After the troubles of the opening round of the 2013 British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch, the Motorbase run Airwaves Racing team hoped for better fortunes at Donington Park.
“Unfortunately we’ve suffered another bad weekend. We thought we were making some progress after testing last week, only to go backwards on Saturday after a promising start in free practice one,” explains Oly Collins, Motorbase Performance Team Manager.
Qualifying ahead of rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the campaign saw the Airwaves Racing cars of Mat Jackson and Aron Smith finish outside of the top 10, with Jackson the best placed in 13th.
Jackson finished 12th the opening race having opted to run the option soft tyre and the second race saw him drop down a position to 13th as he continued to suffer with mechanical issues as well as set up issues.
The 31yr old secured a top ten finish in the final race of the weekend having avoided the spinning Toyota of Dave Newsham before pushing the MG of Jason Plato during the final laps. Jackson crossed the line 9th overall.
“What can I say? Up until race three we really struggled finding a balance in the car, everything we tried sent us the wrong way,” explained Jackson.
“However, we threw a totally different set up at the car for the last race and it really showed some promise. If you had told me that Jason (Plato) would have been holding me up in race three I would have laughed, we definitely had the legs on him but just couldn’t quite get past.
“We’ve at least got a direction to go in now for Thruxton. Hopefully we can get it going well there, it’s certainly not for the lack of trying in the team.”
Having lined up 16th for the opening race, Smith also chose to start with the soft tyre for the opening race and he brought home the #8 Focus 11th, which he converted into an 8th place finish in the second race.
This gave the young Irishman a second row start for the final race of the weekend and during the early stages of the race, he was able to run in second before the soft tyre runners caught and passed him and he secured a seventh place finish.
“Well that was an interesting weekend!” added Smith.
“It was pretty tough, but we had great pace in free practice one and then developed a fault in the car. We fixed that for today and race two went really well. We made a small change to the car for the final race of the day which unfortunately had a negative effect.”
“We’ll be back raring to go at Thruxton and we’ve learnt a lot more about the car this weekend.”
After his double victory in the Jack Sears trophy at Brands Hatch, Liam Griffin also suffered a trying weekend at Donington Park as engine gremlins limited him to a 20th place starting position and then a 20th place finish in the opening race of the weekend.
“After a solid first race we had the ideal opportunity in races two and three to have picked up the win, especially with my two main rivals not finishing; it’s just so frustrating,” explained a downbeat Griffin.
“We had the same fuel starvation fault today (Sunday) that we had in qualifying yesterday – we changed everything and it worked for race 1, then failed in race 2 so we changed it all again and it let us down again in race 3 – so this weekend really does feel like a lost opportunity.”