Motorbase Performance had a challenging opening to their 2012 British Touring Car Championship campaign at Brands Hatch.
Mat Jackson, a contender for the 2011 driver’s championship right up until the final round, had a frustrating start to his 2012 campaign, qualifying for the first race in 11th. He managed to avoid the incidents during this race to finish seventh. Jackson’s progress through the field continued in the second race when he crossed the line just shy of the podium in fourth. Unfortunately his pursuit of the podium came to an abrupt end in the opening laps of race three, when he had an off at Paddock Hill Bend which damaged the car’s oil line. Jackson was running second at the time.
Jackson had the following to say about his race weekend: “We were on the back foot after qualifying, but we made good progress in the first two races. The third race started well; we made some set-up changes and the car felt really good. Then the rear end broke away and we went wide into the gravel, which damaged an oil line. It’s not quite the start we wanted but the season is long and we just need to keep plugging away.”
Liam Griffin on the other hand had his best weekend in the BTCC. After qualifying 17th the Motorbase driver was forced to fight his way through the field as a result of a drive through penalty for a jumped start. Griffin recovered from this to finish the race in the points in 14th. His progress continued in the second race, which he finished in 12th. Griffin made up a further position in the restarted third race to finish 11th.
Griffin was pleased with his results: “For me, consistency ruled at Brands Hatch and I was rewarded with my best ever weekend in the BTCC. There was a lot of contact out on track so I just kept my head down and managed to avoid it. This season is all about gaining confidence and building on it, so I’m looking forward to carrying that forward to the next few circuits, which suit my driving style.”
Motorbase Performance’s newest recruit Aron Smith had a less than ideal debut weekend. The young Irish driver qualified in 14th for the first race, but didn’t make it to the finish after contact on lap 15 saw him off at Druids. The damage his car sustained was so extensive that Motorbase only got him out for the second race at the last minute. However their efforts went unrewarded as Smith was forced to retire after only a few laps. The Focus was back on the grid for the third race, but caught in the gravel only a few laps later after going off in oil his team mate had dropped on track. However the Team got him back out for the restart and Smith charged through the field to finish ninth.
Smith was encouraged by his debut weekend: “I’m really proud of my pace this weekend. I was fastest in the third sector in race one before I was involved in an incident that caused a lot of damage. The team worked tirelessly to get the car repaired; I don’t know how they managed it as I was all ready to pack my bags and go home! Race three was a battle of two halves for me. I hit the oil in fifth gear and went backwards into the gravel but then at the restart I made the top ten with a damaged car. It’s an encouraging start to the season and I’m delighted with the pace my Ford Focus ST has shown.”
After the first round of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship Motorbase Performance sit fifth in the overall team’s championship and third in the independent team’s championship.