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Dick Bennetts delighted with drivers after WSR 1-2-3

Dick Bennetts hailed his trio of drivers after West Surrey Racing secured their first 1-2-3 finish in the British Touring Car Championship in the opening race at Croft.

Andy Priaulx scored his first victory in the championship since returning to the grid with WSR after overtaking pole-sitter and team-mate Sam Tordoff, who finished on the Guernseyman’s tail, with Rob Collard completing the podium for the squad.

It was the first podium lockout for a team in the championship since VX Racing achieved the same feat at Thruxton in 2009 with Fabrizio Giovanardi, Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan.

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Speaking to TouringCars.Net after the race, Bennetts was delighted that his drivers had been able to record the landmark result, having spoken to them on Saturday evening about the opportunity.

“It was a bit nervous last night,” he admitted. “We had a debrief on rules after what happened at Oulton Park and I said we can finish 1-2-3 here if you behave yourselves.

“But it was very good, they all behaved themselves and they all did a fantastic job; a 1-2 is great but a 1-2-3 is even better.”

While Priaulx’s first BTCC win in 13 years stole much of the attention, Bennetts was quick to praise the efforts of all three of his drivers.

“For Andy to get the monkey off his back it will do him the world of good. For Sam, coming off a win at Oulton Park was great, [he had] pole position and set the fastest lap.

“So he has pole for race two, Andy’s second and Rob is sixth, but the good thing is he got the soft tyre out of the way in race one. We’ve got all the data now to look at for Sam and Andy and the good thing was that okay, Gordon [Shedden] had 66 kilos, but Rob was pulling away from him.”

Despite a solid start to the campaign at Brands Hatch, the championship’s visits to Donington Park and Thruxton had fallen short of WSR’s record in recent years.

But after Tordoff’s race three win at Oulton Park, and Priaulx’s victory in the opening encounter, the Team Principal was confident that his team were returning to form.

“Losing eBay at the end of last season, we couldn’t afford to keep Colin,” said Bennetts. “Andy came in with IHG, which was great, but he didn’t have the experience.

“We know Rob’s a fantastic racer, and we know Sam’s a very good driver but he’d been in front-wheel drive so it was quite a difficult start to the year.

“We had to listening to all the feedback, [decide] which way to go on setup and sometimes revert to last year’s, but we’ve got different geometry on the car this year from testing so we’ve got that working well.

“Now all we need is the sun to shine.”

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