Toyota’s three independent BTCC racers secured no fewer than six points finishes between them in a dramatic second meeting of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season yesterday (Sunday) at Donington Park.
Dynojet Racing driver Frank Wrathall came away from Donington having scored in all three races, while rookie Adam Morgan bounced back from a tough start to life in the series at Brands Hatch earlier this month with a brace of points finishes. Morgan’s Speedworks Motorsport team-mate Tony Hughes claimed a point also, in the third race of the day.
Frank was the quickest Toyota man during qualifying, setting 11th quickest time, and made the most of the pace of his Avensis to climb up to ninth in the first race of the day. Wrathall looked well placed to improve on that in the second race before a clash with the Ford of Aron Smith at the Old Hairpin saw him spin and drop down the order, although he recovered to 14th to add more points to his tally.
The final race saw the Lancashire driver battle his way forward through the field and, despite a small mistake at the chicane which cost him places, he ended the day with seventh and his Avensis performing better than ever.
“The Toyota felt good and we’re making progress with it all the time,” he said. “It was a shame that we had the clash in race two and we should really have been fourth or fifth in the final race, but then I made a mistake at the chicane which cost me places. It was good to be in the mix and race three was my best of the year so far. I enjoyed it.”
Adam Morgan was hoping for more luck after his problematic debut at Brands Hatch but had to start from 20th on the grid after an off in qualifying. Solid drives in the first two races saw him score his first championship points with 15th and then 13th – which was also the best finish so far for his Speedworks team. Unfortunately his weekend ended with a retirement in race three due to a braking issue, although he was still pleased with the way things had panned out.
“I’ve learned a lot this weekend and I’m pleased to have points on the board,” said the Ciceley Racing driver. “I have a lot more confidence and it feels great to have been out there competing against some of the top drivers in the field.”
Team-mate Hughes meanwhile was forced to retire from the opening race after a clash at the chicane damaged his suspension, but two solid drives – despite the fact he was struggling to get heat into his tyres in the cold conditions – meant Tony picked up 16th and 15th places in races two and three.
“The track was so cold it was taking more time to get the tyres up to temperature,” said Cheshire-based Tony. “It left me on the back foot a bit as I was struggling to get the heat into the tyres.”
Toyota’s independents hit the BTCC trail again in a fortnight’s time (29 April) at Thruxton in Hampshire.