After completing a trouble-free debut weekend for his new Club 44 squad at Snetterton, Andy Neate declared that he was delighted with how proceedings went as he looks towards further improvements at Knockhill.
Returning to the BTCC for the first time this season, former MG driver Neate completed all three of Saturday’s sessions without trouble, before going on the finish each of Sunday’s three encounters to complete a successful race weekend without incident.
Although qualifying 23rd and achieving a best finish of 16th during the Norfolk visit, Neate branded the weekend a resounding success as they achieved their primary goal of a trouble-free weekend. The 38-year-old also felt very encouraged by the performance of the NGTC Chevrolet Cruze, the team running standard base boost for the Snetterton weekend which ultimately limited their competitiveness due to the circuit’s long straights.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the way the weekend has gone”, said Neate. “We’ve come here with a brand new car and have run six sessions on track without any problems, which is a fantastic achievement.
“We knew that running base boost would hamper our chances at a power circuit like Snetterton, but this weekend was more about testing and not chasing results. We’ve been able to run reliably, and the handling of the car has been fantastic. Through the twisty bits, the chassis felt great and the mid-corner speed has been hugely encouraging.”
Neate feels that the boost level issues will even themselves out over the following brace of events at Knockhill and Rockingham, the circuits’ more technical and twisty layouts likely to banish any advantages that Neate’s more experienced NGTC rival squads currently have at their disposal.
“We’ve made a number of positive changes to refine the car throughout the weekend and we’ll now work on further improvements at Knockhill, which will be more of an opportunity for us to test”, added Neate.
“The boost levels won’t hamper us as much there, apart from on the run out of the final corner, but with the things we have learned this weekend, I’m confident that when we go to Rockingham and the boost levels even themselves out, we’ll have a strong package.”
Club 44 chief engineer, Phil Overall, matched his driver’s optimism, saying: “I’m very happy with the way the weekend has gone. We took a cautious approach and have run the car six times with no problems. Andy kept out of trouble on track and drove well, and we’ve achieved the target we set of three race finishes.
“The handling has been consistent throughout and now we just need more track time and the added boost that will come when the regulations even themselves out. That is when we’ll get a true indication of where we stand but we’ve now got a good base on which to build.”