AmD Tuning’s Dave Newsham was elated to have scored his team’s maiden podium in the British Touring Car Championship, as he held championship leader Colin Turkington at bay to finish second in the final race of the day at Knockhill.
The outfit were confident heading into the weekend that they had made progress with their Ford Focus after a successful test at Snetterton, but Newsham’s preparations were sent a hammer blow after his mother passed away on Thursday evening.
Valiantly, the 47-year-old fought on, qualifying 16th on the grid for the day’s first encounter. That became 15th after Rob Collard was sent to the back of the grid. In an eventful first race, Newsham climbed into the top ten for the first time this season, finishing in ninth position.
At the sharp end of the grid there was less progress for the Scot in race two, but an eighth place finish meant he would start from third for the reverse-grid final race of the day.
In that encounter, Newsham was on fine form, with the 47-year-old finishing second to take his first podium of the season and AmD Tuning’s first-ever BTCC podium, despite having dropped to fourth at the start of the race.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get a podium from this weekend,” said Newsham. “We’ve shown we have the pace on more than one occasion this season but for various reasons, we’ve never been in a position to really make it pay. Here, we did that in the first two races and then in race three, I was able to make two strong passes to get into second place and then just had to hold on.
“Getting ahead of Fabrizio [Giovanardi] early on was key and then when I got through past Nick [Foster], I knew I had to push as hard as I could. Colin [Turkington] put me under huge pressure towards the end and I knew he was coming, but there was no way he was going to get through.”
Newsham admitted that it had been a hard weekend for him, having lost his mother so close to his home event.
“The last few days have been hugely difficult, but taking part in the races has really helped me to deal with what has happened. I’m sure that my mum will be looking down on me and will be proud of what we have achieved this weekend. Who knows, maybe she helped me a little bit along the way.”
Team boss Shaun Hollamby shared in the delight as his team secured a first podium since joining the series at the start of the 2010 campaign.
“That is like a win for us; it tops everything that has come before,” said Hollamby. “This result stems from the work we did at the test at Snetterton and this weekend, the team has done a great job and Dave has been fantastic behind the wheel – especially in the circumstances.
“His drive in race three was faultless. He was aggressive when he needed to be and then drove with his head. To see him bring the car home to the finish was just brilliant. This series has the highest level of competition in touring cars and for us to be fighting with a team like WSR for the result is a great achievement. I can recall watching Ayrton Senna winning in one of their cars in Formula 3, and now we’ve battled hard against them to secure our first podium.
“It’s been a difficult spell for Dave with his recent news but this weekend, he has been the ultimate professional and has delivered the goods on track. I couldn’t be more pleased.”