It was a weekend of celebrations and turmoil at round 7 of the Dunlop BTCC. Pipercross supported team Airwaves racing looked the favourite going into it but it was Tom Boardman and his STR team that came out on top.
After such a positive start to the second half of the season Airwaves Racing were hopeful of another good meeting to keep theirs and driver Mat Jackson’s title hopes alive. The the team and driver went into Knockhill top of the leader boards and all was looking well. Qualifying seemed to go as usual for the team this year just not being able to dial in that perfect run but Jackson started race 1 in 7th with team mate Liam Griffin in 22nd. It wasn’t to be though as Jackson’s car made contact with Rob Collards BMW and in doing so punctured the right front tyre forcing Mat to retire from the race. The second race didn’t go to plan either, after making good progress from the back and setting the fastest lap Mat’s front wheel came off causing him to slide off the track and resulting in massive front end damage. They say things always happen in threes and today was no exception. In race three Mat had come through from 24th on the grid to seventh only for his Airwaves Focus to stop with front-end damage after making contact with Chilton’s car. Liam Griffin fought hard and brought his Focus home in 16th place but that was it for the Airwaves team, a real shame for what should have been a fantastic weekend for them.
It wasn’t all sad faces though as another one of the Pipercross supported teams STR had a great day. Qualifying hadn’t been great for the STR team and with Boardman and Newsham sitting in 13th and 21st respectively for the start of race one. With both drivers having some work to do to get in the points when the flag dropped the racing was on. Boardman got off well and battled hard finishing some 5 places up from where he started collecting valuable points in the process, Newsham also raced hard moving up form 21st to 15th. Race 2 and both Boardman and Newsham after race 1 had better starting positions which they both capitalised on, Boardman this time moving him self up to 6th place for more points while Newsham moved to 12th. With the reverse grid coming into play on the last race it was Boardman who came out on top just behind the Pipercross supplied Chevrolet of Plato, the pair raced hard but it was clear that Boardmans SEAT had the pace on the Chevrolet and as they entered Leslie’s corner slight contact was made and Plato’s Chevrolet spun off the track giving Boardman the outright lead where he stayed to collect his first ever BTCC win.
The Pipercross supplied Chevrolets were all out in force with Top 10 finishes from Plato and MacDowell. It was also an unlucky weekend for the guys at AmD Milltek Racing as their Golf piloted by new comer Martin Byford didn’t finish a single race due to damage and technical difficulties.
That leaves just three rounds left for the season the next one heading to Rockingham. With it all to play for at the top of the table the guys at Airwaves Racing will be looking to come back strong after the weekend and continue to fight those Hondas. See you at Rockingham!