This weekend saw the 2021 BTCC third round, which took place at Brands Hatch, usually home to the season opener. Power Maxed Racing gives us a breakdown of its weekend of racing.
Despite hopes that it would be the first round in almost 2 years to host a full allocation of almost 40,000 fans, it was not to be, and in the end just 4,000 were allowed in each day. Despite the limited numbers, the atmosphere we’ve become so accustomed to was most definitely back, with hardcore BTCC enthusiasts lining the stands and banking, hoping to catch a glimpse of the series’ infamous thrills and spills.
Saturday was, as you’d expect just after Summer Solstice, the perfect day. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky-the perfect weather for touring car racing. Free Practice 1 was, as always, the first session of the day, and saw both Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing drivers making the most of the 40 minute session, scrubbing in tyres and trying different setups. In the end, Jason Plato would cross the line P10, with teammate Dan Lloyd just behind in P13.
Free Practice 2 would see much of the same, with both drivers looking to capitalise on experiences drawn by both themselves and the team about the Astras’ characteristics at Snetterton 2-weeks prior. With the circuit’s Indy layout being so short, it’s notoriously difficult to find space for a clean run, which is unfortunately what happened to Lloyd during his Qualifying simulation, ultimately crossing the line P19, although that put him just half a second behind the fastest time of the session. Plato would fayre slightly better, coming in P8 to retain his Top-10 position.
Mid-afternoon would see the 30 minute Qualifying session, in which all 29 cars would venture on to the circuit, attempting to secure that all important pole for the first race of the weekend. Luck would not be on our side, however, meaning Plato would come in P17 thanks to a power steering issue mid-session, with Lloyd P12. With less than 0.6 of a second separating the Top-20, times were seriously close.
2021 BTCC third round race review
Sunday would dawn slightly less summer-like than its predecessor, although thankfully any meaningful rain would hold off until the end of the day. It was foggy, it was (relatively, for June anyway) cold, but the fans came in their droves. It was great to have fans cheering their favourite drivers on again, with banners and flags waving around the circuit-the atmosphere that had been missing for so long was definitely back.
Race 1 started well, with Lloyd making up ground early in the session, before a multi-lap battle with the Cupra of Jack Goff saw him drop back slightly, meaning he narrowly missed out on a Top-10 place, finishing the race P11. Slightly further back, Plato would race well, bagging P13 and a handful of points, as well as a better spot on the grid for Race 2.
The second race of the day would take place in conditions much the same as the first-on a dry track, with damp, warm air. The session would see both drivers race fast and strong, with both making up a considerable amount of ground, with both drivers eventually claiming spots in the Top 10, with Lloyd P6 and Plato P8, leaving them perfectly placed in the Reverse Grid Draw window of P6-P12.
Alas, luck was again not on our side, with the Reverse Grid Draw yielding nothing but a quick shuffle of positions, meaning Plato would start Race 3 P5, with teammate Lloyd P7, with 21kgs and 33kgs of success ballast respectively. Both would drive well though, with Plato spending most of his race battling the rear-wheel-drive Infiniti of Moffat, after a double tap during the opening stages from the Scottish racer left him with an off centre steering wheel. In the end, Plato would have to settle for P4, missing out on his second podium of the year by just 0.012 of a second! Lloyd would also drive a great race, holding off the advances of the Civic of former PMR driver Senna Proctor to hold on to P7, bagging a strong points haul in the process.
Jason Plato, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Car #11 – “Although the end result was ok, it’s been frustrating, as we’ve just been fighting our way back from a power steering issue in Qualifying. We should’ve been 6th on the grid really in Quail-it’s a completely different weekend really, and I genuinely think we would’ve been up on that podium a couple of time had that not happened. Once you get to the front there’s a good rhythm, and I’m fast when we get that rhythm, but when you’re in the mid pack it’s just bedlam. We’re making changes though, and finding our groove, and now we’re in the mix and fighting as we should be.”
Dan Lloyd, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Car #123 – “Overall it’s a really positive weekend for me. We’ve taken big steps forward with the car-it’s always a struggle testing throughout race weekends, and we’ve been making some massive changes, so credit to Martin [Broadhurst] and the team, because the changes they’ve made have helped massively. I feel like we had some good solid races today, although I’m not where I really want to be yet, but I feel like the upcoming test at Oulton is going to help us massively.”
Martin Broadhurst, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Team Manager – “Ultimately Qualifying was frustrating, and that put us on the back foot come race day. The majority of the grid are so close that unless you get a spot at the front, it’s really hard to move forward. The race pace of both Dan [Lloyd] and Jason [Plato] was as we’d expect it to be, thanks to some changes we’ve made with the car that have taken us in the right direction. We’ve got the tyre test coming up next week at Oulton Park, which will give us some time to try out what we think will work for the next round.”
Adam Weaver, Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Team Principal – “Obviously it’s frustrating that we didn’t come away with more silverware, but the team worked really hard to make changes to the cars that have taken us in the right direction, and I think that showed during the racing on Sunday. I’m feeling positive about the year, as we’re only 1/3rd of the way in, and I think that if we can get the cars nailed for Qualifying we’ll be banging on the door of the title as we near our next visit to Brands Hatch at the end of the year.”
Teams’ Championship – P6
Independent Team Championship – P4
Jason Plato – P8 (P8 in Independents)
Dan Lloyd – P14 (P7 in Independents)