Frank Wrathall left Silverstone at the end of the British Touring Car season with two honours. Firstly the accolade of being the best of the 2011 series rookies and secondly the Fans Forum Trophy.
The latter, of course, is organised and voted for by fans on the official series website and the trophy was awarded to Wrathall by David Hughes – one of the contest's organisers – during the pit walkabout on Sunday.
“It was a bit of a shock when I first heard that I had won,” said Wrathall. “I am more than pleased to accept the award, which I see as being not just for me but for the whole team. It really shows that people appreciate what we have been through this year and what we have achieved. It's been an incredible journey from start to finish.”
“It's great that the fans feel a part of what you are trying to achieve. The support we have had from day one, when we were struggling to finish races, has meant a lot not just to me but to everyone in Dynojet Racing. Even on your worst days the fans' support seems to give you a little lift.”
On track Wrathall recorded a solid, if unspectacular, end to the season. He qualified ninth once Tom Onslow-Cole had been demoted for setting his fastest time under yellow flags, and the Toyota driver ended the first race in tenth.
The second race was a set back. Contact with a spinning Tom Chilton caused the passenger door on the orange Avensis to come open, necessitating a pair of pitstops and dropping him to 25th place for the start of the third race.
From there he started a fine drive that should be considered alongside his podium results at Knockhill and Rockingham as his best of the season. With the first lap of the 1.6 mile track he has passed five cars. Fighting further up the field Wrathall got the better of Triple Eight driver Ollie Jackson after a long battle.
Contact between Mat Jackson and James Nash handed Wrathall two more places when both men had to make visits to the pits, Nash for a drive through penalty, Jackson to have damage to his Ford rectified.
Now in tenth Wrathall latched onto the rear of the battle for the championship – Gordon Shedden following teammate and rival Matt Neal. With Shedden unable to make the pass that would give him a chance at the championship Wrathall pounced out of Luffield on the final lap to steal ninth and two points.
“I'm smiling now,” said Frank. “I was so determined to end with a decent performance. It was always going to be hard to get into the top 10 from 25th on the grid, but I made a good start, the car was brilliant, getting stronger and stronger, and towards the end of the race it felt like I was one of the quickest people out there. To pass Shedden at the final corner was pretty sweet.”
We've had a tough day but we've definitely ended on a high with that performance. The whole team can be proud of that after fixing the car so quickly after the second race. To reflect on the job that they have done all year for me, I can't fault them; they've been absolutely fantastic. The Toyota has been far better than I ever imagined, and that's all thanks to the team.”