Frustrating Weekend for Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing
It was an exciting day not just for the teams, but for the millions of fans, as for the first time since 2019, they were allowed to join us at the circuit again, albeit in limited numbers. In all, 4000 lucky spectators would be allowed to watch trackside each day, although they wouldn’t be able to venture into the paddock or the centre of the circuit under Covid restrictions.
We were joined by a handful of friends of the team, including the likes of former BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey and family, all of whom enjoyed a relaxed day of racing for the first time in almost 20 months.
Saturday would dawn warm and dry, and would set the tone for the weekend, with not a drop of rain even threatening to fall across the Norfolk circuit. Free Practice 1 would see both drivers trialling some new ideas on the car setup (which would ultimately not pay off), with car No.123 of Dan Lloyd finishing the session P6, and teammate Jason Plato a few spots behind in P12.
Free Practice 2 would see both drivers spending some of the 45 minute session in the garage for setup changes, limiting the time on track, meaning Lloyd missing out on a place in the Top 10 by just 0.05 of a second, with Plato again slightly further back in P15.
This round would see the return of the Top 10 Shootout format during Qualifying, meaning that the 10 fastest drivers of the slightly shortened session would head out on to the track for a 10 minute “shootout”, with the final positions deciding where each driver would start from on the grid for Race 1.
Lloyd would battle hard during the expedited Qualifying session, securing himself a position inside the Top 10 Shootout, eventually bagging P8 during the 10-minute knockout session. Thanks to heading into the round third in the Independent Driver standings, Jason Plato would be qualifying with a 57kg of success ballast on board, hampering his lap times significantly, meaning his best lap time would put him P18 for the first race on Sunday.
With Sunday promising a day even hotter than the previous, the fans couldn’t have hoped for a more perfect return to the UK’s most popular championship, and with track temperatures reaching more than 40 degrees Celsius later in the day, the smell of sun cream was strong in the air.
Race 1 would start well, with Lloyd quickly finding his way up to P6, where he would stay for the majority of the session, thanks to his choice of utilising the Good Year Option Soft Compound tyre. The returning BTCC race winner was unable to make a late-race move on the Ford Focus of Ollie Jackson stick, costing him a place in the process, eventually taking the flag in P7, securing a decent points haul.
Slightly further back, Plato was fighting balance issues that had beset the car all weekend, making up ground at the start to sit in a comfortable P15, before dropping back and crossing the line P17.
For Race 2, Plato would be the one to use the Option Soft Compound Tyre, and thanks to a lack of success ballast, would make up places quickly at the start, before a number of factors came together to cause the tyres to drop out of their ideal operating window midway through the session. In the end, the double champion would cross the line P20, missing out on a second points finish for the day.
Lloyd, who drove well and made up ground during the early stages of the session, despite battling with ongoing balance issues, would come a cropper through no fault of his own later in the race, at the hands of the Hyundai of Smiley. This would cost him a considerable number of places, eventually finishing P12, just 0.4 of a second behind former multiple champion Shedden.
Narrowly missing out on the Reverse Grid Draw, Lloyd would start Race 3 from P12 following a penalty applied to Smiley, with both him and teammate Plato racing on the Goodyear Prime Medium Compound Tyre. With temperatures high and suspense mounting, both drivers made a clean getaway to snatch places into the first corner. As the session went on, the changes made by Lloyd’s engineering team, headed by Team Manager Martin Broadhurst, became obvious, and the former-TCR Champion began setting lap times that would easily have seen him hold his own in the Top 5, whilst behind him, Plato battled hard against the rear-wheel-drive cars of Sutton and Oliphant, both of which are well suited to the high speed Snetterton 300 layout.
In the end, Lloyd would cross the line P13, securing his third points finish of the day, whilst Plato would end his day P18.
Jason Plato, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Car #11 – “It’s been a really tough weekend! We tried a setup on the car for Free Practice 1 that we thought was going to work, but unfortunately didn’t, which put us on the back foot for the rest of the weekend really. Add in the fact that I had quite a lot of weight on for Qualifying, and I was never going to be right up the road. Race 2 started off ok-it made sense from where we were to run the Soft Compound Tyre, but it just didn’t play out how we wanted it to. Not a great weekend, but you have them in motorsport, especially when the grid is as competitive as it is this year-we’ll be back at Brands [Hatch] in a couple of weeks and be ready to get out there fighting.”
Dan Lloyd, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Car #123 – “Overall it was frustrating, as I know we had the potential to be quicker than we were! In myself, I feel like it was a massive step forward from Thruxton-I feel a lot more confident in the car, like I’m really on top of it now. We were struggling with balance issues all weekend, as I was finding the car really snappy, which isn’t what you want on such a long circuit. We tried a few things to help the issue, and worked out how to use what we had to get the car really sorted. Obviously, my position in the last race could’ve been better, but I’ve come away feeling really pleased that we’ve worked out the issue this early in the season. I feel my performance was better than the opening round, and I’m feeling much more confident as we head into Brands Hatch. I just want to make sure I’m consistently scoring points and pushing towards that race win.”
Martin Broadhurst, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Team Manager – “It’s been an extremely frustrating weekend for us, where we could just not find the sweet spot in the cars. This was hampered by the weight, to an extent, during qualifying and race one for Jason, although Dan did a good job with a car that was not comfortable for him. Both drivers put in a strong performance in the challenging conditions we were presented with. We now have plenty of work to do ahead of the next race at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time, where we’ll be looking to return to form.”
Adam Weaver, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Team Principal – “Obviously I would’ve liked us to take home some more silverware, and having scored well at Thruxton, it’s only natural to feel disappointed leaving the circuit without it. Knowing that Both Dan and Jason gave it their absolute all confirms for me that we have one of the strongest pairings on the grid, but it also means we need to have a long hard look at our data and the direction we have gone with the setup of the car- I feel we have let them both down to a certain extent. However, hearing Dan talking positively about the setup changes following Race 3 means we may find the sweet spot a bit faster than I was starting to fear. I know we have a great team and that you learn more from the challenges you face than from success, so as we head to Brands Hatch, we’re buoyed by the fact that Jason won the Season Finale there in 2019 by some distance, and we’re looking forward to getting stuck in and coming away with trophies, in front of the crowds again.”
Teams’ Championship – P6
Independent Team Championship – P3
Jason Plato – P8 (P7 in Independents)
Dan Lloyd – P16 (P6 in Independents)