The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship party circus rolled into the world-famous Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire this weekend for round seven of the UK’s most popular motor racing series, however it was to be anything but entertaining for Tom and the Special Tuning UK team.
The weekend got off to a good start with a strong practice session and an incredibly close qualifying round, in which Boardman finished twelfth, with only one-tenth of a second separating him from the top-ten and just three- tenths of a second from the top-five. In the first of Sunday’s races, Tom in the Club SEAT car got a good start off the line and straight into a tussle with James Nash in the Triple 8 Vauxhall Vectra. But when the Honda Civic of Gordon Shedden veered off into the first corner on the second lap, Tom was forced to back off slightly, which opened the door for Dave Pinkney in the Vauxhall Vectra and the Airwaves BMW of Matt Jackson to scoot through. A frustrating battle for twelfth place then ensued with Tom fighting hard behind Nash, but he was unable to get past.
A spin by Jackson in lap eight and an engine failure for Pinkney at the same corner on the same lap, elevated Tom up two places, but the charging Shedden stole past on lap 15, dropping him back to twelfth position where he was to finish.
Starting the second race, again from twelfth on the grid, Tom moved swiftly up into tenth, storming past Nash and Jackson, before rubbing door handles with Steven Kane’s Airwaves BMW in the fight for ninth. Disaster struck though when an incident ahead of Boardman meant he had to slow to avoid contact, but Nash appeared to maintain his speed and collided with the back of the SEAT Leon sending Tom sideways. Fortunately, he was able to pull out of the spin but by then he had dropped down the order into 16th place. Not to be deterred, a fired up Tom put in a spirited drive, ending the race in twelfth.
Following the race, Tom said: “The team made some changes to the car after the first race as I was having problems with under-steer, and they got the set-up just right. The car was awesome, so to be taken out by another driver’s error was really disappointing.”
The bad luck continued into the final race when Tom was unable to get away on the parade lap due to the car’s engine failing to start. This meant he would have to start from the pit-lane and put him at the back of the pack. A crash on the opening lap though brought out the safety which allowed him to close the gap and following the re-start he was soon back amongst the pack where he would have started from. But again it was not to be his day when Andy Neate in the WSR BMW clipped the back wheel of the SEAT Leon, causing damage to the rear sub-frame and bringing Tom’s race to another frustrating end.
Speaking after the third race, Tom said: “We’re lucky that the damage isn’t as bad as it was after the last round at Snetterton. The team put together a strong package this weekend but with the mechanical issue and the two impacts we haven’t been able to demonstrate our full potential again. The car felt great for those laps I was able to complete, so hopefully we can continue that into the next round in two weeks’ time,” he continued.
Tom remains eighth in the Independent drivers’ table and Special Tuning UK lies seventh and ninth respectively in the outright and Independent teams’ championships.
The next race takes place at Knockhill, Dunfermline on 5 September.
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