PMR bag top ten finish in Scotland
This weekend saw Power Maxed Racing venture north into Scotland for the latest round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill.
It also saw the return of Scotsman Dave Newsham who was standing in for Kelvin Fletcher who is awaiting the birth of his first child with Newsham making his mark for Power Maxed Racing with 3 points scoring finishes.
The team got off to a positive start with Abbott reaching P5 in FP2, but it was Newsham who took the lead in qualifying to put his Chevrolet Cruze 10th on the grid for race one. Hunter was hampered in qualifying when he was forced off track on lap 2 to avoid a spinning Toyota of Caine, bending his anti-roll bar.
With a full grid and cool track temperatures both drivers got good starts, maintaining positions to the first corner, early action saw Morgan spin wide and Newsham capitalising into 9th. Carrying momentum and on soft tyres, Newsham passed Austin into 8th and was clearly enjoying being back in the BTCC. Abbott held his ground and picked up a further place after the early retirement of Aron Smith.
Newsham pushed on to close the gap between the Chevy and Neal's Honda, with door handle to handle racing into the first corner on lap nine he took 7th place. Abbott was determined to make up lost ground and put in a fast first sector, narrowly avoiding a spinning Subaru and the Eurotech Honda of Smith as it went off-road.
With the Subaru of Scott stranded, the safety car dispatched with only four laps remaining. Newsham kept pace at the restart and chased the Ford of Jordan for 6th place. The Scotsman pushed hard, running slightly wide and using his rally skills to keep the car on the track and with the front runners. Much to the relief of the tense PMR team in the pits, Newsham crossed the checkered flag in 7th, a season best for the team and a cracking return for Dave Newsham. Abbott followed in P20 having avoided contact.
After a packed pit lane signing session, it was time for race 2. Newsham lined up 7th carrying 27kg of success ballast and Abbott 20th running the soft tyre. Again both Power Maxed Racing drivers made great starts; Abbott gained three places by the first corner with Newsham side by side with Austin for 8th. A spin into the gravel for the Eurotech Honda of Depper brought out the safety car. Racing soon got back underway, and a sliding MG of Sutton narrowly missed Abbott on lap 10. Newsham was battling to stay within the pack while making his Chevy wide through the tight Knockhill circuit as his BTCC classmates welcomed him back with some robust passes forcing Newsham back down the order.
Lap 20 saw Abbott hit by the Toyota of Epps as he lunged up the inside at Clark's corner when clearly there was no space, Abbott darted out of his way, but Epps failed to make the turn and collected the Chevy forcing both cars into the gravel. After a brief trip to the pits to remove grass and gravel from the radiator, Abbott rejoined in 24th place. Newsham had a final surge in the race, hot on the tail of a battle between Ingram, Epps and Morgan which saw Epps into the barrier and Ingram retire. Newsham crossed the finish line in 14th with Abbott in 22nd, both cars suffering only cosmetic damage for the final race of the day.
Race 3, Newsham started 14th and Abbott 20th with both drivers determined to make progress and score points. In an all-action start that saw the Honda of Smith in the gravel after a failed move past Newsham, the Scotsman gained a place into 13th. Newsham then squeezed his Chevy past Jordan and set about chasing the Morgan. Another safety car period bunched the field while the circuit staff recovered the unlucky MG of Sutton after he had contact with Team Hard Epps, the pair narrowly missing the front bumper of Abbott.
With racing back underway, Jordan passed Newsham, but both drivers gained a place after contact ahead between Turkington and Collard, put the Power Maxed Chevrolet into 11th.
Newsham wasn't ready to give up just yet, making his presence known to Jordan at Clark corner but keeping it clean and maintaining his position. Abbott was making significant progress up to 18th, and over the next lap he swapped position with the VW of Smith several times. After contact with Smith had forced Abbott into the gravel again, he had to pull over after the exit of McIntyre, ending his race for the day.
Newsham gained another place to make it into the top 10, and he was closing on the pack ahead. The final lap saw Newsham side by side with the BMW of Goff, giving the right amount of racing room and avoiding a trip to the gravel trap, Newsham dropped to 11th to cross the line.
Hunter Abbott commented,
"This weekend seems to have been carnage yet again, there were too many cars coming together resulting in drivers not finishing. Luckily, by the skin of my teeth, I avoided the incidents until later in race 3."
Dave Newsham commented,
"I couldn't say yes quick enough when Adam asked me to fill in for Kelvin this weekend. Knockhill is my home circuit and to be able to get back behind the wheel of the Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet wasn't something to miss. The car has been incredible, a real testament to the team and the development that has been done over the season so far. To qualify in the top ten was fantastic for the team and my supporters. All in all, I have had a good day, scoring 16 points from 3 races is a result however there is a lot more pushing and shoving than I remember from last season!"
BTCC returns in two weeks time at the legendary Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire. Full Coverage and highlights are available on ITV4.