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BTCC 2019 Donington

Donington

British Touring Car Championship rookie Dan Rowbottom enjoyed a positive weekend at Donington Park in the second weekend of his Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship career.

Dan’s Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class headed to Donington after a real baptism of fire in the opening weekend at Brands Hatch, and Dan worked on set up across the two free practice sessions, one of which was wet and the other dry.

Come qualifying, the circuit was never fully wet or dry as constantly changing weather conditions made the session a lottery. Dan’s lack of experience in the car made the session difficult. “I haven’t had a lot of running in the car in the wet and so it was a case of finding confidence in the car. I haven’t driven it around here in the wet before today, so it was a case of building confidence when the road was wet. When there was a bit of dry running, I was hurt by the red flags flying.” Three times the red flags flew to stop the session with cars scattered in gravel traps.

The qualifying session left Dan 27thon the grid for the opening race, for which he elected to run the harder, option tyre. Dan stormed up the order, benefitting from an early accident that wiped out some of the midfield runners, and ran as high as 17thbefore the harder tyre started to lose its edge. “Towards the end I was just hanging on! I needed to get to the end but I could feel it going away so it was damage limitation.” Dan finished 19that the end of the race, looking forward to race two and the faster tyre.

The Cataclean-backed Mercedes-Benz A-Class started from 19thon the grid for race two and Dan fought his way up to 14thplace and was set for his first championship points when fate intervened. “An earth lead snapped, which was really galling because I had good race pace. I was enjoying the race, learning about how to race in the BTCC and being part of the battles, so for that to happen was a real kick, but we'll bounce back for race three.”

Having finished 21stin race two, that was where Dan started race three but once again he was on his toes at the start of the race and battled his way up to 17thplace, missing out on points but proving his racecraft and pace once more. “I got stuck behind Ollie Jackson’s Ford Focus which was really quick in a straight-line so I just couldn’t out drag him. I tried under braking but I would lose out on the straights and that made life tough. We made a few changes to the car that seemed to work but they were negated to an extent by being stuck in the traffic, but had that earth lead not snapped I’d have been higher up the grid and it could have been a different story.”

Dan finished race three in 17thplace for his best BTCC finish to date.”

“I am pleased with the pace and the progress we have made and I will be working on qualifying better at Thruxton as that is the key to a good weekend. After what we have achieved this weekend, Thruxton can’t come quickly enough for Cataclean Racing.”

The next rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship are at Thruxton, Hampshire, on May 18/19 with the race day action live on ITV4

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