The 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed north last weekend to Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit for rounds 13, 14 and 15. The Championship had yet to disappoint this season, so we were expecting another weekend of high-octane action.
The visit to Croft in 2016 saw familiar faces in Turkington, Collard and Sutton take wins over the weekend, but in 2017 there were plenty of new and old faces who were keen to challenge Colin Turkington for the ‘King of Croft’ title.
12:07 saw Round 13 of the 2017 Dunlop British Touring Car Championship get underway at the North Yorkshire circuit. As a result of qualifying being cut short on Saturday afternoon, Chris started from 27th and Dave from 28th.
“We showed very good pace in the wet practice sessions, so it was disappointing to not set a lap time in qualifying” said Newsham.
“That being said we were very lucky to get away with minimal damage as I was one of the drivers involved in the multiple car accident. I’m hoping that Luke, Jeff and Árón all make a speedy and full recovery.”
Dave made great progress from the back by making up 10 spaces and getting his Chevrolet Cruze into 19th. Unfortunately, he developed a puncture two laps from the end of the race, and was forced to limp his car back to the pit lane.
Closer inspection after the race revealed that the puncture had been caused by debris on the circuit. This was only Dave’s second DNF of the season, which put him further down the grid for Race 2
Race 2 saw Dave and Chris do enough to keep themselves in points contention for the last race by finishing 19th and 20th.
Race 3 saw a valiant effort from both drivers that ended with Chris Smiley getting his season best finish of 13th and Dave Newsham finishing in 15th. Dave managed to get points in his fifth consecutive weekend of the season.
“We had a strong start in the third race” said Chris. “I passed 7 cars cleanly, had a season best finish and brought the car home in one piece, even after receiving a large shunt in the closing moments. All in all, I’m very pleased with the outcome considering where we started the day.”
Team Principal Bert Taylor said “There were a lot of challenging moments this weekend but the team as usual worked faultlessly through these. I’m pleased to see both drivers progress up the grid but our next goal is to get both drivers in the top 10 in qualifying.”
The team will have a two day test at Snetterton in early July to prepare for the race on 30th July. Dave Newsham is looking forward to this and added “This gives us a great opportunity to learn from the data that we have gathered in the first half of the season so we can move the car forward for the second half of the season. The team is in good shape and things will only get better”.
Photography: Jay Adair