Redstone Racing have vowed to dig deep and will be hoping for a return to form after a torrid weekend at Croft. All three drivers suffered some sort of technical issue or retirement and the Kent-based outfit must surely be hoping for a change in fortunes when the BTCC heads to Snetterton in August.
Race one was a solid if disappointing showing for the team. All three drivers overcame adversity to bring their Ford Focus STs home in points-scoring positions. Mat Jackson had run as high as fifth in the early stages of the race, but an engine power issue meant he had to settle for the position in which he started; eighth place. Team-mate Aron Smith joined Jackson in the top ten despite a puncture to his right front tyre on his Focus, whilst the last of the trio, Liam Griffin, had to make do with fourteenth after a drive-through penalty following a jump start. However, his classification was creditable as he improved eight places from his qualifying position.
Jackson's power problems resulted in the team having to change his engine for the second race of the day, but it was not fitted in time for him to take the start of the race. He managed to complete just one lap (the final lap) to check the installation of the engine. Smith retired after running seventh because of a suspension problem, and Griffin took his second fourteenth of the day to take valuable points for Redstone.
Race three was somewhat of a disaster for the team when two of the drivers were forced to retire. Griffin's 'little red devil' lived up to his name after he was pushed off at Tower by Lea Wood and caught fire, leaving the marshals to bravely extinguish the flames. Both drivers were unhurt. Shortly afterGriffin's fiery exit, Smith returned to the pits with a terminal steering issue.Jackson, however, brought his car home in twelfth place, which, whilst disappointing compared toJackson's normal standards, meant consolation points for his frustrated team.
Jacksonsaid: “It has been a frustrating weekend but it's just a case of breathing in and moving on. We struggled to match the NGTC cars as they've got so much grip, which really hurts us from the outset. The problem we had in race one gave us no option but to change the engine before race two. Going into race three at the back of the grid was always going to be a nightmare as nobody has anything to lose so it's no holds barred racing.”
Smith said: “It's such a disappointment. I got up to eighth in race one before the puncture made it pretty much impossible to keep [the car] on track. We made some good set-up changes for race two and the car felt really good before the problems. After that we had even more technical issues in race three. I'm absolutely gutted for myself and the team.” However, like Jackson, Smith took a mature view of the weekend, remarking: “That's life.”
Meanwhile Griffinwas more perturbed with his showing: “I've been waiting for my luck to change and it just hasn't. There's so much contact [between drivers] and it's resulting in drivers not getting the results they deserve. It's very frustrating that we're spending a whole lot of time, effort and money on going racing and we have nothing to show for it.”
Team manager Oly Collins said: “The only positive from this weekend is that we now have seven weeks to assess everything until the next event at Snetterton. Liam suffered possibly the most damage I've ever seen to one of our cars. Add to that the fact that we struggled for pace all weekend compared to the NGTC and rear-wheel-drive BMWs, I can't say I enjoyed this event at all. I can't thank the team members enough for their efforts, because as ever they have been amazing yet with nothing to show in return for all their hard work. Once again we have been on the receiving end of some really bad luck!” The Summer break could not have come at a better time for Redstone, as they now have seven weeks to regroup and try and get on top of their issues.