Frank Wrathall believes the NGTC Toyota Avensis is now ready to challenge for points finishes after showing encouraging speed at Croft.
The Dynojet driver qualified in 17th place on Saturday but revelled in the changeable weather conditions to finish 12th, having briefly ran in the top ten. Wrathall missed out on his first BTCC points by 0.831s but was still delighted with the performance.
“That was a really good race,” Frank said, “and easily the best one we've had so far. The car ran faultlessly and performed well in the conditions.”
By virtue of his race one result, Wrathall started on the sixth row for race two but any hopes of points disappeared following a collision with Alex MacDowall that damaged a rear wheel and sent him sliding into the gravel at Clervaux on lap ten.
Race three ended even earlier when he clipped the tyre stack coming into the Jim Clark Esses on the second lap, sending the Dynojet driver spearing into the nearby corn field.
“The car felt excellent in the final race and I was tucked in behind the car in front heading into the Esses,” Frank said. “The tyres on the edge of the circuit are in a ridiculous place as every lap you have cars either touching them or nearly touching them and I just made a mistake. I clipped the tyres on the left and that was it; game over.”
“It's frustrating that we go home from here with two DNFs, but race two was down to someone else hitting me and then I made a mistake in race three. The car has been fantastic this weekend and had run faultlessly, which is really good for the team.”
Despite missing out on points, Wrathall reckons that he will be able to challenge for top ten results in the second half of the season, starting at Snetterton in seven weeks time.
“I now feel we have genuine top 10 pace and we also have the reliability to go with it. Croft has been a real turning point for our season as we have a good package to work with and we now have to work on coming back at Snetterton with even more pace than we've shown here.”