Evans Halshaw PMR maintains fine form at wet and wild Snetterton

Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing continued its impressive early-season form in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton this past weekend (May 25-26) as Árón Taylor-Smith and Mikey Doble both tallied Independent victories.

Maintaining its unbeaten record in the category at a wet and wild third meeting of the campaign, the Worcestershire-based team now hold a firm stranglehold in both the Independent Drivers’ and Teams Championship standings.

Arriving at the Norfolk venue with momentum on their side, the Vauxhall Astra outfit showed credible pace during Saturday’s damp free practice sessions and headed into qualifying later that afternoon optimistic of a strong result.

However, the challenging weather conditions caught out a number of leading lights, including Taylor-Smith and Doble, which in-turn meant that both drivers narrowly missed out on progressing from Q1 into Q2.

Locking out the eighth row of the grid for race one, Taylor-Smith and Doble found themselves in the thick of the midfield battle from the get-go and worked together to move forward to 12th and 13th respectively; with Taylor-Smith claiming Independent honours.

Race two proved to be one of attrition as heavy rain prior to the start of the contest caused many to take a gamble when it came to tyre strategy, with Taylor-Smith being one of them as he switched to slicks whilst Doble remained on wets.

As the lights went out, Doble wasted no time in beginning his charge up the order while Taylor-Smith began to reap the benefits of the ever-drying track. Posting a number of consecutive fastest laps, it had looked like the Irishman’s gamble might pay off however the rain soon returned.

On the cusp of breaking into the top ten, Taylor-Smith’s progress was halted as the heavens opened and he would ultimately go on to finish 12th. Up ahead, Doble was one of the stars of the show as he fought his way forward to a career-best fourth place and an Independent win.

The weekend’s finale saw the team collect more silverware as Doble bounced back from an early spin to net another top ten finish. Alongside a second Independent win and outright victory in the Jack Sears Trophy, race three capped Doble’s most successful weekend in the tin top series.

Taylor-Smith’s drive to 15th in the reverse grid encounter means he heads to Thruxton in less than two weeks’ time holding a slender one-point lead over Doble in the Independents’ Drivers Championship.

The team hold a commanding 37-point advantage in the Independent Teams’ Championship while Doble is 43 points clear of his nearest rival in the coveted Jack Sears Trophy.

Árón Taylor-Smith: “I think the best way to summarise the weekend is ‘what could have been’ because had it not been for the rain falling in race two I really think we would have been in with a shout of winning.

“We missed the window a little bit in qualifying and that ultimately put us on the back foot for race day. However, we’ve got a cracking race car and that showed because we had the pace and potential to achieve something really special.

“I’m confident that that big result is coming though. We’re now heading to what is one of our strongest circuits on the calendar, Thruxton, which really excites me.”

Mikey Doble: “It’s been another unpredictable and action-packed weekend in the BTCC so I’m over the moon to be coming away with a best finish of fourth, two Independent wins and extending my lead in the Jack Sears Trophy.

“On reflection, our only bad session all weekend was qualifying and that came down to us just not getting the car in the window. In race one we had some good battles to make up a few spots and then obviously the heavens opened before (and during) race two.

“We made the right call on tyres and the car felt incredible; I just got my head down and worked my way up the order. Race three I was almost in the wall but we managed to recover and again score a brilliant result. I’m really happy with how it has all gone!

Martin Broadhurst, Team Manager: “On the whole it has been another encouraging weekend where that last little ingredient - which in this case was luck - has prevented us from scoring a really big result.

“Both drivers drove brilliantly all weekend. Mikey was fully deserving of his results and he’s really starting to make his mark on the Jack Sears Trophy. For Árón, he made the call to switch to slicks and I think had it not rained we might be talking about a first win in quite some time for the team.

“Sadly it wasn’t to be but there are plenty of positives to take away from the weekend, all of which we’ll carry into Thruxton.

Adam Weaver, Team Principal: “It’s somewhat of a bittersweet weekend because although we claimed another three Independent wins and the Jack Sears Trophy, there is that feeling of what might have been.

“We can take solace from the fact that we as a team did absolutely everything to give ourselves the best shot in race two, it’s just the weather gods had other ideas it seems.

“We know how good our chassis is and that generally translates to going very well at Thruxton so we hope Mikey & Aron can capitalise on that.”

The 2024 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign continues in less than two weeks’ time with a visit to the fastest circuit in the UK, Thruxton, on June 8/9.