Toyota's trio of drivers endured a weekend of mixed fortunes as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship resumed at Oulton Park on Sunday.
Dynojet Racing's Frank Wrathall secured the best finish amongst the Toyota racers, finishing ninth in race three, while Tony Hughes headed the points scoring for Speedworks Motorsport by finishing all three races in the points. It was the first time he has done so since joining the grid at the start of last season. Hughes' team mate Adam Morgan endured a more tricky weekend, with a series of incidents forcing retirement from all three races.
Wrathall emerged as the quickest Toyota driver during qualifying seeing him line up seventh on the grid for the opening race of the day. The Garstang-based racer ran solidly in the top ten until he was caught in a collision forcing him to pit to remove grass from the radiator. Wrathall swiftly rejoined to cross the line in 12th place, collecting those all important points.
Another excursion across the grass in race two saw Wrathall drop down the order to 17th, leaving him with a lot of work to do in the final race of the day at his home circuit.
Wrathall said: “A top 10 finish is a good way to end what has been a pretty challenging day to be honest, although the incidents didn't help us. It was all a bit chaotic in race three but I stayed out of trouble to pick up the points and it has helped us move up a place, to ninth in the championship.”
With the weekend at Oulton Park being easily the strongest for Hughes in BTCC, it was initially a tough job after he qualified 22nd. Hughes encountered a solid drive in the opening race, like Wrathall. He finished in 13th just being his fellow Toyota Avensis racer. Hughes' best result in BTCC came in the second race seeing the Stockport racer take the flag in 12th, rounding off the weekend with a 14th place finish in the final race.
Hughes commented: “It was frustrating in race one that someone tried to use me as a brake but the car felt great and it was good to pick up points. It was strong again in race two and then in race three, I just wanted to bring the car home and not try to be a hero. The points are good but I was also a lot closer on the times throughout the races, which is a big positive.”
On the other hand, it was a weekend of contrast for Morgan. Despite his encouraging start in the free practice sessions, race day was a day to forget after being forced to retire in race one after a final lap tap at the hairpin sent Morgan spinning. A throttle and brake issue saw him again spin out of race two and retire to the pits. It was third time unlucky in the third and final race, after contending with no windscreen for the most part, a clash with the Audi of Will Bratt saw Morgan retire once more.
A disheartened Morgan said: “It was a good day on Saturday but Sunday was one to forget. Qualifying didn't go to plan as we made a mistake with the tyres and that left us on the back foot. In terms of the results it's been disastrous, but the positive is that we have showed some good pace and we've just got to build on that next time out.”