After a victory at the same circuit a year ago, local hero Dave Newsham hopes for a repeat of such happy days this weekend on the BTCC’s return to Knockhill.
The Inverness driver claimed his second British Touring Car Championship race win at the 1.27 mile Fife venue in 2012 driving a Vauxhall Vectra for ES Racing in the final race of the day, after a perfect performance from the head of the field aided by taking advantage of the reverse-grid scenario.
Driving a Speedworks Toyota Avensis for his coming visit this year, Newsham feels confident that he has gelled with the NGTC machine after six meetings, and is looking to translate his speed into a strong trio of results this weekend at Knockhill.
He said: “I’ve never driven the Avensis at Knockhill but I have such a nice feeling with the car now that it doesn’t daunt me at all. I think the Toyota should be good and, if we can get a good qualifying result, then hopefully we can translate the speed that we’ve had lately into some decent results.”
Newsham started the 2013 season off quite quietly with his new squad and surroundings, but results have begun falling the Speedworks man’s way of late, a strong weekend at Oulton Park seeing Newsham qualify fourth before caliming two eighth place finishes, improving that with a fifth place at a soaking Croft encounter in June.
The latest visit at Snetterton again saw Newsham display the potential of himself and the Toyota Avensis, an eighth place in race two gifting him the chance to fight at the front for the reverse-grid finale, but a rough opening lap saw him eliminated from the top five battle after an incident with series leader Matt Neal.
After a slightly bruising weekend, Newsham reflected: “We had a clutch issue with both Speedworks cars at the start of race one which then affected us throughout race day and it put us on the back foot.
“On the way to the grid for race three, the brake I use to control the car at the start got locked on, which meant I couldn’t then use it at the start and got bogged down. I was then hit a number of times and my race ended in an incident with Matt Neal: I put my car up the inside and he came across. When we touched and I went on to the grass, I wasn’t going to save it.”