STRONG FINISH TO SEASON FOR TOYOTA BTCC QUARTET
Toyota’s independent BTCC racers ended their 2013 campaigns on a high note yesterday (Sunday) at Brands Hatch, with two of them inside the championship top 10 after a gruelling 30-race season. Adam Morgan was the best placed of the Toyota men at the final reckoning, the 24-year-old from Lancashire claiming third place in the Independents Trophy and seventh in the championship overall.
Morgan enjoyed another steady points-scoring weekend at Brands Hatch on his final appearance at the wheel of the Ciceley Racing Avensis. Despite the treacherously wet conditions which caught out many more experienced rivals, Adam kept his head to take eighth place in races one and two and seventh in the finale.
“I’m delighted for the whole team,” said Morgan. “We set out this weekend to make sure we finished the year seventh overall and third-best Independent, and we’ve done it. Today’s results weren’t the strongest of my season but they were nice and consistent and I’m chuffed to bits with what we have achieved.”
Adam’s Brands Hatch qualifying performance was his best of the season, netting him fifth on the grid for race one. His best race result among his 22 top-10 finishes in 2013 was the third place he achieved at his home circuit of Oulton Park in June.
There was a personal best at Brands also for Dave Newsham, who claimed fourth position in race two to equal the best-ever finish for a Speedworks Motorsport Toyota. Inverness-based Newsham followed up with sixth place in the finale, earning enough points in the process to move into the overall championship top 10, and sixth in the Independents Trophy.
“My season has been encouraging towards the end,” said Dave. “It was a little bit frustrating at times earlier on but definitely encouraging… We have the pace to be at the front now and the season is finishing too early for us.”
Newsham’s Speedworks team-mate Ollie Jackson bounced back from a first-race driveshaft failure to secure 13th and 11th positions in races two and three. Like Newsham, the second half of the season was kinder to him than the opening races, with Ollie’s Avensis scoring points on nine occasions from the last 15 races.
There were smiles also for Dynojet Racing’s Frank Wrathall who, though not destined to repeat his famous Brands Hatch victory of October 2012, did at least end his season with a top-10 finish. Frank’s Avensis again qualified well – he has been inside the qualifying top eight seven times out of 10 this season – but an opening lap knock from a pursuing car damaged a rear wheel and ended his first race on the opening lap.
Wrathall charged from dead last at the start of race two to 10th at the chequered flag. Said Frank: “The Toyota felt really good – good on the brakes and with loads of grip – and I managed to come through the field cleanly. It was nice to see the chequered flag, and nice to go out there and enjoy myself and pass a lot of people as well.”