Evans Halshaw PMR celebrates double podium at Oulton Park

Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing signed off the first half of the 2024 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season in style at Oulton Park this past weekend (June 22-23) as Mikey Doble and Árón Taylor-Smith powered their way to a superb double podium. 

On what was a weekend to remember for the Worcestershire-based team, Doble and Taylor-Smith converted their front-row start in the reverse grid finale into a memorable silverware haul as they clinched second and third overall respectively.

In addition, both drivers maintained their 100% points-scoring record in the UK’s premier motorsport series and extended their unbeaten streak in the Independents’ Championship to 15 consecutive victories.

Arriving at the Cheshire venue - which was basked in bright sunshine - the Vauxhall Astra squad showcased plenty of front-running speed across Saturday’s two free practice sessions before embarking on one of the most competitive qualifying sessions of the season.

Taylor-Smith would lead the line as he progressed into the second part of qualifying before then going on to clinch eighth on the grid for race one. Doble meanwhile would miss out on the Top 12 the smallest of margins - 0.001s to be exact. 

Both drivers kicked off race day by opting to run the Goodyear hard tyre in the opening encounter and it proved to be a strategic decision that paid off as Taylor-Smith finished seventh and Doble moved up the order to 11th.

Switching to the more competitive soft tyre for race two, both drivers starred in a frenetic second contest which started with Taylor-Smith being embroiled in a melee at turn one, resulting in him losing vital ground to the lead pack.

The Irishman fought his way forward though and dragged team-mate Doble along with him as they finished fifth and sixth. There would be a further boost for the pair after the race when the reverse grid draw confirmed an all-Vauxhall front row for the finale. 

Blasting away from pole position, Doble wasted no time in establishing a lead and was wheel-perfect from start to finish out front as Taylor-Smith valiantly fought off the chasing pack in second place.

The BMW of Jake Hill would eventually get the better of both drivers in the closing stages however that didn’t dampen the celebrations as Doble led home a first-ever Power Maxed Racing double podium.

Heading into the series’ annual summer break, the team occupy top spot in the Independent Drivers’ and Teams’ Championship’s, while Doble has further extended his advantage at the summit of the Jack Sears Trophy. 

Árón Taylor-Smith: “I’m absolutely over the moon, what a phenomenal way to end the first half of the season! Oulton Park has never been the best circuit for the Astra but this double podium underlines the progress that we as a team have really made this year.

“The car felt absolutely mega all weekend and we knew that opting to run the hard tyre in race one might pay off for us later in the day; and it did! I was a little unlucky getting caught up in the lap one contact in race two but we recovered in style.

“To have both cars on the podium is outrageous and I’m so happy for everyone. We’re now going to head to circuits in the second half of the season that really suit our car and the prospect of what we could achieve really fills me with excitement.” 

Mikey Doble: “To bring home a maiden BTCC podium and to be a part of the first Power Maxed Racing double podium is something really special; I think it’s fair to say that that was one of the best drives I’ve ever had.

“Going into the weekend I had a feeling that we could achieve a result like this and weve done it. We were unlucky to have missed out on progressing in qualifying by just 0.001s but we made the most of race day and reaped the rewards in the end.

“The better man ultimately won race three but to have led pretty much every lap is something I’m really proud of - I gave it everything I had! Its been a perfect weekend as on top of the overall podium Ive also picked up more wins in the Independentsand Jack Sears Trophy.”

Martin Broadhurst, Team Manager: “To be coming away with a double podium, points in all three races and three more Independent wins is the perfect way for us as a team to head into the summer break.

“Over the past few rounds we have been steadily progressing and knew that the potential was there to really make our mark at the front of the grid; now we’ve been able to show what we’re about. This will serve as fantastic momentum going into the second half of the season.”

Adam Weaver, Team Principal: “I’m so happy for Mikey, Árón and everyone involved with Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing. We’ve raised our game this season and up until now we perhaps haven’t had things fall our way - that changed on Sunday.

“Both drivers were in fantastic form all weekend and they gave it absolutely everything in that final race. Mikey was flawless out front and the effort that Árón put in to fend off the chasing pack for as long as he did was seriously impressive. 

“This sort of result is just what we needed and I’m sure it is going to serve as the launchpad for what we hope will be an even stronger second half of the year."

The 2024 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returns to action at Croft Circuit on July 27-28.