tyres dropped off and I lost my pace, but the positive is that we have found something that worked and that we can now focus on in the summer break.”
Making his return to the BTCC in place of Tony Hughes was former race winner O’Neill. Hughes, who had prior commitments for race day handed the sister Speedworks Motorsport Avensis over to O’Neill and the Widnes racer finished qualifying 18th overall.
He had worked his way into the top ten in race one before the throttle issue which had hampered him throughout Saturday practice returned. He took the flag 17th overall before a gearbox issue meant that he failed to finish the second race.
He finished the weekend as the best placed Toyotas driver in the final race, working his way up from 22nd on the grid to bring home the #29 Avensis 13th and rewarding the team for all of their efforts with a race finish.
“We had our problems this weekend but I told the boys I was going to get them a finish in race three and that’s what I did,” added two time race winner O’Neill.
“I could possibly have finished higher but I didn’t want to go taking a lunge at someone and risk damaging the car. The team did a great job and it felt really strong and to end the weekend as top Toyota in the final race is a good end. I enjoyed it.”
Dynojet and Speedworks Motorsport now have a seven week break from BTCC duties as the series heads into the summer break, with round six taking place at Snetterton over the 11/12 August. Speedworks Motorsport will be at Snetterton the weekend with their Corvette Z06R for the British GT Championship.