Another Podium for Lloyd Signals Strong End to BTCC Season
This weekend saw Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing take to Brands Hatch’s fearsome GP circuit, for the 2021 KwikFit British Touring Car Championship finale. It would prove to be a cold but dry weekend, with Dan Lloyd putting in yet another strong performance throughout, with teammate Jason Plato driving well in both Free Practice session, leading up to making up an impressive amount of ground in the last race on Sunday.
Saturday morning would set the tone for conditions for the rest of the weekends, dawning as a perfect autumnal morning. The crisp, clean air would lend itself well to extracting maximum performance from the cars, although it would take until the middle of the day for track temperatures to rise to a level commensurate with the fastest lap times.
Free Practice 1 would see both drivers take to the circuit in order to scrub tyres for the weekend, as well as using it as an opportunity to make decision on any major setup changes, they feel may be necessary. As it turned out, both cars went well, requiring virtually no changes before the second session, with Dan crossing the line P3, less than 0.2 of a second from the front runner, with his teammate P6, just 0.2 behind him.
Come lunchtime, Free Practice 2 would prove to be equally as strong for the team’s final outing of the year. With the track warming and able to rubber up, grip increased considerably as the session went on, ultimately seeing both drivers retain places in the top 6. Lloyd would cross the line P5, with Plato just 8/1000s of a second behind in P6, nearly 7/10s of a second quick than his previous effort.
Come Qualifying time, the team were confident that both drivers would find themselves well inside the Top 10. The session would see Lloyd put in a stellar drive, eventually bagging himself P5 on the grid for the first race on Sunday, whilst Plato would struggle a little with traffic throughout. Despite this, his best time would see him just ½ a second from Pole, although with the grid as tight as it is this year, that was only good enough to secure P17.
Sunday morning saw more dry, cool weather, giving the estimated 45,000-strong crowd the perfect conditions to watch a day of racing. The first Race of the day would see Dan make a great start, making up a place in the first few laps, holding that position until the close, crossing the line P4. Jason would have less luck in the other Astra, battling hard throughout, but dropping from P17 to P21 early on, eventually finding his way back up to P19.
Race 2 would see Lloyd put on another fantastic display for both the fans and the team itself, despite carrying 48kgs of success ballast thanks to his strong finish in Race 1. He would find himself P2 on Lap 1, chasing down the lead Honda of former PMR-driver Josh Cook, edging closer lap by lap as he looked to challenge for the lead. Unfortunately a Safety Car on Lap 13 meant any gap he’d built to those behind him was scrubbed out, and giving Cook the opportunity to pull away on the restart. He would hold position though, crossing the line to take his fourth podium of the last 3 rounds.
Following his disappointment in Race 1, Plato opted for the team to change his engine before Race 2. With such a short turnaround time, the team were unable to complete the job before pitlane opened, meaning the former double champion would start the race almost a lap down. Following a necessary pitstop to cross the tyres on the car, it looked like the race was a lost cause for the 97-time race winner, but he managed to fight his way back, eventually crossing the line a hugely impressive P18.
With Race 3 being the final event of the season, and the championship winner having been decided at the end of Race 2, it was set to be an interesting session for every competitor. Following the Reverse Grid Draw, Lloyd would be starting P8, with a massive 66kgs of success ballast on board. He would hold his own for the first couple of laps, until the lighter cars around him managed to get the better of him, pushing him down the standings a handful of spots.
Meanwhile, a determined Jason Plato was firmly on the assault, gaining 5 places in 3 laps, before passing teammate Lloyd on Lap 11 for P10. The penultimate lap would see him tousle with the Toyota of Rory Butcher, before conceding the place and settling for P10 at the close, 8 places up on his starting position, and a massive 18 on Race 2’s hampered start. Lloyd would finish P13, grabbing a handful of last minute points for the team.
As we left a cold and dark Brands Hatch for the final time this year, we were able to reflect on a season that has at times been frustrating, but ultimately yielded a decent points haul, with a strong showing of performance, not to mention lots of silverware, toward the tail end of the year.
Dan Lloyd leaves 7th in the Independent Driver Standings, with Jason Plato 10th. The team finish 5th in the Independent Standings, and are a whopping 106 points clear of their nearest competitor in the Overall Standings.
Dan Lloyd – “Really, really great to end the year with such a solid weekend. Qualifying was great and I managed to make up a position in Race 1, so I’m really happy with that. Race 2 was just about damage limitation initially, but the team made some great changes to the car, and after securing P2 on the first lap I was determined to get up front. I think that had the safety car not come out when it did, we would’ve had a shot at the win, but to go forward with 48kgs on the car is a great achievement for us. Mega weekend-big thanks to the team, and a great finish to the year!”
Jason Plato – “Obviously today didn’t go quite as well as I would’ve hoped, but considering how we started Race 2, I’m pretty happy with where we ended up at the close of play. I would’ve liked to have been up at the sharp end like we were back in ’19, but it just wasn’t to be. Dan drove an absolute blinder today and it was great to see him up front challenging for the win in Race 2. I wish it had been a more positive end to the year, but we finished all 3 races and grabbed some points, and that’s what it’s all about.
Adam Weaver, Team Principal – “Yet again we’re over the moon with Dan’s performance. The tension in the garage during Race 2 was mad, as we genuinely thought he could land the win, which would’ve been an amazing end to the year for all of us, but it was great to see him grab another podium. Jason making up 18+ places across the final 2 races was great to see as well-it’s just a shame he couldn’t have done that from further up the grid. All in all, a good solid end to the year.”
Martin Broadhurst, Team Manager – “It’s been a tough year-probably tougher than we thought when we came into it, in all honesty. The grid has been tighter than ever, and the last few rounds have been fantastic for both Dan and us as a team. Seeing Jason scythe his way through the grid in the final race was fantastic, and Dan taking another podium was the icing on the cake. It’s a shame we couldn’t quite secure the win during Race 2, but P2 isn’t so bad. Now it’s time for us to get stuck in to the cars over the winter so that we can come out fighting come April.”