Both the Toyota Avensis privateer teams made good progress during the second meeting of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Donington Park this weekend (16/17 April), with both Frank Wrathall Jr and Tony Hughes improving throughout the event.
Wrathall’s Dynojet Racing team showed in each of the three races that its Avensis has the speed to race with the pack, despite the team facing problems in both races two and three, while the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota of Hughes got quicker with every session before being sidelined by an accident in race three.
Wrathall secured his maiden BTCC finish in the opening race of the day, clinching 16th place, and then posted impressive lap times in both race two and three despite being forced to start both mid-race from the pit lane; firstly as the team completed work replacing an exhaust manifold and then after a gear linkage broke on the way to the grid for race three.
However, the Lancastrian leaves the weekend boosted by the performance of both the Dynojet team and his Avensis after battling with the pack throughout.
“We showed our progress throughout the weekend, and in the final race I lapped strongly in traffic and was even being held up by Matt Neal and Jason Plato, which was a good feeling,” he said. “The steps forward we have made this weekend have been bigger than I could ever have imagined.”
Hughes’ weekend started with a 19th place finish after he was forced to make a precautionary pit stop when an oil warning light came on, and he then followed it up with 16th place in race two; where he also posted his quickest lap of the weekend. Unfortunately the final race ended early for Tony when he was collected by a spinning BMW off the line, but the team heads away from Donington pleased with the progress made.
“We’ve made good progress and I’m content with the weekend,” Speedworks team boss Christian Dick said. “We’ve moved forwards in each session and are moving in the right direction with the car. Of course we’d have preferred not to suffer damage but that’s all part of motorsport and it looks worse than it is.
“We’ve been able to sort some of the more fundamental issues we had and have started to work on the car more. Now we hope to build on the progress and take a step forward at the next event.”
The unrelenting BTCC calendar will see the teams in action at the Hampshire circuit of Thruxton in a fortnight’s time (1 May).
The Toyota privateers, Frank Wrathall and Tony Hughes, are backing the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal by carrying logos on their cars. Donations can be made at www.redcross.org.uk/japantoyota