Dan Lloyd admitted to feeling a bit out of practice in the British Touring Car Championship season opener at Thruxton, with the Power Maxed Racing driver taking some time to adjust to the wet conditions.
Lloyd has spent much of his time racing in Europe and Asia since last competing in the BTCC in 2018, racing in TCR machinery in TCR China and TCR Europe.
Having qualified in just 22nd in a changeable qualifying session, over four seconds off the pace, Lloyd put his lap time down to being unable to capitalise on the changeable conditions.
“The first two practice sessions were good in the wet and we were looking really positive,” said Lloyd. “We made a lot of changes to the car to put the grip to the front for qualifying but then it dried out.
“We ended up going out with cold rear tyres and hot fronts and the car was such a handful. I had some huge moments and couldn’t capitalise on the drying conditions.
“To be honest, I think it was also a bit of me being out of practice in those conditions, after racing in Europe for the past two years in the dry.”
On race day, Lloyd made progress in the first race up to 16th, but he missed out on the points having felt he didn’t quite have the set up as he liked it on his Vauxhall Astra.
“Race one was our first proper run in the dry at Thruxton. We took an estimated guess with the set-up and unfortunately it was the wrong way.
“We had too much understeer through the slow corners and too much oversteer through the fast corners.
“We made some quite big changes for race two which I thought solved the issues, but again, it was the wrong way.”
The final race of the day in ever-changing conditions saw Lloyd make big improvements and he came through from 14th on the grid to claim fifth at the chequered flag, leaving him in a much more positive frame of mind.
“We chose a new direction for race three and got our pace back. The car was quick and I was pleased with how I raced.
“The BTCC is so competitive and I was a bit out of practice being in the middle of such a strong pack, so I was happy that I managed to avoid the incidents and bring the car home in one piece.
“Another lap or two and I think we could well have been on the podium.”
Lloyd leaves Thruxton 13th overall in the drivers’ standings, with the Yorkshireman expecting to make further gains in future events.
“It was a tough weekend, but I think the set-up issues that we had were circuit specific. Thruxton is a bit of an anomaly. We did well considering we started the day in P22. To come through such a tight field to take P5 in those conditions was a really good result.
“I’d like to think that this weekend would be the worst case scenario moving forward. Given the speed we showed in pre-season testing and race three, I can only see us improving from there.
“We learned a lot and all that knowledge puts us in good stead.
“It’s great to be back on the BTCC grid. I’m still getting to grips with the car, but I enjoyed the racing. A big thanks to the team, and all of our sponsors for their support and hard work over the weekend.”