Roller Coaster weekend for CarStore Power Maxed Racing at Brands Hatch
This weekend saw the CarStore Power Maxed Racing team arrive at Brands Hatch ready for rounds four, five & six of the Kwikfit British Touring car championship hoping to show the progress made since Donington.
Over the weekend, huge crowds joined us and over half a million people tuned in and watched on ITV, as this round was one out two broadcasted on the main channel. On the Saturday the weather was beautiful for the guests with perfect blue skies and high temperatures feeling like a true summers day, however for the drivers it was very hot and track temperatures rose to 40 degrees.
Free practice one started early in the morning at 9:30 and with an impressive start from both the Hand car #97 and Crees in car #777. Ash completed a best lap of 48.298 only two-tenths from pole and secured a good number of laps, achieving 30 in total. Michael finished with 28 laps completed and a best lap of 48.628.
Free practice two held early afternoon saw Crees #777 smash in to p2 on the final lap hitting a best time of 47.762, where the gap between pole and himself was a tiny 0.108. Hand #97 completed 29 laps in total and had a best lap time of 48.114, both drivers improving from free practice one.
Later that afternoon we saw a very hot qualifying take place, our drivers were both jumping up and down the grid during the whole session and with three pit stops in total, changing tyres and creating the best combination for Creesy and Hand to secure the best lap time. Hand #97 after the first pit stop, hit p5 with a 47.872 eleven minutes into the session however by the end of the session with the same time finished p13. Crees #777 was pretty consistent through the session and in the final two minutes completed a 47.962, which resulted in a p17 finish unfortunately not managing to recreate his earlier time from FP2 2hich would of put him 5th.
On the morning of race day, Sunday 15th May the weather had changed, it had cooled down and clouds were rolling in with rain predicted. Our Hospitality unit was full with our partners, friends and the family of both drivers all here to support the team. The anticipation was building and everyone was excited for the day ahead, especially Creesy with this being his home track.
Round four of the Kwikfit British Touring car Championship, a 24-lap race had the whole grid questioning what tyre would work as just before the race was due to start the heavens began to open. The Warwickshire team decided on wet tyres and it paid off, only two drivers on the grid decided slick tyres, which was a bold move. The race began and both drivers made great progress and with it places, Hand #97 making it up to p10 at one point. Both drivers were racing each other, keeping it clean, switching positions back and forth between each other. Race one finished with Ash #97 in P11 with a best lap time of 52.803 and Creesy just behind in p12 with a best lap time of 52.729.
Round two later that afternoon, unfortunately wasn’t what the Carstore Power Maxed Racing team were hoping for with the dramatic start resulting in Hand #97 coming in to contact with the car of Chilton and a significant start line accident unfolded which meant he had to come straight back to the pits.
Creesy #777 got caught in that same incident through absolutely no fault of his own and sustained quite a hard impact resulting in him being called back a few laps later due to excessive damage to the front of the car.
The mechanics immediately started to work on both cars to analyse the damage, it was quickly discovered that the #777 car was damaged too badly from the start line accident to be repaired in time at the circuit, meaning the car could not take part in the final race of the day, the attention then focussed on car #97 to get it race fit for the sixth round of Kwikfit British Touring car Championship.
The final round of the day, held earlier than normal at 16:15 due to coverage being on ITV rather than ITV 4 attracting an additional 250,000 viewers to the show.
With just the Hand #97 car on the grid in Creesy’s full on upbeat fashion he joined the team on the grid but this time as Ash’s grid board person, waving at his teammate as he pulled into position. The umbrella’s filled the grid walk as the rain joined us again.
After lots of photo’s the guests left the track ready for the race to begin. Hand #97 starting in p26, the engines revved up, the lights went out and again the action unfolded. After the first lap the safety car was deployed due to former team driver Plato #11 coming off at Druids. After the safety car, Hand #97 made great progress, moving up the grid and ended up having an enjoyable race long battle with the Honda of Rowbottom #32
In conclusion the weekend was a roller coaster of emotions for the team however Ash in race one, collected his first points in the Championship and overall it was an exciting weekend, lots was learned and it’s only a few weeks until we all meet again at rounds 7, 8 and 9 held at the fastest track on the calendar; Thruxton on 28th & 29th May.
Adam Weaver; Team principal, “ Frustrating, I think sums it up, but that’s Racing! We all know we had the pace in the cars and drivers to get well inside the top 10. We should of done that in qually but we didn’t quite make that happen and after moving so far forward in race 1 we were sure of getting well inside the top 10 by the end of race 2 and that all went out of the window before the first corner of race 2. Obviously im glad everyone is ok and feel for the guys who now need to put in the hours to get both cars ready for the next round, especially as one of the cars is off to Chesterfield on the Sunday in-between for the opening of our amazing partners, new CarStore. Location”.
Martin Broadhurst; Team Manager, “At least we got to demonstrate our pace in FP2 and the drivers are very happy with the car the Team have managed to provide them. This weekend just shows how much of a Team effort Motorsport really is. The whole team has been incredible. These things happen in Motorsport and I just hope that’s our bad luck out the way and we can show people what I know we are capable of.”
Ash Hand; #97 said, “Our weekend was successful in many ways the only way our weekend wasn’t a success was in our results although results are important they are not everything. In order to get results you need to have the right ingredients, and that is something we definitely had over the weekend and something we can build on. Our focus at the weekend was on non metric based stuff like consistency, driving style, car balance and quick fixes all the things we would of worked on pre season. The outcome of those things are the metrics like qualifying times and finishing positions. As we had a last minute deal between drivers, sponsors and the team it means we have had to work through these things during the season. Heading into round 3 at Thruxton we believe as a team we’re are now at the point where we can show ourselves at the sharp end of the grid.”
Michael Crees; #777 said, “Gutted to finish the weekend like it did after such a strong start to the weekend but great to know the car has real pace and can’t wait to jump back in at Thruxton. Thanks for all the support I had this weekend it was overwhelming to have as many people there!”
For more images of Brands Indy, please contact Dani@powermaxedracing.com