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Mark Blundell believes maiden BTCC season “can’t get any worse”

Trade Price Cars Racing’s Mark Blundell believes his maiden British Touring Car Championship campaign “can’t get any worse” after he made contact with Tom Chilton in the final third of qualifying at Thruxton.

The 1992 Le Mans winner managed to score two points on his debut in mixed conditions at Brands Hatch in the first encounter, but has struggled since then and failed to accrue more points.

In opening practice at Thruxton Blundell spun on cold tyres at Goodwood corner, making light contact with the barriers and subsequently being able to continue with purely cosmetic damage.

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In qualifying, a power steering pump failure cost him two-thirds of the session, and when he finally joined he slid wide at the final chicane while gearing up for a lap and collected the side of Chilton’s Ford, spearing it into the barrier and causing a session stoppage.

Chilton’s Ford suffered heavy front-end damage. Photo: PSP Images

He told TouringCars.Net his season “can’t get any worse,” and believes the contact with Chilton was “circumstantial” as he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“It can’t get any worse,” said Blundell. “Power steering pump failed on the way out to the pits lane, and then obviously the guys did a tremendous job to change it, and then we only had six minutes left to run.

“And of course we’ve got changes on the car that I haven’t tried before because we put them in for qualifying and we were a little bit on the backfoot.

“I was just trying to get up to speed and then somebody spun off in front of us on the crossover lap, and then we got back up to speed again and a yellow came out so I had to abort that lap.

Blundell has described this season as a”character building” year. Photo: PSP Images

“Then again got back up to speed and then consequently we got tangled up with Tom Chilton. I have to start trying to get into a lap myself and unfortunately I got into a slide and I tried to correct the slide – not knowing that Tom is on the left of me – there was nothing intentional, it was just circumstantial.”

The pair crossed paths in the paddock after the incident, and Blundell apologised to Chilton but also defended his position that he urgently needed to set a time in the session.

“I just apologised but at the end of the day, he’s out there and I’m out there and I hadn’t even put a lap time on the board,” he said.

“It is what it is. It’s a character building, learning year.”

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