As the traditional BTCC summer break sets in, we make do with the Snetterton test to whet our appetites for the rest of the season.
Tom Chilton walked away with bragging rights on Day One, despite Sam Tordoff setting the pace during the afternoon session. Chilton completed a qualifying simulation mid-morning, setting a blistering 1:56.144 benchmark in his Ford Focus.
After the session Chilton said: “To be honest we really gave it some there. We’re obviously testing different compounds and set-ups, but this is a real chance for us to push forwards with the car.
“We has a pre-season test in Spain but the conditions weren’t great there, so this is a vital few days in preparation for the rest of the season.”
Halford Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish had to settle for second, coming within 0.118 of Chilton’s time.
The two lap times remaining unchallenged for the rest of the day, with Tordoff claiming the fastest lap in the afternoon. The Yorkshire-man later admitted that the lap was set on the Dunlop Sport Maxx soft tyre.
Chilton wasn’t just putting down the fastest laps; he completed an impressive 83 laps of the circuit, out of 1510 put down across the whole field.
The day was very much business as usual for most of the teams, with the reigning champion Colin Turkington coming in third, ahead of Tom Ingram for Team Toyota.
Meanwhile, AmD’s Rory Butcher spent most of his afternoon in the garage with his Honda suffering a series of minor glitches. He eventually came out to set just six laps, but his early morning pace was good enough for 6th.
Simpson Racing’s Matt Simpson ended the day seventh ahead of Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato. Andrew Jordan was ninth in his BMW 3 Series, and Adam Morgan rounded up the top ten.
Perhaps the most highly anticipated event was the debut of the Infiniti Q50 for Aiden Moffat and Laser Tools Racing, however the team worked on the car all morning, completing just shakedown running in the afternoon, leaving very little to take away.
Rob Austin, planning to return in 2020 after this year’s sabbatical, had a day behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta, finishing a very credible 15th.
Day Two was much of the same, with Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher again topping the time sheets. This time with Jackson behind the wheel. Jackson’s time just came in short from Chilton’s impressive effort on day one, leaving the team top of the timesheets for both days.
Speaking after the session, Jackson said: “It has been a really productive test. We’ve learnt a lot and written some things off too, but we seem to be in good shape for the remainder of the year.
“We haven’t really been rewarded with the results we’ve deserved so far this season. We have had some bad luck and made a few minor errors that have been unduly punished, so overall we just haven’t had the rub of the green.
“Of course, topping the times in testing doesn’t win you any points, but it’s a good feeling and a great boost ahead of the event here in a few weeks’ time.”
🏁 The final test day is over! 🏁@RobAustinRacing put in a late lap to top the afternoon session, but @OllieJackson48 was fastest overall today. The quickest time across the two days, however, belongs to @TomChilton_ – more to follow at https://t.co/QPiUYRsnXm… pic.twitter.com/VLgpIwqewb
— BTCC (@BTCC) July 17, 2019
Dan Cammish claimed the second spot again, with Sam Tordoff coming in fourth after a very consistent two days of running. Tordoff was only in the car for the morning session, ending at lunchtime so he could prepare for his wedding tomorrow!
Adam Morgan is certainly back in form, coming home in fifth and fan favourite, Rob Austin, put his Alfa Romeo in sixth place after a gradual re-acclimatisation session on Tuesday.
The reigning champion and last year’s runner up, Turkington and Ingram were next up, with Jake Hill putting his Audi S3 into ninth place overall, spending most of the afternoon session on top. Jake Goff rounded up the top ten.
Plato, Jordan, Sutton and Neal all failed to make the top ten, but as ever, testing times are not representative and as such, shouldn’t be looked into too much.
The Infiniti Q50’s running on Day Two was very much a muted affair again, hardly lighting up the time sheets, setting a very modest 1.59.960, although one would imagine Laser Tools Racing would be running a strictly set up based test and learning more about the characteristics of the car rather than aiming for fastest laps.
Overall over 3100 laps were completed over the two days, setting the teams in good stead for the action to return to the circuit with rounds 16/17 and 18 taking place on 3/4th August.