After a disappointing debut weekend in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) Pirtek Racing bounced back at Rockingham, driver Andrew Jordan driving to a trio of points scoring finishes at the 1.9mile Northamptonshire track.
However, despite the weekend, which saw the team pick up 18 points across the three races the team are still looking for more, rueing tyre dilemmas in all three races without which they would only have been more successful.
Jordan, in a NGTC-engined Vauxhall Vectra had strong pace throughout the weekend that was never more evident than in the opening laps of the first race.
From eighth on the grid Jordan took the blue and red liveried car around the outside of the banked turn one and into the Deene hairpin, climbing to fourth by the end of lap one. From there the 20-year-old continued to improve making it to as high as second place after four laps. Soon, however, he began to fall start, starting to struggle on the wet rear tyres he had opted for alongside his slick front tyres on a damp track.
“We can reflect and saw we made the wrong decision on tyres but to be honest it was a tough call to make and the track dried out much quicker than we expected it to, so we were caught out,” explained Jordan afterwards. “I had a great battle with Tom (Onslow-Cole) in the latter stages, I'd get close but then on the straights it was hard to keep with him, the LPG engine [in Onslow-Cole's Ford Focus] is really quick in a straight line.”
Despite this disadvantage Jordan was able to pass the Team Aon car, slipping up Onslow-Cole's inside at the Tarzan hairpin on the final lap to take seventh place at the checkered flag – the highest finisher to run on anything other than four slick tyres.
Jordan's lightning start was again on show in race two, again making up four places on the first lap, before taking third place soon after, but tyre issues were to halt the charge there with the front tyres of the Vectra beginning to degrade – a trait of the car Jordan puts down to the heavier turbo engine that sits above them. He would fall behind the BMWs of Rob Collard and Mat Jackson into fifth place by the end of the race.
Race three was perhaps the worst of the three – simply because Jordan never occupied a podium position, instead reaching only as high as fourth, a position he held for most of the race despite the BMW of Steven Kane challenging Jordan as his front tyres again passed their best in the second half of the race.
Kane would eventually pass Andrew on the exit of Pif Paf, sending Jordan back to fifth. However he was elevated back to fourth when Onslow-Cole ran wide at the Deene hairpin, plunging from third to seventh on the final lap.
“Three full race distances and three solid points' results is a really good way of finishing a race weekend, but after running in a podium position in two of the races I must admit I'm disappointed we didn't score one,” summed up Jordan. “We lost the places to BMW's and this is characteristically a circuit which favours them, now we move on to Brands Hatch which in turn should suit our car and I'm really looking forward to it.”