Team ES Racing’s Dave Newsham didn’t expect to be on top of the podium again this weekend after a troubled race meeting, but took full advantage of the reverse grid draw to take his and the team’s second in in the BTCC at Knockhill.
As the ex-Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectras of Team ES Racing and independent rival Team Wood Racing were so strong at Snetterton, the BTCC’s organisers reduced their turbo boost limit this weekend, which put them squarely in the middle of the pack throughout Saturday.
“It’s been trying really. In the first race we got hit off on the first lap and put into the gravel trap at the hairpin,” said Newsham to TouringCarTimes. “That broke our anti-roll bar, but once I got round to learning how to drive it again we were pretty much on the pace. We had a lot of toe-out as well, so we put the car (set-up) back and went out for the second race and it was great for about five laps, but then the times just went off a cliff.”
“So for the last race, we just said let’s go completely soft on the front, that was our only option really and that’s what we did and the car was flying.”
Newsham pulled out a four second lead at one point over the two NGTC-spec Hondas of Jeff Smith and Matt Neal, but the two were closing in the last few laps.
“Rain helped us I think as well, as I knew that the NGTC cars were a bit nervous, so I thought I need to get away while the conditions are a bit dodgy, and that’s exactly what I did and tried to manage the tyres as much as I could. They were going at the end there, which was a bit worrying.”
“It’s been a bit tricky weekend, but Triple Eight said they never got this car to go well around here, so I think we’ve found something that Triple Eight didn’t find. So we’ve found something and that might come in handy later in the season.”
Dave Newsham’s victory in race three, along with Rob Collard taking wins in the first two races in the BMW 320si of West Surrey Racing, marks the first weekend of the year where Super 2000-spec cars (albeit with NGTC 2.0 litre turbo engines) have won every race, and so also significantly the first time a Team Dynamics-built Honda hasn’t won a race at a meeting this season.