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The first weekend of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship turned out to be one of dismay for us at Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, having battled with issues from the outset followed by damage to three of the four Subaru Levorg’s.
Practice and Qualifying
Despite winter testing going well for us at Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, the balance of performance  applied to us over the winter break has had a big effect and resulted in our lack of performance during Saturday’s practice sessions and left our engineers continuing to try and extract the performance from the car right up to the point of qualifying in the afternoon and through the races on Sunday. 

When qualifying commenced we were unable to set a quick lap time in the drybefore we then became victims of the weather after the heavens opened.  This resulted in a disappointing session for all four cars and the best time was set by Jason giving him a position of 18th, followed by Ash in 22nd, James 27th, and Josh 31st for round one of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with Eurotech’s Jeff Smith was the pole sitter.
Round 1

With all four cars starting at the back half of the grid, the first lap was all about survival for the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing drivers. 
With the lights out Jason got a great start and immediately gained two places in the process, whilst team mate Ash experienced an issue on the grid hampering his start and forcing him to the back of the pack.  James had a superb start and had gained no less than five places and Josh also got a clean getaway.   Up front, there was a start line incident for Turkington and Neal which resulted in the safety car being deployed which gave us a breather and a chance for the drivers to settle into their positions for the next few laps.

Jason did a great job staying with the pack gaining another two places in the process crossing the line in 12th and scoring our first four points of the season.  Ash and Josh both battled their way through the field and despite Ash’s misfortune on the start line, he managed to claw his way back into a great finishing position of 16th, a massive 14 places from where he was sitting at the end of lap one, but unfortunately just missing out on points.  For his debut BTCC, Josh had an outstanding race and gained a finishing position of 24th, 8 positions up from where he started and James brought his car home safely in 27th leaving him frustrated but hungry for better things later on in the day.  All in all, not a bad first race considering our starting positions.
Round 2

All four Subaru Levorg’s chose the soft tyre option for race two and with the track temperature warming up in the spring sunshine coupled with Jason and Ash lining up in good grid positions of 12th and 16th, we were rooting for them to get good starts and be in with a chance of a good haul of points.  The hope for Josh and James was for them to make their way through to good positions to give them a comfortable starting place for the final race later in the afternoon.

The lights were out and despite Jason getting a great start off the line, there was a coming together between him and Simpson which fired Jason’s Subaru Levorg into the pit wall leaving it with devastating damage.   With Ash, Josh and James all getting clean starts, there was more mayhem ahead when Ash went into the gravel on Paddock Hill forcing him back down the field and into last position.  The race was consequently red flagged whilst the medical team attended to Jason who thankfully walked free from the car and was relatively unscathed, other than a little bruising and was taken to the medical center for precautionary checks.  Meanwhile, with the race halted, his car was retrieved and brought back to the garage for the team to set about working on the mammoth task of rebuilding it ready for race three.

The remaining three Subaru Levorg’s rejoined the grid in their original positions whilst the marshalls got on with the job of cleaning the track surface and making it free of debris and fluid ready for the restart.

The drivers were deployed for the two sighting laps for Race two where unfortunately for Josh he was forced to visit the pits due to a faulty steering wheel.  With the race underway once more Ash got a great start and up into 10th, James had an equally good clean start with Josh joining the track at the back of the field half a lap down and in 30th position.

Further on in the race, Ash then took a hard hit on the inside by Epps at Clearways which sent him into the gravel which he managed to recover from albeit losing a massive eight places in the process.

The second half of the race saw Josh return to the pits once more with a repeat of his earlier gremlins.  Once again Ash went into the gravel trap at Clearways alongside Moffat causing significant damage to the side of his Subaru Levorg.
James fought a good race and brought his car home free from battle scars in 22nd 
with Josh finishing the race in 24th.

Round 3

Unfortunately, despite the mechanics working flat out to repair Jason’s car, there just wasn’t enough time to get it ready to join the grid for the third and final race of the day.

James would start the race in 21st with Josh in 24th and Ash 26th on the grid.

All three drivers got good clean starts with survival mode ensuing once more at the back end of the grid and unfortunately this time it was James turn for the bad luck as he was off and into the tyre wall at Cooper Straight.

With just two of the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Levorg's remaining in the race Ash stuck his elbows out and fought his way through and up into a very impressive 13th place until the last lap and last corner of Clark Curve, when contact with Taylor-Smith resulted in him tumbling back down the order to a finishing place of 21st with Josh bringing his car home in 24th, his third finish of the day.
Team owner Warren Scott summed up the weekend: “The first three rounds were a disappointing start to the 2017 championship for us at Adrian Flux Subaru Racing but we are pleased to take away some positives with a few points from Jason’s 12th place finish.  Our new drivers Ash and Josh showed great progression throughout the weekend and James had two good races which we are confident will transform into good results for the team as the season progresses.”

“Well, what a weekend that was”, explained Jason “it has already been filed in the forget and move on folder. We have lots of work to do before Donington, I have every faith in my team that we can find the solutions to our problems.”

James commented “A very disappointing weekend which did not reflect our winter testing. A massive thank you to our amazing mechanics for their continuous hard work. We hope to resolve our issues ready in time for Donington Park.”

Ash said of his Subaru debut “Not the start that we as a team would have liked coming into the 2017 season. Brands Hatch is most definitely one to put behind us and move on, we now need to hone in on the problems that occurred throughout the opening round before Donington.” he continued “On more of a positive note I feel that I showed some good potential in the racing but unfortunately I was always stuck in the thick of it all to make any real progress. The team did a sterling job all weekend behind the scenes it’s just a shame the results weren’t quite what we hoped for, onto Donington!”

To conclude BTCC rookie Josh Price said “It was a tough weekend for all in the team, for us we made a huge leap forward in the learning process of racing in the BTCC.  I have no doubt in my mind the team will be working their socks off to get the car back up at the sharp end come Donington."

Rookie Josh sits in 2nd place in the Jack Sears Trophy standings with 43 points from the weekend, behind Senna Proctor in the lead with 60 points.

We now look forward to Donington in two weeks’ time on the weekend of the 15th and 16th April.

Photo Credits - Phil Laughton Photography