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Team BMR endured a disappointing weekend of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship
Team BMR endured a dismal weekend of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) during rounds 7, 8 and 9 at Hampshire’s Thruxton circuit last time out (19-20 May) as they were blunted by engine demons and performance deficit.

The team started the weekend on the back foot with lack of straight line speed and no driver is ever able to compensate for lack of horsepower, so the drivers were left to try and wring all they could from the Subaru Levorgs.

Ash Sutton set the quickest time of the three drivers qualifying in 18th with a time of 1m16.690s and just over a second behind pole setter Matt Neal.  Josh Price wasn’t far off Ash’s time with a 1m16.894s placing him 23rd on the grid for Sunday’s first race with Jason Plato behind him in 24th with a time of 1m16.918s.

Jason complained of lack of speed and engine gremlins throughout Saturday and with the data backing up his concerns the decision was made to switch engines overnight even though this would result in us losing vital Manufacturer championship points with this now being our fifth manufacturer engine change in just 9 rounds since the beginning of the season.

Sunday was a new day and with the team as determined as ever we soldiered on with the fight to try and score some points and limit any damage to the Subaru Levorgs in the process.

Race one lights were out and although we didn’t get a great start off the line, Ash managed to stay with the mid pack and crossed the line in 15th, scoring an extremely vital point.  Josh finished 22nd and Jason retired from the race with yet more reliability issues.

For race two Ash bettered his result with a superb 11th place and more points in the bag.  Josh brought his car home in 23rd and although changes were made to Jason’s car for the second race of the day, the engine continued to underperform, and he retired after just three laps.  The decision was made to retire the car for the remainder of the day.

As if the team hadn’t had enough bad luck over the weekend there was then more devastation as Ash’s drive shaft failed as he was joining the grid for the third and final race of the day.  The team had just minutes to make repairs in the pit lane before remarkably Ash was able to join the back of the grid and he fought his way through to finish the race in 20th.  Josh retired from the race with damage after contact and additional concerns about engine issues, so the decision was made to retire and salvage the engine.

We left Thruxton scoring six points, of which we were very grateful.  Following Thruxton we had a very lengthy debrief and spent time raking through the data in a bid to do all we can to move forward and return to being competitive for Oulton Park, whilst the engines returned to Swindon for further analysis.

Gerry Bucke, Adrian Flux Insurance Services General Manager said “Team BMR showed grit and determination during an incredibly challenging weekend at Thruxton.  Unfortunately, Ash was forced to start the third race from the back of the grid after a sudden drive shaft failure – a shame since he’d done superbly well to reach 11th at the end of the second race on Sunday.

“And while it was touch and go as to whether he’d make it out on the track, the engineering team managed to get him out on the grid. Ash also did superb to climb up to 20th with a good recovery drive.  The perseverance of both drivers and the team behind the scenes is testament to everyone’s desire to come together and do their best whatever the circumstances.  I hope Oulton Park goes better for them.”