The AmD Milltek Racing.com team showed improved strong pace during the penultimate round of the British Touring Car Championship at the teams home circuit of Brands Hatch, only to come away from the Grand Prix circuit without the top-ten finish the team was hoping for.
The team went into the weekend keen to add to the points finishes it claimed earlier in the season, with experienced racer Martin Byford making his first appearance at the Grand Prix layout since 2003.
Byford managed to put his VW Golf P19 in qualifying, but made strong early progress to make up two places on the opening laps. Unfortunately his hard work was undone when the coil pack on the car failed, forcing him to make an unscheduled trip back to the pits and consequently at the rear of the field.
Byford rejoined just ahead of leader Jason Plato, meaning he had to slow allow both Plato, and second place man Alex MacDowall pass him. After keeping pace with the leading pack, he ended the race in 22nd place.
Martin managed to make up three places on the opening lap of race two, and by the tenth lap was running up in fifteenth. He maintained this position for the rest of the race, holding off one of this seasons race winners Andrew Jordan.
A good start in the final race of the day saw Byford showing the pace to run within the top-ten, but his hopes were shattered when the Seat Leon of Dave Newsham made contact with his Golf. He ended up crossing the line down in P17, but had showed real pace, setting lap-times comparable with the drivers inside the top-ten.
“It's been tough weekend for us this weekend,” he said. “I think I've been on the pace and have driven well but track position is vital when the series is as competitive as it is at the moment. Without the problem in race one, we'd have probably finished around eleventh of twelfth which would have really set us up for two good results in the following races and we could well have broken into the points.”
Team boss Shaun Hollamby praised Byford’s pace, despite the top-ten finish they were looking for eluding them.
“Martin has shown good pace again, but we've just not come away from the weekend with the results to match,” he said. “To come from 22nd to 15th in race two was good and showed the pace in the car and it was a solid performance in race three considering that the brakes were going spongy on the car and making it more difficult to drive. We've just got to go to Silverstone for the final rounds and focus on trying to end the year on a high.”