Strong Weekend Sees PMR Continue Podium Run at Donington
This weekend saw Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing head to Derbyshire’s picturesque Donington Park, for rounds 25, 26 & 27 of the Kwikfit British Touring Car Championship.
Following a pair of podium finishes for Dan Lloyd at Silverstone, the team were in positive spirits heading into the weekend. With the Astras having firmly dispelled any rumour of being “past it”, despite being one of the older cars on the grid, it was time to move forward, continuing to break the cycle of bad luck that has beset the team this season.
Saturday morning would see, as always, the first Free Practice session of the weekend, and it looked initially as if the cars of Dan Lloyd and Jason Plato were to be stuck in the mid-pack, with Jason finishing the session P13 and Dan P18, despite the latter being less than 0.8 of a second from P1.
Free Practice 2 would prove more fruitful for the team, with the mechanics and engineers working hard between the sessions to rectify the balance issues the cars experienced earlier in the day. At the close, Plato would top the times by nearly 0.1 of a second, whilst his teammate would be less than 0.4 of a second behind, albeit in P12.
Mid-afternoon would see the return of the popular Top 10 Showdown, meaning a double Qualifying session, with the full grid setting their fastest times in an initial 25 minute outing, followed by the Top 10 returning to the circuit for a 10 minute shootout, which would decide their position for Race 1 the following day.
In a repeat of Silverstone, both Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing drivers would find themselves in the Top 10 at the close of the first session, with Dan and Jason crossing the line P8 and P10 respectively. With just a few minutes to turn the car around before heading back out, the team worked hard to make a number of small, last minute changes. The adjustments would pay off, with the frenetic period giving the team their best ever group qualifying result, with Dan coming home P2, just 0.03 of a second from Pole, and Jason just behind him in P3.
Sunday was to prove an exciting day for the team, with more sponsors and guests than ever before joining us on the Sunday, all clamouring to capitalise on both cars being at the front of the grid. The session would start well for Lloyd, as he would hold his place against the Toyota of Rory Butcher, before setting the Fastest Lap of the session so far on Lap 7. He would eat away at the gap between him and the Honda of former champion Shedden throughout, but ultimately be unable to pass him, crossing the line P2, for his third podium in just four races.
Plato would make a good start, before being passed by Butcher and Proctor early on, with 3-laps under the safety car giving Turkington the opportunity to close up the gap, eventually passing him on Lap 12. He would drive well for the remainder of the race, keeping the attacking Ash Sutton at bay to take P6 at the close.
Race 2 would see Lloyd carrying 66kgs of success ballast thanks to finishing P2 in the previous race, the most ballast he’s ever carried in the car. This would leave him struggling to get a clean start, allowing the Toyota of Butcher to pass him off the line, before being passed by the rocket ship Ingram, who had made up 8 places in just 3 laps. A small lock up on lap 8 allowed Turkington to pass, a position which Lloyd later retook, before being passed by current champion Sutton to cross the line P5.
This was to be the session in which luck would run out somewhat for Plato, as an incident early in the race with Smiley would push him wide, through no fault of his own. This would set him up for the rest of the race, and he’d eventually finish a disappointing P18, thanks to the addition of 33kgs success ballast.
Race 3 would see Lloyd start P7, thanks to the Reverse Grid Draw moving him down the pecking order 2 spots. Despite a 5-second penalty for starting out of his grid box, Dan would drive a fantastic race, pushing the Honda of Cook at the very close, although he was unable to pass it. He would finish P7, setting the Fastest Front Wheel Drive Lap of the session at the same time.
Despite being right in the thick of the main pack for the majority of the race, Plato would drive hard, eventually making up 3 places by the close. This would see him cross the line P15, capturing some vital points in the process.
Dan Lloyd – “`It’s been a mega day, yet again. I think the highlight for me was qualifying on the front row, after struggling so much with the car for the majority of the day. Turning it around to have the best qualifying result of the season was a massive moment for me, and I can’t thank Martin, Andrew, Jack and the team enough for making so many changes and giving me a fantastic car to go racing in. It really set us up for the Sunday, and we managed to bag some seriously solid results, as well as holding our own with 66kgs on board.”
Adam Weaver, Team Principal – “This weekend was another fantastic result for the team, with our best team Qualifying result yet, another podium and a string of high Top-10 finishes under our belt. If Jason hadn’t been nailed in Race 2, I’m convinced he would’ve managed to stay in the Top 10 for the weekend too, which is frustrating, but that’s racing. There’s been a lot of talk recently of the Astras getting old, despite Jason’s Astra being the newest car on the grid, but the last two weekends have proved that they’re still up there and mixing with the best of them!”
Martin Broadhurst, Team Manager – “It’s been another really positive weekend for the team, and I’m really happy with what both drivers achieved during Qualifying and into the first race. We tried a couple of things on the car in FP1 which didn’t work, which we thought would set us back slightly, but it proved to be the opposite. The cars are proving themselves as worthy race winners, and we’re going into Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks in a really positive frame of mind, ready to bring some silverware home.”