GKR TradePriceCars.com battles hard for Thruxton points finish
The GKR TradePriceCars.com team was able to secure a points finish at the end of a battling day on track as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season resumed at Thruxton.
The award-winning, Essex-based motor dealership headed to the fastest circuit on the calendar looking to bounce back to form after a tough weekend at Knockhill last month where drivers Bobby Thompson and James Gornall were unable to score.
The pair worked hard through the two free practice sessions to dial in the Audi to the high-speed Hampshire circuit, with the pair then setting their quickest times in the half hour long qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
James would be the quicker of the pair by just 0.075s having gone six tenths of a second faster than in practice, with Bobby himself half a second faster than his practice best as they qualified in 19th and 20th for the opening race.
Eager to avoid trouble on the opening lap of the race, Bobby made a strong to jump ahead of James off the line and climbed into 18th spot; working his way forward in the #19 Audi to be running just outside the points in 16th.
Heaping pressure on the Infiniti of Aiden Moffat ahead, Bobby looked well placed to finish inside the points but would suffer with tyre wear in the closing stages and lost a spot on the penultimate lap to Jack Goff’s VW.
James would drop back to 20th as the field battled through the opening complex but recovered back up to his starting position by the mid-way stage of the race. Although not entirely comfortable with the balance of the car, James fought hard to gap the cars behind and would retain his position through to the finish.
Both drivers headed into race two seeking to move forwards toward the points and a solid start from Bobby saw him end the opening lap running in 15th spot. Getting ahead of Chris Smiley’s Hyundai on lap two, Bobby was putting pressure on the Ford Focus of Ollie Jackson but also had the Honda of Jake Hill and defending champion Colin Turkington closing in behind.
With Hill and Turkington getting ahead of the pair, Bobby found himself running in 16th spot and was pushing Jackson hard for the final points scoring position when he suffered a spin into the barriers that forced him into retirement.
James meanwhile found himself running just outside the top 20 through the early stages but was struggling for rear end grip around the fastest circuit on the calendar. Exiting the final chicane on the tenth lap, the gearbox on the Audi let go and forced James to retire, with it then becoming apparent that the lack of grip had been caused by oil leaking onto the rear wheels.
Unfortunately, the short time between races meant that the team was unable to replace the gearbox on James’ car in time for race three, leaving Bobby to fly the flag alone after the damage sustained to his car was repaired to get him out on the grid.
A fine opening lap saw him make up eight places from his starting position of 25th and a strong performance saw him rewarded with 15th place and the final point.
Bobby Thompson, #19 GKR TradePriceCars.com Audi S3, said:
“Saturday was a bit of a challenge for us again but we knew we would have a stronger car on race day like we have done at earlier events this season. We made up places in race one and race two was going okay until something let go on the rear and I went off into the barriers.
“The team did a great job to get the car back out for the final race and we had good pace. To come from the back to 15th is great, and it means quite a lot to me as it rewarded the team for their hard work.
“We’ve made a few changes to the car this weekend that have made it better but it’s also shown a few other things that we need to do. We’ll keep plugging away and hope to challenge for more points when we get to Silverstone.”
James Gornall, #180 GKR TradePriceCars.com Audi S3, said:
“Sadly it’s been another frustrating weekend for me and things didn’t go my way. Having not been to Thruxton for twelve years, I hit every target I set myself on Saturday in getting up to speed, but others found more time than we did which meant we weren’t quite as high up the grid as I hoped to be.
“I struggled with the balance of the car in the opening race and then in race two the rear end was really loose and I was unsure why. It was only when the gearbox let go and I had to stop that I saw the oil on the rear tyres and it all became clear.
“It’s a shame that I then couldn’t start race three, so this is a weekend to put behind us and look forward to Silverstone.”