Aborted starts spell disaster for West Surrey Racing at Snetterton

Two red-flagged starts in the British Touring Car Championship meeting at Snetterton proved disastrous for West Surrey Racing, and in particular Sam Tordoff, who lost the lead of the championship after failing to make Race 3’s second start due a drive shaft failure.

In an incident-heavy pair of races, the red flag was called twice, after first a multi-car incident in Race 2 involving Dan Welch, Ollie Jackson, Hunter Abbott and Ashley Sutton, which caused the race to be aborted. The first drama hit WSR’s Jack Goff’s BMW 125i, who stopped soon after the second start with a broken drive shaft.

Goff’s issue was duplicated for Sam Tordoff in Race 3, who had been lucky enough to score pole position in the reversed grid draw. However, the second major incident of the day, after the Chevrolet of Hunter Abbott launched into the cameraman gantry alongside the straight in another start-line crash, saw the red flag flown again, and this time it was Tordoff’s turn to falter, with his BMW pulling into the pit lane at the end of the second formation lap.

“It was exactly the same problem, and it’s a prop shaft, drivetrain issue,” said WSR team principal Dick Bennetts to TouringCarTimes. “They were all brand new at the start of the season, so all we can put it down to is the extra torque from the engine this year with the VVT (variable valve timing), which is putting more load on.

“It’s exactly the same failure. Once you’re running, it doesn’t put the same load on as the start. Of course we normally do three starts, and (on Sunday) they did five.”

West Surrey Racing still lead the drivers’, manufactuers’ and teams’ championships following Snetterton, with Rob Collard now promoted to the lead of the championship following Tordoff’s dramas, but the fast-closing Subaru Levorgs of Team BMR are the Sunbury-on-Thames-based team’s main fear.

“If Colin was in our car or in the Subaru, the Subaru would win it with its low centre of gravity,” added Bennetts. Team BMR also turned up the wick on race day, improving their straight-line performance. “There’s nothing wrong with their speed,” said Bennetts.

“If they’ve got an issue with the engine, then we’ve got some serious problems as they left us for dead,” said Jack Goff. “There’s definitely nothing wrong with their engine. I was behind them a couple of times and they were behind me, and they catch you fast in a straight line. Our chassis is great in the corners, but there’s nothing we can do (about the others) on the straights.”