Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish said he was “really pleased” to qualify on the front row for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch, but believes he is in for a “tough day” tomorrow [9 August].
The 2019 runner-up managed to split the pair of Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST’s in qualifying, and will start from second behind polesitter Rory Butcher while Ollie Jackson heads the second row.
Cammish, who returned to the scene of the fateful 2019 title decider this weekend, admitted he has fully put the events of that weekend behind him with his qualifying result.
“I’m not going to lie, the first lap out of the pits this morning I had a lump in my throat driving past Hawthorns,” he told ITV.
“I had a good look at the gravel trap and a big deep breath and that’s it, we’ve moved on, and off we go now, that’s behind me.
“That was then and this is now. I have a great car under me, a fast car, and a great team who are very supportive.
“And we’re out there giving it our all, there’s no time to dwell on the past, not in this game, not when you’re up against these guys.”
Considering Cammish carried 54kg of championship ballast aboard his FK8 Honda Civic Type R, he was satisfied with the front row start but noted he felt slightly disappointed to miss out on pole by just 0.031 seconds.
“I’m slightly disappointed but I’m really happy to be second, I’ll put out a challenge there on Twitter, can somebody tell me how many times I’ve missed pole by the smallest of margins?!
“I seem to start second quite often by very little, but it was just a great lap from Rory. I gave it everything. I slightly caught [Nic] Hamilton at turn one – nobody’s fault – just a bit unsighted, but I gained it all back through the rest of it just to miss pole.
“I’ve got to be happy with that, when you’re dragging 54 kilos in the thing you’re going to feel it. So I’m really happy to be starting at the front end and it sets us up well for a positive day.”
In race one last time out at Donington Park, Cammish qualified second and managed to capitalise on drama between standings leader Colin Turkington and race three winner Ash Sutton to secure victory.
This time around, he hopes he will be able to keep the pair of rear-wheel drive BMWs at bay, as Turkington and team-mate Tom Oliphant start fifth and sixth for the opening encounter after setting identical times.
“I don’t know where the rear-wheel drive cars are, but hopefully they’re not close enough to strike in the first one, because they always go forward a row or two,” he said.
“But if I can get off the line the same as Rory [Butcher] then we’ll go racing. I expect the rear-wheel drive guys to be quicker in race trim just because of how their weight works.
“But as a qualifying-spec car clearly the front-wheel drive cars were mega today. Obviously the speed of Motorbase is not in doubt with 1-3.
“But I’m really pleased we got it up there because it’s a good, fun lap this. Your adrenaline is on edge when you give everything around here so I’m really pleased with it.”
While he is optimistic of a positive points haul at Brands Hatch, he noted the weight he carries in the heat at Brands Hatch will “hurt” in tomorrow’s races, but cited his double victory at the season finale in 2018 as an example that the Honda can carry weight successfully on the fast-and-flowing GP circuit.
“Ultimately, it [the ballast] is going to hurt. What happens is you have a brand new tyre, that if you roll it down the pit lane on its own, it would be sticky, you could hear it stick to the tarmac,” Cammish explained.
“On a new tyre lap the car has got a lot of grip and it can deal with the weight a bit better. But when that tyre wears out the weight is going to become more and more prominent, you start to get understeer, oversteer, you won’t be able to pick the throttle up quite as well, you won’t be stopping quite as well.
“And it starts to increase basically, and it’s not linear either. So it’s going to be a tough day, but we’ll hang in there.
“Two years ago we did it here, with 75 kilos we managed to win the second race, so I think I’m a bit better since then as well! As is the team, as is the car, so we’ll give it our all tomorrow.”
The opening race at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit is scheduled to get underway at 10:50 BST tomorrow [9 August].