United Autosport boss Richard Dean says his team must improve their qualifying performances, after drivers Glynn Geddie and James Cole failed to make a significant impact on the top fifteen once again.
Despite posting the seventh and fifth fastest times in first and second practice thanks to Geddie, neither United Autosports driver could qualify any higher than 20th, with Geddie marginally outpacing Cole in qualifying by 0.013 seconds. Both drivers ended the session more than 1.6 seconds off the pace.
That starting position meant that the team’s two drivers could only manage a single points finish all weekend, delivered courtesy of Cole in race three, due to the competitive – and combative – nature of the BTCC field.
Dean believes there is little point in discussing the outcome of Croft’s three BTCC races, placing the blame for the team’s poor performance once again on a lacklustre qualifying effort.
“There is little point going into the details of the three Croft races – our weekend can be simply summed up: Qualifying,” said Dean after Cole delivered a best result of 15th during the weekend. “We arrived at Croft honestly believing that our grid positions would be better and in practice, these hopes were validated.
“The reverse grid race shows that if you start around 10th on the grid invariably that’s the finishing position – these cars are able to hold position. Likewise, if you look at the likes of [Jason] Plato and [Matt] Neal, for example, starting near the back of race three, they cannot progress up the field without having contact.
“Therefore we have to concentrate totally on our qualifying performance – it’s a simple fact,” added Dean, whose drivers have not qualified higher than 14th all season. “We have good race pace but we’re unable to show it because we cannot stay out of trouble starting down where we’re qualifying.”
Scot Geddie acknowledges the need for improved qualifying performance, especially as he showed strong pace in practice. The BTCC rookie was denied of his fastest lap in qualifying, however, for exceeding the track limits.
“The weekend actually got off to a good start in practice, the pace was good, but in qualifying I had my quickest time taken off me,” explained Geddie. “I was hit in all three races. I finished 23rd in race two but my lap times were comparable with the top-10 guys – it’s all down to qualifying higher up the grid.”
Cole, who finished all three races for the second meeting in a row, complained about the lack of clean racing, with contact from rival drivers in both of the day’s first two races.
“Unfortunately we didn’t extract everything from the Toyota in qualifying which made the opening race very difficult due to my start position,” said Cole. “In the opening two races, each time I got myself into a decent position I was hit and only race three was ‘clean’. Getting involved in the bumping and banging is down, in the main, to our start positions which we must improve on for the remainder of the season.”
Geddie leaves Croft 20th in the championship on nine points, with Cole 23rd on five points.
United Autosports weekend results
|21||20||I||James COLE||United Autosports||Toyota Avensis||14||1:00.014||1:26.343||21|
|27||21||I||Glynn GEDDIE||United Autosports||Toyota Avensis||13||1 Lap||1:27.459||20|
|18||20||I||James COLE||United Autosports||Toyota Avensis||15||50.475||1:27.120||21|
|23||21||I||Glynn GEDDIE||United Autosports||Toyota Avensis||13||2 Laps||1:26.808||27|
|15||20||I||James COLE||United Autosports||Toyota Avensis||18||34.295||1:25.749||18|
|R||21||I||Glynn GEDDIE||United Autosports||Toyota Avensis||9||9 Laps||1:28.040||23|