Mixed Fortunes For Toyota Trio At Eventful Rockingham

by Scott Mitchell

It was a weekend full of drama at Rockingham and the three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Toyota independents were right in the thick of it.

Speedworks Motorsport’s Adam Morgan and DynoJet UK’s Frank Wrathall were left rueing what could have been after various incidents stopped them from making the most of the Toyota Avensis at the high-speed circuit.

In qualifying, Wrathall’s running was limited because of a differential issue, and then first corner contact and tyre issues saw him lose ground in the closing stages of race, finishing outside the top ten in 11th.

An impressive race two performance in torrid conditions saw him finish fifth, the Avensis running very strongly in the wet, despite being mired in the midfield early on and struggling with visibility.

“At the start, going into turn one, the conditions were so bad I could not see a thing,” he explained. “I opted just to try to stay out of trouble on that first lap.

“The spray wasn’t too bad around most of the circuit, but just where you need to be the bravest, where you are finding the edge of what the car can do in the wet, and there’s a wall on the outside of the track. You are going in there blind. It was quite a relief to pick my way through some cars and get some space.”

Wrathall was unable to build on that performance as he picked up a puncture at the start of race three and eventually finished 12th, with a completely flat rear tyre.

That race also saw Morgan, who had fought to 9th in race two after retiring from race one, throw away a reverse grid pole position on the first lap, spinning out of the lead at Chapman Curve, though he recovered to pip Wrathall to 11th.

“I got a good start and had the advantage into the first corner,” he said of the incident, “but the circuit was so much more greasy than in the previous race; I just lost the back end on the way into Chapman curve and that was it.”

Further back, but also in the points in 15th, was the third Toyota of Tony Hughes. Returning after lending his Hughes Safety Shower Avensis to Paul O’Neill at Knockhill, the second of the Speedworks drivers was pleased simply to make the finish.

“My experience of the wet in a front-wheel-drive car is almost zero,” he said. “I was quite pleased with my speed, given that I was slipping and sliding all over the place. The intention was to stay safe and bring the car home, and I’m pleased that I did.”

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