The opening round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship saw the competitive debut of the new Pirtek Racing outfit with their ex works Vauxhall Vectra and the new NGTC engine.
Andrew Jordan, who drove for the works Vauxhall outfit in 2009, has returned to the family run outfit for the 2010 season.
Thruxton in Hampshire hosted the opening three races of the thirty race Championship, and Jordan was looking for a strong start to the campaign, a wish which he was granted in a wet qualifying session, as he put the Vectra on the outside of row two, in fourth position.
A dry track met the teams on race day and the hopes that Jordan and Pirtek had of scoring a good load of points ended up going as the team suffered a number of incidents with other drivers and tyres.
The opening race of the season saw Jordan lose out off the line to the Chevrolet Cruze of Jason Plato and the Ford Focus ST of Tom Onslow-Cole. This left Jordan battling with the Airwaves BMW car of Mat Jackson, and lap seven saw Jackson pass Onslow-Cole at the Complex, thus opening the door for Jordan. Unfortunately for Jordan, contact ensued and the Pirtek Racing driver had to pit for a tyre change, having flat spotted his tyres.
Jordan took the flag in fourteenth place, and he started race two in this position as the race two grid is formed on the results of race one.
The weekends second race saw Jordan shine before cruelly picking up a puncture. Having started back on row seven alongside former Vauxhall team mate Matt Neal, the flying twenty year old from Lichfield made up two places off the line and broke into the top ten by the end of the opening lap.
Jordan then passed fellow NGTC engine runner David Pinkney and Triple Eight Race Engineering's Phil Glew as he continued to impress, and carried on his climb up the field and reached fifth place from fourteenth place. At the end of the race, Neal and Jordan were the fastest drivers on track and the former team mates were running in tandem. Two laps from the end saw the end of the charge from Jordan as he picked up a left front puncture.
The third and final race of the weekend saw the race end before it had started for Jordan and the team, as the engine developed a misfire which meant that Jordan had to come in at the end of the installation lap.
The team cured the initial problem and sent Jordan out, before he came back in two laps later, having told the team that the engine was down on power. Jordan took the flag in fourteenth place, having rejoined in seventeenth.
Speaking after the races, Jordan said about his weekend: “Today is one of those days where you really have to focus on the positives. We were so strong all weekend, the speed was there and the team worked exceptionally well, it's just disappointing we didn't achieve the results to reflect our potential.
“Thruxton is notorious for tyre wear but our issue in the second race was a puncture which was seemingly caused by debris on the track and not by excessive wearing, which is frustrating because I feel we could have been on for a podium. The engine issue we had at the start of the final race was caused by a loose wire in the turbo, which really put us on the back foot, again we could've had a strong points result because we were consistently the fastest car on track each lap after our stop.
“The package has shown it is very quick and we're confident that we are a front running team, we will aim to secure three solid points results at Rockingham to really kick off our championship campaign from there.”
The team will look to bounce back from the Thruxton disappointments during rounds four, five and six at Rockingham, Northamptonshire on the 24/25 April.
Photo credit: BTCC.net