Moffat the overtaking master in BTCC season opener
Laser Tools Racing’s BTCC racer Aiden Moffat made an impressive start to the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Championship at Brands Hatch at the weekend with two top 10 finishes in his Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
On a damp track in qualifying, Aiden struggled with the set-up of the car but he and his engineers worked on the data for raceday. With a modified set-up, Aiden was in more confident mood and once morning fog had lifted was ready for battle. On a damp track, many of Aiden’s rivals elected to start on a wet tyre expecting more rain, but Aiden, who always excels on a slippery surface, started on the slick, tread-less tyre. Once it had enough temperature in it, the slick tyre proved to be the one to have. Starting 23rd on the grid, Aiden charged through the pack to take an outstanding fourth place at the end of the 24 laps!
“That felt so much better!” Aiden said post-race. “The set-up was better and the tyre choice was absolutely spot on, so the car was flying! It was a great feeling just charging past people, but I always seem to go well on a greasy track so it all played into my hands.”
From fourth on the grid in race two, Aiden raced well at the start but was then a victim of contact in the pack around the tight 1.2-mile circuit. “I got a hit from behind and that damaged the geometry of the suspension so I started to lose pace. The car was driveable but difficult to drive.”
The damage meant that Aiden dropped down the field as the race progressed, but he did his level best to stay in the points. Sadly, though, the ultra-competitive nature of the BTCC meant that he slipped to 17th place by the end of the 24-lap race.
Aiden started the third race, now on a dry track, in 17th and was soon making progress. Aiden’s Laser Tools Racing Mercedes carved its way up to ninth place by the end after a masterful display of race craft, netting him a second top 10 finish of the day, despite the Brands Hatch circuit not being one of Aiden’s favourites.
“It’s strange, but I never seem to do well here so today has been really good. It has been an interesting weekend in lots of ways, the first being that we now run the car ourselves away from the team that operated it for the last few seasons. We feel really positive about that after this weekend and that is good for the season ahead. It has also been impressive how we got on top of the set-up after qualifying and turned the car around for raceday, so that step forward plus two top 10 results make me confident for the season.
“It’s hard to overtake around here so I am really pleased that the Laser Tools Racing Mercedes was so quick and I was able to battle up the order, and the car really did feel great in that final race. It was really on its toes, so I go to Donington feeling really confident.”
Aiden’s results place him 11th in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship and seventh in the Independents’ Championship. Laser Tools racing sits 11th in the BTCC Teams Championship after the first three races.
Aiden was also joint winner (with Stephen Jelley) of the weekend’s Dunlop “Forever Forward” award (this rewards the driver with the highest number of overtakes) with an impressive 27 overtakes.
The next event in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be at Donington Park, Derbyshire, the scene of Aiden’s maiden BTCC win, on April 27/28 with qualifying on Saturday covered live on itv.com and all the race day action live on ITV4.
08 Apr 2019