MOTORSPORT: Following the disappointment of Oulton Park, the AmDTuning.com team will hope to bounce back into the points when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to Croft this weekend for the final event prior to the summer break.
The West Thurrock-based team was forced to withdraw from race day at Oulton Park earlier this month after an accident in the second race of the weekend left its Ford Focus nursing heavy front-end damage that couldn’t be repaired at the circuit.
With the car fully repaired, Inverness-based racer Dave Newsham will now hope to challenge for three strong finishes during the fifth meeting of the campaign as he seeks to put the misfortune suffered in recent events firmly behind him.
The two-time BTCC race winner heads into the event sitting 17th in the title race, but will hope to challenge for points in all three races to lift himself up the championship standings.
“I’m looking forward to Croft as it’s one of my favourite circuits on the calendar,” he said. “It’s quite hard on tyres but one of the strengths of our car is that it is good on its tyres, so that could help us on race day.
“Hopefully the weather will be dry so we can work on our qualifying pace, but Croft is a circuit where it is possible to pass and to work your way forwards through the field.
"Even if we don’t qualify as high as we want, we can still look to race forwards, and we know we have a car that will allow us to push towards the top ten."
Croft will also see Dave reach a personal landmark in his BTCC career, with this weekend seeing him take part in his 100th race since moving into the series in 2011.
“It’ll be nice to hit 100 races at Croft as I didn’t think it was a mark I would reach when I first joined the BTCC,” he said. “It’s fantastic for me to be here and hopefully I can celebrate the landmark with a good result to make sure we go into the summer break on a high.”
Given the work that was required to repair the Focus following Oulton Park, the team heads for Croft having taken the opportunity to bring forward planned upgrades to the Focus, which it had been due to undertake during the summer break.
The changes will see the car sporting a revised front end, and mean the AmD Focus is now running in the same specification as the cars being used by fellow Ford squad Airwaves Racing.
“We decided not to fit the 2014 upgrades at the start of the year as we wanted to see what impact they had,” team boss Shaun Hollamby explained. “Our plan was to update the car during the summer break, but following the accident at Oulton Park, it made sense to do it now and debut the revised front end at Croft. It’ll be interesting to see what impact the update has, as we’ll now be able to measure ourselves more directly with the guys at Motorbase.
“We learned a lot again at Oulton Park despite what happened, and the aim for this weekend is to have three trouble free race and pick up some points. We know we have to try and qualify better, and even though I’m not sure it’ll be the strongest circuit for our car, I’m confident that Dave will be able to get the job done on Sunday and bring home some points before the summer break.”