News : Rain ruins MG’s BTCC weekend at Croft

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Photography: BTCC Media Office/MG KX Momentum Racing

Sam Tordoff, MG KX Momentum Racing, FP2, Croft, 2013

Mixed weather conditions for the latest rounds of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) hampered the title charge of the MG KX Momentum Racing team at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire at the weekend.

Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff both took a gamble on the notoriously fickle British weather as they tried to outsmart the opposition at Croft before the conditions changed and ruined their plans.

Plato had finished in fifth place in the opening race of the weekend in a car that was struggling with understeer, but said he was hoping for a big improvement in race two. A serious rain shower just before the start had all the drivers in a quandary.

Plato explained: ‘We had checked the weather pretty closely, and we were certain that there was a huge rain shower coming and it would get worse. We opted for wet weather tyres to begin the race and then, typically, the wind changed ever so slightly and the storm clouds that were due to drench the track moved to the east of the circuit by a fraction.’

That meant that Plato was stranded on the track on wet tyres on a drying track and he was powerless to halt his slide down the order. The heavens finally did open for the third race of the weekend and Plato produced a barnstorming drive from twentieth to sixth place in the horrendous conditions.

‘That gave me some huge satisfaction, because we had a tough time in the wet races last season so we have certainly got that monkey from our back,” he explained. “Now we are confident that we have a car that works in all conditions, as long as we can predict them correctly…!’

Tordoff was in a similar position to Plato. He lost track time at the start of the weekend when a driveshaft failed also compromised him ahead of his first races in a touring car on the 2.25-mile circuit but claimed a battling seventh place in the opening race before opting for the wet tyres, like his team-mate, in race two.

Jason Plato, MG KX Momentum Racing, Croft, 2013

Race three was a chance for redemption as Tordoff powered through the pack on the bootlid of Plato and then seared into the top seven as the race drew to a close. He also set the fastest lap on the way up the order.

‘I have learned a lot over the course of the weekend, but we could never really recover the ground we lost at the start of the meeting,’ he said. ‘I didn’t have enough time to learn the track and we lost a lot of time when they cancelled a free practice session due to an accident. I wasn’t able to run through the programme I wanted to.

‘Nevertheless, I was pleased with the learning I did in race three because I had never really raced a BTCC car in the wet conditions like that,’ he added. ‘It was another new experience – I seem to be having a lot of those this season – and it is a building block in my development as a racing driver and learning about the British Touring Car Championship.’

Plato retains third place in the race for this season’s title with Tordoff in sixth position.

MG KX Momentum Racing’s Team Principal, Ian Harrison, said that the squad would move forward from this meeting. He explained: ‘It hasn’t been our greatest weekend but the tyre choice we made in the second weekend was one based on the facts we had at the time and we were convinced it was the right way. We wouldn’t have done it otherwise.

‘Our speed in the wet at the end of the meeting was encouraging and we managed to salvage points from it. That’s what you have to do in situations like that and we bounced back. We are now into a seven-week summer break, and we will continue to work hard to give the guys the best cars we possibly can.’

The next three rounds of the British Touring Car Championship take place at Snetterton in Norfolk on 4th August.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship 2013 – Drivers’ Standings after 15/30 rounds

1  Matt Neal Honda Yuasa Racing Honda Civic 224
2  Andrew Jordan Pirtek Racing Honda Civic 205
3  Jason Plato MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 188
4  Gordon Shedden Honda Yuasa Racing Honda Civic 188
5  Colin Turkington eBay Motors BMW 125i M Sport 184
6  Sam Tordoff  MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 148

Sam Tordoff, BTCC Race 3 Croft, 2013

Clive Goldthorp

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

7 Comments

  1. eBay/BMW really cleaned up at Croft. As much as I like local lad Colin Turkington, can’t stand the car he’s ended up driving!

    Quick question…

    What is the difference between KX Momentum Racing Team and 888 Racing Team?

  2. @2 Will M. There are kind of the same thing really! Tripe Eight Engineering run the team on the behalf of MG and brand the team KX Momentum Racing after the sponsors. Same as Yuasa Honda racing/Team Dynamics and ebay motors/West Surrey Racing.

  3. @4 Rugby Dave

    Ahhh, so a bit like TWR were running the BTCC Volvos, and if it had been named after sponsors it would be TWR Volvo or SponsorCorp Racing, but all would be the same.
    Gotcha!

    I was looking for 2 teams at Croft for a while as they kept interchanging Triple Eight (I thought this was sponsored by a betting company…) and KX MGs.

  4. With MG it seems to be race on a Sunday forget on a Monday… a curious way to behave. They should be making the most of the MG6 and it’s performance on the track.

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