THURROCK'S AmDTuning.com team will hope to impress when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumes this weekend at Oulton Park.
Following an early-season spring break, the West Thurrock-based team makes the trip north to Cheshire aiming to secure its best result to date in 2014, having shown plenty of potential through the opening three meetings of the campaign.
Having displayed impressive race pace at Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Thruxton, Inverness racer Dave Newsham will be seeking to pick up a third top ten finish of the year at a circuit where he has run strongly in the past.
Although he has yet to compete on the full circuit being used this weekend, Dave has won at Oulton Park in the Renault Clio Cup and qualified on the second row for last season’s corresponding BTCC event, with his target now being to push for what would be AmDTuning.com’s maiden podium finish.
“We’d hoped to get a test in before Oulton Park but unfortunately we weren’t able to, so there will be an element of testing in practice for us to try a few things out,” he said. “However, we have been able to learn a huge amount in the first three rounds and we will be trying to build on that this weekend.
“It’s key that we improve our performance in qualifying as our race pace is right up there and we have shown we can run with the guys at the front. We have to try and qualify higher up the grid and then stay out of trouble in the first two races and see if we can benefit from the reverse grid to try and make a push for the podium.
“If it rains, then I think we’d be in a great position as we seem to be particularly strong in the wet, but whatever the weather, this is a weekend I’m really looking forward to.”
Despite being unable to carry out an on-track test during the spring break, the team has worked hard behind the scenes to make improvements to its NGTC-spec Ford Focus, with team boss Shaun Hollamby agreeing that a top three finish was a realistic target from the fourth meeting of the season.
“We’ve been doing a lot of technical work behind the scenes that has focused on improving our qualifying performance, as that has been our Achilles heel so far,” he said. “With the pace we have shown on race day, the results we have taken so far could have been better if we had qualified higher up the grid, and we aim to put that right.
“Dave has been quick at Oulton Park in the past and it is a circuit that has suited the Focus as well, so we head north in confident mood. A podium finish remains our target, and I think it is a target that is achievable this weekend.
“The fact we are racing on the full circuit means it is something of a level playing field as it’s a long time since the BTCC has used this layout, and hopefully that is something we can make the most of.”