Despite only completing five timed laps of running during the opening free practice session ahead of this weekends British Touring Car Championship meeting at Knockhill, Sam Tordoff was pleased to clock the 5th fastest time of 52.851, admitting the car setup already feels as though it is in a sweet spot.
The honour of topping the first session went the way of Silverline Subaru BMR Racing’s Jason Plato, some 0.306 seconds faster than the BMW 125i M-Sport of Tordoff, but with 66 kilograms of success ballast on board as a result of his runner-up spot in the championship, the latter already seems to have found a good window of performance relative to the ballast-free Plato.
Team JCT600 with GardX spent the opening exchanges of the session bedding in fresh components and scrubbing sets of tyres ahead of the second free practice session and qualifying later today, before moving on to some timed runs.
Their progress regarding the latter was interrupted by two red-flags, including a front-left suspension failure for championship contender Andrew Jordan in the Pirtek Racing Ford Focus.
Just three points behind team-mate Rob Collard in the standings, Tordoff spoke exclusively to TouringCars.net after stepping from the car and admitted that it was a nice feeling to have extracted a good level of competitiveness from the package with relatively little running.
“I think we’ll be okay here, we’ve got no real concerns,” he admitted.
“We only did five laps once I’d finished all of the bedding in [components] and scrubbing tyres. Not bad considering I haven’t been here for a year and we didn’t get any running.”
“But the car feels generally good here, this is one of our good circuits. We need to maximise that.”
With just twelve rounds remaining in this years title fight, Tordoff now needs to adopt a policy of consistently scoring points if he is to remain in championship contention until Finals Day in October, something not lost on the 27-year old.
He also explained that, given his comfortable position in the championship, he is also mentally prepared to suffer one or two setbacks between now and Brands Hatch, and is keeping his focus firmly on playing the long game as he chases a first crown.
“If we can get three top eights then that’s perfect, that’s what we need to be looking to do every round now.” he commented.
“The beauty is we’re in a good position where we can afford to have a few slip-ups. What happened at Snetterton in race three wasn’t ideal, but leading the championship you can afford to have a problem like that.”
“It would have been nice to have come here with a nice little margin but that’s the way of the world sometimes and we’ve got to keep pushing on.”
When quizzed if he was confident that the failure at Snetterton had been rectified, Tordoff explained the nature of the incident that forced him out of race three in Norfolk and believes the team has learnt from it’s oversight.
“It was just one of those things, we had a part that we thought would last longer – it transpired it didn’t. Now we know and we’ve put it right so it’s just one of those things; you can’t be on top of everything and these things happen.”
The second free practice session gets underway at 12:10.