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Motorbase Performance ‘positive’ after Thruxton

Motorbase Performance head into the five week break before Oulton Park in a positive frame of mind after they secured five top 10 finishes during rounds 7, 8 and 9 at Thruxton.

“That’s a much better performance to go home with,” commented Motorbase Performance Team Manager Oly Collins.

“I appreciate the results aren’t quite what we hoped for but the performances of the cars are definitely a step in the right direction!

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“After just 30 minutes testing at this circuit on the unique Thruxton tyre, we went into qualifying further away from where we would have liked but the progress we made today was very positive. We now have a five week break to make sure we can benefit from this and move forward at Oulton Park,” he concluded.

Qualifying saw Mat Jackson and Aron Smith finish outside of the top 10 with the young Irishman finishing the session as best of the Ford Focus drivers.

Having lined up as the best of the Motorbase drivers on the grid for the opening race, Smith finished 9th in the opening race of the day before recovered to 10th in race 2, having spun at Church on the opening lap.

He recovered to finish fifth in the final race of the weekend, a result the Irish driver is delighted to have secured.

“I said that top six would have been a result so to get top five is brilliant!” exclaims a delighted Smith.

“Yesterday didn’t go great because we arrived here with a blank canvas so we didn’t really know where to be going when all the other cars got to start from where we finished – with car being very competitive.

“It says a lot about the guys that they can make up a year of experience that the other teams have in the space of a weekend which is what we accomplished here. You have to remember it’s the first time on these tyres around here so it’s a different beast altogether, but they got the car to a place where it was really strong in race 3 and now we know exactly what the problem has been and how we can improve it; so this weekend was a big step forward for development. “

Smith is hoping that the gap between Thruxton and Oulton Park will enable the team to help move the car forwards so he can challenge at the front of the field constantly.

“We have a good old gap now to go over everything with a fine toothed comb. Hopefully we’ll get a spot of testing in and see where we can get to now we’re starting to get our heads around this. I would like to say that we now have a car that’s capable of always being in the top five; now that we know that it’s capable of being there, hopefully we can make some tweaks and get amongst it for the rest of the season,” he concluded.

Having started 13th for the first race, Jackson was able to bring the home the #7 Focus 7th in the opening race, a result he matched in the final race having fought his way up the order from 15th after a spin in the second race of the day.

“All in all I think we had a positive race day. Obviously in race 1 we went forward from where we qualified which was a huge improvement in the chassis,” said Jackson.

“The nature of Thruxton is high speed and we had quite a bit of instability in the rear and unfortunately when we were running in fifth in race 2 the rear end stepped out at Church which meant we dropped back – which is a shame as I think we would have been on for a good result. We made a few changes for race 3, came through the field and we just got onto the back of the quick boys but it was then really stale mate at the front, but we managed to limp home on the tyres to get a solid result.”

Like him team-mate in the sister car, Jackson is hoping that the break between Thruxton and the trip north to Cheshire will help the team continue their progress up the field.

“We’re moving forward and we’re moving forward fast. To come here to Thruxton where we need a stable car and be able to challenge the guys at the front – it’s a massive positive. Looking forward to Oulton Park; we’ve got a bit of a break now to get ourselves sorted and reflect on what we’ve done so far. With the data we have now we can improve and make steps forward – we know where we’ve got to strengthen up and I’m a lot happier with where we are with the car; I think we can win some races,” he concluded.

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