Aiden Moffat proves to be the Laser Tools Racing hero
Aiden Moffat proves to be the Laser Tools Racing hero this weekend as he converted a first-ever pole position into a commanding lights-to-flag win in the opening race at Croft.
Croft circuit in North Yorkshire was the venue for the weekend’s BTCC racing and both free practice sessions on the Saturday morning were run in the dry and were very productive for the team on this challenging circuit that is liked by both drivers and fans alike. Then came the all-important qualifying session in the afternoon. In a session marred by two red flags, the Laser Tools Racing Infinitis were on it from the word go, with Ash and myself in 3rd and 4th places for a lot of the session. This consistency is simply down to the outstanding work that the team has done in preparing and setting up our cars. I was very happy to be sitting in P4 but in the last two minutes of the session, everyone threw caution to the wind and we went for it! Then the timing screens showed up the fastest lap and I was delighted to realise that I would be on Pole Position for Race 1 on the Sunday!
That’s taken some waiting, hasn’t it! I’ve been in the BTCC since 2013 and that’s my first pole so it’s special, a special moment. We had good pace this year and I can’t thank Laser Tools Racing, BMR Engineering, my engineer Dan, Team Hard and even Ash Sutton for the help he gives me. So it’s nice to get that long-awaited pole. I felt confident with the car the team gave me, so I wasn’t just chasing the car, but working on myself and not overdriving. Adopting the calm Colin (Turkington) technique — I probably should have tried that about six years ago — I’ve wasted a bit of time! The guys gave me a great car so I was able to focus on myself, the driving and the technical stuff, which is what made the difference. I know we’ve got a good car, it’ll be good for the races and holds the tyres well. So I think we’ve got a good race-car underneath us as well as a qualifying car.
With Ash Sutton ending up in P8 and with Carl Boardley in the top 20 that was a fabulous session for the team.
For the first race of the day, rain was threatening. But with myself on Pole, Ash in 8th and Carl in 20th the team were in great shape. It was time for action. We all got a good start and off the line I lead into the first corner. I managed to hold this lead, but then came the dreaded safety car as one of the Hondas went into the barriers at the complex.
On the restart it was all systems go and I got a great restart and stayed out front. And I’m proud to say that I maintained my position right up to the chequered flag. So that was my first win at Croft and my first pole and Race 1 win in the BTCC. I’ve got to say it was hard work fending off the advances of Hill’s Ford Focus though!
Again on Pole for Race 2, but now on a dry and sunny track. Off the line got a good start and held my lead into the first corner. But then came the now customary safety car. On the restart (remember the car was now carrying 75kg full success ballast), I was immediately under attack from Jake Hill’s lighter Ford and eventually Jake got past and blasted off into the distance to end the race 4 seconds clear. However I brought the fully laden Infiniti home in second place. Ash had a constant battle with those around him nudging him at every opportunity and he brought his car home in 5th, with Carl in 23rd. Another very good race for the team.
After the race the reverse grid for Race 3 was drawn; this didn’t affect me (I stayed on P6) but put Ash’s Championship rival Colin Turkington on pole with Ash 3rd on the grid. Was going to make for an interesting Race 3!
Although Race 3 was an easy win for Colin Turkington, my team-mate Ash kept Gordon Shedden occupied just behind the race winner. Ash was looking for opportunities to get past Shedden but wisely settled for the championship points of a P3 podium and also scored an important extra point for setting the fastest lap of the race. I finished in 6th and Carl Boardley triumphed in the Jack Sears Trophy and joined the Race 3 podium. And to top it off Laser Tools Racing won the team’s trophy too — it was a very successful weekend’s racing for me in particular but also a very good weekend for Laser Tools Racing.
Hands down my best ever weekend in the BTCC — I’ve got to say thanks to everyone for all the kind comments, messages and support — it means a lot!
It’s a quick turnaround for the UK’s premier motorsport series as Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Silverstone next weekend (25/26 September).
22 Sep 2021