Rory’s Report BTCC Finale – Brands HatchBack to November 2018
We landed on Brands Hatch GP circuit eager to finish the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on a high, but sometimes motorsport just isn’t that simple.
Our weekend started with a bang when my front left tyre blew out midway through the fast Sheene Curve during Qualifying. The 100mph corner takes no prisoners and I darted off line in to the gravel - hitting the tyre wall head on with great force. It all happened so fast, one moment I had grip and then it suddenly went as the tyre gave way. There was substantial damage to the front of my MG6 GT but my AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing squad worked into the early hours to make the necessary repairs ahead of race day.
The car was as good as new and we fought hard in all three races on Sunday, but unfortunately I was hit in the rear by another competitor during the early laps of race 2. The rear wheel arch was pushed up against my wheel, which punctured the tyre and gave off a huge amount of rubber smoke inside my cockpit. I could hardly see never mind breathe, so I held the door open with my foot to get some air as I trundled around the track to the pit lane. As I arrived in the pits the smoke started to smell and look a little different. The friction between the wheel arch and the tyre had generated so much heat that the car actually caught fire. Thankfully my team and the track marshals were quick to respond, extinguishing the flames swiftly. You couldn’t have written this script!
This meant I started race 3 from 28th, after a strong first lap I was up in to 20th, on the tale of Dan Cammish, who had won the first two races of the day but had fallen down the order after a difficult lap 1. I pressured him over the first half of the race, trying to find my way by, but before you knew it my tyres were going off and I was now under pressure from the guys behind. I did my best to hang on in there, but slipped down the order to 24th. Not the way my Sundays normally go and this was not how I had envisioned seeing out the 2018 season.
The final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car event of 2018 didn’t go in my favour, in fact, I was tripped up almost every step of the way. This is the nature of the series, due to how close the competition is - one minute you're up and the next your down. Despite last weekend’s disappointment, there's so much to be proud of in 2018 - ten Top 10 finishes and some really cracking races, in a car that many people had written off at the start of the year. I have learned so much and I’m excited to see what 2019 brings. Thank you once again to all my sponsors for their continued support, I am so very grateful as this incredible season couldn’t have been achieved without your help.