Evans Halshaw PMR maintains strong start to the season at Brands Hatch

Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing added to its silverware collection at Brands Hatch this past weekend (May 11/12) as it claimed three more Independent wins in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship. 

The Worcestershire-based team maintained its strong start to the new campaign at the Kent venue in style as Árón Taylor-Smith and Mikey Doble both triumphed, while Taylor-Smith also came oh-so close to an overall podium finish in race three. 

That success means that the outfit remain at the summit of the Independent Teams’ and Drivers’ Championship, while Doble maintains a healthy advantage at the top of the Jack Sears Trophy standings. 

With the differing levels of hybrid deployment for drivers becoming a factor for the first time in qualifying this season, Saturday’s battle for pole position around the short Indy circuit proved to be an ultra-competitive affair.

Riding high after showcasing encouraging pace in the day’s earlier practice sessions, both drivers featured in the opening group in Q1 however both missed out on progressing by the smallest of margins, meaning Doble lined up in 13th for race one with Taylor-Smith right behind him in 14th.

Race one on Sunday was a relatively tame affair as both drivers opted for the medium tyre compound, with Taylor-Smith leading the line as he progressed into the top ten and Doble banking points in 13th. 

Sunday’s second contest would see Doble come to the fore as he utilised the soft tyre to charge forward, making a number of spectacular moves on his way to ninth and a second Independent victory of the season, just ahead of Taylor-Smith. 

With both drivers finishing inside the top ten, a favourable reverse grid draw placed Taylor-Smith and Doble second and third on the grid for race three. 

As the lights went out, Taylor-Smith wasted no time in launching into the lead however his time out front was short-lived as eventual winner Ronan Pearson found a way back past him at Clearways at the end of the first lap.

Maintaining second for a majority of the race, the Irishman came under attack from both Tom Chilton and Ash Sutton late one and, following a late lunge from Chilton at Paddock Hill Bend, he was shuffled back to fourth place come the chequered flag. 

Further back, Doble himself ran as high as fourth at one stage however was soon in the thick of the action and tumbled back to 16th. His results across all three races proved to be enough to net him a second successive outright win in the Jack Sears Trophy. 

Árón Taylor-Smith: “It’s been another good weekend and it was nice to end it on a high in race three with a fourth place overall. In qualifying we were on the wrong side of a tenth and that somewhat pushed our strategy towards focusing on race three.

“To bag two top tens in races one and two was great but race three was the highlight. We fought as hard as we could to stay up there but a few classic touring car moves meant that we lost out on that podium - and that’s the way it goes sometimes. 

“I loved fighting at the front though and putting on a show for everyone. I’m also very excited to see what we can do at Snetterton because we had great pace there when we tested in pre-season.”

Mikey Doble: “Overall it has been another positive weekend for myself and I’m happy to be heading home with points in all three races, as well as a couple more trophies. 

“It was frustrating to miss out on Q2 by such a small margin but I feel like we turned it around on race day. Race one was pretty uneventful but we were able to get stuck in and move forward when we put the soft tyre on for race two.

“In race three we just got caught up in a little bit of typical touring car racing and got shuffled down the order. Still, to be able to claim another Independents’ win and secure back-to-back Jack Sears Trophy wins is fantastic."

Martin Broadhurst, Team Manager: “I think we’ve proven that we have the capabilities to fight at the front this weekend and these results are only going to spur us on even more when we head to Snetterton for the next event.

“Both Árón and Mikey drove great and they both deserved better than they got in race three. To come away with a great haul of points, some silverware and a step forward in car performance is something we can be happy about.”

Adam Weaver, Team Principal: “This weekend has been a positive step in the right direction and whilst it would have been great for Árón to get a podium in race three, its clear that when we’re at the sharp end of the grid we’ve got the pace to contend for big results.

“Maintaining our 100% record in the Independents’ Championship is something that the whole team can be proud of and we’ll aim to extend that - as well as fight for overall podiums - at Snetterton in a couple of weeks’ time.”

The 2024 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season continues in less than two weeks’ time on May 25-26 at Snetterton.