Tom Boardman was rewarded with a single point from the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), a past-race stewards decision promoting the Special Tuning Racing driver into tenth place in the final race of the day.
The Sunday at Brands Hatch has started with great promise. With Boardman's SEAT now powered by a NGTC engine, he started race one from eighth on the grid, though just half a second down on the record-smashing lap of pole-man Matt Neal.
Progress up the order was almost immediate, Tom taking advantage of a lap one incident then the tightly bunched racing following a safety car period to move up to sixth place behind Alex MacDowall.
Unable to pass the RML driver despite a crowd pleasing, door banging battle Boardman's momentum stalled and was pushed wide by Andrew Jordan at Clearways. Now Boardman was next in line for a charging Gordon Shedden, pushing his way from the back of the grid.
Tom withstood one aggressive move from the Scot at Clearways, the rear of the Seat almost lifted from the track by the close attention of the Honda behind. There was contact again as the pair rounded the Druids hairpin, the wheel-to-wheel contact enough to break the steering rack on the SEAT, prompting a frustrating retirement from what promised to be a points paying race.
Race two was no better.
With the team working hard to repair the damage in the brief interlude between races Boardman was back out, but starting from the rear of the field. No problem, as the Lancashire driver surged forward heading to the right hander and Paddock Hill Bend.
There, however, he found his path blocked by Tom Onslow-Cole's VW Golf as both tried to take the inside line for the corner. The resulting contact caused Boardman's second broken steering rack of the day, leaving the team with another repair to do in order to return him to the back of the grid for the final race.
Now, Boardman was able to show his pace. After another great start he made up four places in the opening lap and was battling on the fringes of the top 10 on lap six, fighting with Dave Newsham in Geoff Steel Racing BMW, eventually getting the better of the Clio Cup champion to take the checkered flag in eleventh place.
“We were very disappointed after the first two races,” explained Boardman. “The third race I started from the back and I made up nine places, so that was pleasing. It's not the best place for me finishing eleventh, but my engineer told me I was matching the lap times of the leaders at the end of the race, so that's a good, positive indication for Donington.”
“It's just unfortunate that there was the coming together with Shedden in race one which disrupted the weekend, but we'll come back even stronger for the next race.”
There was, however, a positive postscript to Boardman's day. Alex MacDowall was given a retrospective 20-second penalty for an unspecified incident, dropping him from the points and promoting the SEAT pilot into tenth.