The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship charged in to Oulton Park for the fourth outing on the 2018 calendar, the rounds at the Cheshire circuit traditionally produce some unpredictable results and this weekend fully lived up to that expectation.
The Wix Racing and Eurotech cars made a strong impact from the start with Matt Simpson and Brett Smith topping the lap times in Free Practice 2. The Eurotech Honda Type R’s dominated qualifying with Matt putting in a storming lap to take his maiden Pole Position, Jack Goff in P6 lap despite carrying 48kgs of ballast and Brett in P7 rounding out a successful Saturday with all three cars in the top seven on a circuit known to favour the rear wheel drive cars. In typical close BTCC style the top 24 cars were separated by less than a second.
All eyes were on Matt for race one who kept his cool and made a textbook start pulling away from Sam Tordoff off the line and in to turn one. Holding off pressure from Tom Chilton and with ominous looking smoke coming from the car in the latter stages of the race, he managed to keep the Type R out in front to take a faultless lights to flag victory and his first BTCC win, consolidating the incredible progress he has made since joining the Eurotech Team. The Wix Racing with Eurotech duo of Jack and Brett were under attack from the BMW’s of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard for much of the race bringing the black and yellow Wix Type R’s home safe for a strong points score of P8 and P11.
Matt said after race one ‘I had to get away cleanly into turn one and managed to get there in the lead. I saw Tom Chilton looming but I held on – I’m over the moon as it’s a dream come true.’
Unfortunately it was the end of the road for the on form Simpson Type R as the smoke coming from the car in Race 1 was found to be an engine problem that could not be rectified in time forcing a gutting retirement for the remainder of the day. Brett was also struck with bad luck in race two being spun off the circuit in to a precarious position at the hairpin narrowly avoiding being collected by the field, recovering to claw his way back up to P19 from the back. Jack fared better holding on to a P8 finish bagging more points.
Race three didn’t complete a lap before the red flags were brought out due to a multi-car accident on the start/finish line immediately in front of Brett which he did really well to avoid being involved in. After making strong progress up in to a points scoring position Brett was issued with a five second penalty for stopping outside of his grid box, even with this frustrating set back he managed to get the flying Type R back up to finish in P18, and set the fastest lap of the race. Jack made some great overtakes to get himself in front of the two Motorbase Fords and finished in a fantastic P4 behind the three WSR BMW’s who had broken away and first Independent.
Despite feeling like it was a very up and down weekend the team come away from Oulton Park lifted with a great points haul and have moved back to the top of the Independent Teams Championship, Jack having scored solid finishes in every race has moved up to joint second place in the Drivers Championship and leads the Independent Drivers Championship.
Jack Goff’s thoughts; ‘Overall it was a good weekend, heading into qualifying with 48kgs we knew it would be pretty tough as Oulton Park is probably the worst track to carry ballast, so to finish P6 I was pretty happy. The first two races were a bit of damage limitation then in race 3 to finish P4, top independent and first FWD Car was a good way to end the weekend. This also catapulted us to top of the independent Drivers and Teams Championships and joint second overall in the Drivers Championship. Looking ahead to Croft we know it’s going to massively suit the RWD Cars, so we will be looking for a similar weekend to Oulton Park and to go into the summer break in a solid position in the championship. I would just like to thank all of our amazing sponsors and guests who came along to support us at the weekend.’