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Frustration at Croft BTCC battle

Croft, North Yorkshire: a troubling time this weekend in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Our Laser Tool Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class struggled for the optimum set-up going into qualifying and even had a spin as the tricky car fought back. That meant that I had to line up 24th for the opening race but I was eager to make progress.

Aiden Moffat at Croft 2018
I achieved a good start and bolted away, gaining places up the order. Then I found myself stuck in traffic and was running in 20th but was then hit in the rear by the Subaru of Josh Price. That broke the right rear top wishbone and meant that the car was out of the race.
I was doing OK until Price hit me — the car felt a lot better and I was confident of getting higher up but the damage put me out of the race. It was a massive disappointment.

Starting the second race from 27th on the grid, I gained 11th places as I forced my way up the order, exploiting a new and improved set-up on our Mercedes. The car was also running the option harder tyre, to be used once over a race weekend, and I was in buoyant mood as we finished in 16th place. The car felt really good — we had changed a lot of things on the car and it really worked. I felt that we had strong pace and were making good overtakes, so I felt really good about the progress we had made. The option tyre certainly helped as well because it remained competitive for longer so I could gain more places across the whole race.

Sixteenth on the grid for Race 3 and no success ballast! Now on the standard, softer tyre, I was ready to battle into the points. Fighting for 13th place with Chris Smiley’s Honda Civic when Smiley moved right across me to defend his position. However, he wasn’t fully ahead and smacked the front of my car. The impact speared Smiley onto the grass and left me with damage to the Mercedes. It bent the suspension, bent the wheel, gave me a steering fluid leak, and all that led to chronic understeer so the car became a real handful to drive. I had been running 13th but the car just became harder to drive and harder to control so the pack behind caught me. I held them off for as long as I could but they got me on the final hairpin and I fell back, finishing in 17th place.

I’ve been a victim of incidents again this weekend. I don’t know how I do it, I must be a magnet for something! Once we’d got the set up spot on I felt a lot happier in the car and was able to battle harder, so I am disappointed that I couldn’t keep pressing on and gaining ground in race three. A top 10 was definitely on for that race.

We will be back for the second half of the season with a real determination to gain some more podium results and wins.
We now get a break until July 28/29, but there will be the two-day tyre test at Snetterton in mid-July allowing the teams a chance to gain data ahead of race weekend. The next races will be at Snetterton, Norfolk, and don't forget the special 60-mile anniversary race to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the BTCC — now that should be interesting!
26 Jun 2018