Brands Hatch Delivers More Points For Tech-Speed

The liveried Cruze's at Brands Hatch (Photo Credit: Chris Enion)
The liveried Cruze's at Brands Hatch (Photo Credit: Chris Enion) with TechSpeed Motorsport managed to continue its recent good form with another handful of top six finishes at the penultimate round of the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.

Paul O'Neill came close to match the podium finish he obtained on the shorter Indy Circuit at Brands earlier this season. His teammate John George enjoyed one of his most competitive race weekends of the year in the Chevrolet Cruze.

O'Neill achieved a respectable P8 in qualifying despite the session being disrupted by two red flag stoppages, but after a solid opening lap he managed to gain one position. In the early stages of the race O'Neill found himself under pressure from Tom Onslow-Cole in one of the Team Aon Fords, but as the race went on he managed to close the gap in front of him to championship leader Gordon Shedden. This speed paid off, as on lap seven the Honda slid wide at Graham Hill Bend. A puncture for the other Honda of Matt Neal then allowed him to snatch fifth, but after a last-lap charge from Onslow-Cole, O'Neill had to settle for a sixth place finish.

Race two one again found Paul battling with Onslow-Cole's Ford, but as in race one it was the young Ford-man that got the better of Owy, taking the last podium spot and leaving O'Neill to cross the line in a still-very-respectable P4.

Unfortunately in race three his luck ran out. After making another strong start from P7 and subsequently moving up two positions into fifth, his S2000-spec Cruze suffered a driveshaft failure on lap ten, forcing retirement. Despite this, O'Neill remains ninth in the championship standings and has closed in on Rob Collard for fifth amongst the Independents.

“It was a good weekend for us, but we were only six laps from it being a fantastic weekend,” said O’Neill. “The car had been a bit nervous in qualifying but we sorted that for race day and it was really strong. If we'd been a few places higher on the grid then we could well have come away from Brands Hatch with a couple of podium finishes and if it hadn't been for the problem in race three, I think we'd definitely have had a podium finish there.”

John George had managed P23 in qualifying. After making up one position on the first lap, he spent the remainder of the race putting pressure on the NGTC Audi of Rob Austin, eventually crossing the line in fourteenth.

With a number of quicker cars behind him (including the two Hondas), John raced a clean race to finish race two in 20th. Looking set to add another top-twenty finish to his tally in race three, John had to take avoiding action when Chris James and Alex MacDowall colliding after a battle for position. The resulting spin dropped John down the order to last place, and in the end had to settle for P21.

He said; “This weekend has boosted my confidence 100 per cent. I've battled against some good drivers and have set some decent lap times all weekend and it would seem that they have now got the equivalency between the turbo and normally-aspirated cars about right.”