British Touring Car team Power Maxed Racing was in action in the opening round of the 2016 MSA British Rallycross Championship at North Yorkshire's Croft Circuit yesterday. Former BTCC ace Dave Newsham took to the track in the team's first ever outing in the championship in their 600bhp 4WD Ford Fiesta Supercar.
British Ralllycross run 3 heats that determine if you qualify to a semi-final with your results dictating if you make the grand final. The car’s first ever outing went well, Newsham made a good start from the front row and was running with the front pack for the first few laps as he acclimatised to the Rallycross formula. Unfortunately, he was hampered by visibility issues with 1 lap to go and pulled to the side of the track for safety reasons.
The second heat saw bad luck strike the team with a prop shaft failure on the grid causing the Scotsman to retire before the start of the race. The team jumped to action and utilised their experience in quick turnaround repairs honed in the BTCC to replace the prop shaft and get the car out for the all important 3rd heat.
It was all to play for in the third heat Newsham needed a good run to qualify. Despite starting from the back of the 8 car grid, The BTCC race winner got a great start and immediately set about challenging for positions. Newsham's perseverance paid off as he took 5th place at turn 6 on lap one. He pushed hard to gain ground and following the retirement of one of the front runners, Newsham was promoted to 4th with 2 laps to go. Newsham picked up the pace, with his times steadily improving as the laps ticked by and held his 4th place finish and with it qualification into the semi-final.
In the first semi-final of the day, Newsham was placed 7th on the grid but had a cracking start getting himself up to 6th with a stunning overtake into the final corner. Newsham persevered and battled his way to 5th by lap two. With the top 4 proceeding to the final, the Scotsman was on a charge, making it into p4 by lap 3. Newsham got his head down and had built a good lead, however on the exit of the last corner his car developed a misfire causing the Number 8 Subaru behind him to close fast. Newsham made the Fiesta as wide as he could and held onto 4th as he passed the line by a mere 1/10th of a second. The top 4 finish saw Newsham and Power Maxed Racing make the final on their first-ever rallycross outing.
In a frustrating twist of fate, whilst fighting for the final qualification place, the engine sustained damage and despite the teams feverish efforts, the team were not prepared to risk further damage to the engine and Newsham had to withdraw from the final to preserve the car.
Dave Newsham commented, "I have thoroughly enjoyed getting back into British Rallycross, the Supercar class is immense and it's encouraging to have seen the times improve throughout the day as I got more and more comfortable with the car.” The Scotsman continues, "It was great to make it into the final in our first ever outing, yes it’s frustrating not to have raced in the final however I have shown I am quick enough to qualify and we just can't risk damaging the engine."
Adam Weaver Power Maxed Racing Team Principal commented, "We can draw many positives from our first outing, making the final was an encouraging start to our British Rallycross campaign. It’s difficult as we didn’t build the Fiesta from scratch and not every team employs the same amount of rigour when building a car as we do, hence we have suffered from some incorrectly lifed parts today.
Weaver continues, “the rallycross formula is brutal on the cars, it really pushes them to the limit but we will continue to develop the car before the next round to give Dave every chance of podiums."