Tom Boardman and the Special Tuning UK team secured their first points of the season in the opening round of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Thruxton last weekend. Despite treacherous conditions in Saturday’s qualifying session which left Tom starting race one on the seventh row of the grid, a brilliant drive saw him finish fifth and take six points in the driver standings. A good set-up and some plucky driving was an early indicator of the pace that the car is capable of. Overtaking David Pinkney and Phil Glew on the first lap and benefiting from a number of retirements ahead of him, Tom brought the Seat Leon TSI home in fifth place just nine seconds behind race winner, Fabrizio Giovanardi.
With a success ballast of 9kgs added to the car for the second race, the super-fast circuit almost caught Tom out when in lap seven, he ran wide coming out of Goodwood Corner. But with some quick thinking and deft control Tom was able to get back on the track, despite what appeared to be a large amount of wreckage being thrown from the car. Unluckily, this off-track moment dropped Tom back down the order and he finished the second outing in 16th place.
Starting race three on row eight, Tom had to endure a frustrating race, unable to get past the Chevrolet Cruze of Alex MacDowall. The emergence of the safety car in lap seven, closed the field up and Tom was able to capitalise passing Macdowall and Andy Neate in the WSR BMW. But the flat-out sweeps of the notorious Thruxton circuit took their toll on the tyres and the Seat Leon fell victim to a puncture in the closing lap. Luckily, Tom was able to limp home and end the race in 13th place.
Speaking after the first round, Tom said: “Scoring points in my first BTCC race was fantastic and showed the potential of this little team from Lancashire.Despite our mixed fortunes in the other races, we learned a lot today which will stand us in good stead at the next race at Rockingham. Special Tuning UK and Seat UK have put together a great package and we know this car is capable of competing with all the major players. I can’t wait for the next round and I’m confident we’ll be able to post even more points on the board,” said Tom.
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