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MISFORTUNE AT SILVERSTONE FOR ADRIAN FLUX SUBARU RACING
The Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Team travelled to Silverstone Circuit last weekend for rounds 25, 26 and 27th, the penultimate races of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season.

Qualifying came as a surprise to us all as we weren’t expecting to perform as well as we did with both Subaru Levorg’s setting laps times which secured both Ash and Senna top ten positions.

A pre-race shower for the opening encounter left a damp and slippery surface to contend with and with both Ash and Senna pre-selecting to run the Dunlop Soft Option Tyres for this race we were unsure on the outcome as they should warm up quicker than the standard slicks but we could run into problems if the track was too cold for them to work as they should.

Ash was starting from his qualifying position of 8th with teammate Senna just behind him on the grid in 10th.  Sitting 7th in the Championship standings, Ash would carry 18kg of success ballast for the first race with Senna being weight free.

As the lights went out for the first time in asking, both Subaru Levorg’s got good starts and Ash made great progress getting up to 7th with Senna holding station in 10th on the opening few laps.

There was drama for Stephen Jelley and Mark Blundell on lap 11 as they came together causing damage to both, leaving the track littered with debris. However, the race continued as both cars made it back to pit lane.

With both drivers continuing to show good pace, the rewards soon came to a swift end as Senna received a puncture to his left front Dunlop, forcing him to visit the pits for a tyre change before re-joining the race albeit all the way down in 25th place.

Three laps later and more devastation arrived and this time it was Ash’s Subaru that also received a front left puncture also requiring a visit to the pits.
One small reward for Ash was that he did the fastest lap of the race with his brand-new tyre in his bid to play catch up with him eventually crossing the line in 24th with Senna just behind in 25th.
 
Race 2 was sure to be a challenge starting at the rear end of the grid however, with both cars now being ballast free the aim would be to get up into a points scoring position.

Both Ash and Senna got great starts and once again made great progress and were soon up to 18th and 20th by the end of the fourth lap. Both drivers continued to make their way through the field and just three laps later Ash was already up into a position that would score him a point in 15th with Senna scything his way through behind Ash and in 16th.  Once again some spots of rain arrived mid-race which left a greasy track and as the cars out in front struggled it played into our hands briefly as Ash made up another three places into 12th with Senna once again hot on the tail of his team-mate and up to 13th.

As the rain continued to fall the Mercedes of Adam Morgan became the first casualty as he spun off the circuit and into the gravel which in turn brought a safety car. With Ash now in 9th having made up an astonishing 15 spots and Senna gaining an equally impressive 14 positions and sitting in 11th, the safety car period allowed us to bunch up to those in front and be ready for the restart.

The rain was now heavy and with the restart imminent on a very greasy track with cold tyres it was going to be an interesting re-start and we were soon racing once more with 7 laps left to race.   Unfortunately, both of the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing drivers lost positions and the race was red flagged due to the wet conditions. Ash was classified in 11th place with Senna 15th. A pretty good result considering the starting positions and treacherous conditions with both drivers scoring points and Ash was in a great position for the reverse grid draw for the final race.

The draw was made and finally lady luck was on our side with the number 11 ball being drawn, placing Ash on pole position for the third and final race of the day.

Both drivers took to the grid on slick tyres and whilst waiting for proceedings it started to drizzle which would certainly mix things up, especially for us being rear-wheel-drive.  It wasn’t quite wet enough for wets, so we stuck to the plan with the only other option at this point, to start from pit lane on wets which would automatically give up Ash’s pole position.

The rain got heavier as the lights went out for the final time of the day and we were away once more with a great start by Ash although Matt Simpson managed to get past him on the first corner and into the lead, however not before running wide at the next corner when Ash managed to retake the place back again. Simpson then went off the road behind him after contact with Andrew Jordan who was attempting a pass for second. Ash soon found himself with former team-mate Josh Cook on his tail in the front-wheel-drive Honda who then nipped past him on the straight with Ash dropping back to second once more.

Senna meanwhile was sitting in 14th and was amongst others struggling on the now very greasy track.

It wasn’t long before Ash then lost another place to a second of the Honda’s this time piloted by Mike Bushell, it was then that the safety car was called to retrieve the stricken machine of Simpson.

The rain then got heavier and we made the decision to pit Ash for wets. Unfortunately, this would also mean that we would have to make crucial ride height changes which resulted in extra time off in pit lane and he re-joined the race back in 26thplace.  Senna then followed suit, also having to make the same changes and he re-joined at the back of the pack.

Ash was now one of the fastest cars on track and mirrored the fastest lap time.  After an outstanding display, he stormed his way up to 15th by the end of the race, unlapping himself along the way and scoring a single point in the process.  Senna, however, was caught up mid-pack and brought his Levorg home in 25th.

Ash, now being 106 points behind championship leader Colin Turkington, is out of the title hunt, however, we are really looking forward to final rounds at Brands Hatch GP Circuit on the weekend of the 12th and 13th October.

Ashley Sutton - "Silverstone just didn’t go to plan. Saturdays performance was a shock to us all at Team BMR, knowing Silverstone had never been the best track for us In the past, to stay inside the top 10 come qualifying was a great achievement for us all and put us right in the mix come race day.

"Unfortunately we never got the chance to show our true pace on track when it came to Sunday. Race one we moved our way up the grid to 5th before we encountered a puncture. The day was all about race three now and trying to to get to the reverse grid. Race two both me and Senna had to start towards the back of the grid, it was time to then hustle our way forward! The pace was great and allowed me to get all the way up to 11th as well as being the fastest car on the medium tyre. It suddenly felt like our luck had changed when we could pulled for reverse grid pole but the heavens opened and being RWD meant we couldn’t take it to the FWD cars, I made the choice to pit for wets but ride height changes meant we lost out on track position, Again we matched the fastest lap time when the conditions were a lot worse but the result didn’t back it up."

Senna Proctor - "A strong weekend at Silverstone was just what we needed after a great Knockhill to keep the momentum going and in my opinion it was great. The pace was strong, getting both the Subaru’s into the top ten in qualifying was beyond our expectations. Sunday did not really go our way but to be two of the fastest cars on the track consistently in all three races was brilliant and going to one of our stronger tracks in just under two weeks time I really think we will be a force to be reckoned with."

Gerry Bucke, Adrian Flux General Manager - ""It was a case of poor fortune for the team over the Silverstone weekend - we didn't expect a great deal at this high-speed circuit but somehow the drivers and team managed to surpass all expectations in qualifying, so it was unfortunate to have their efforts unrewarded by tyre issues in the first race. Thankfully, the nature of BTCC grids meant we had chance to see their true speed whilst they made their way up through the field in race 2, and to see Ash leave the winning driver for dust as he unlapped himself in race three shows Ash was a real star of the event."



Written by Maddy Turner

Photo by Jakob Ebrey