Following a points-scoring debut weekend for United Autosports in their British Touring Car Championship bow at Brands Hatch, drivers James Cole and Glynn Geddie aim to build on their experience at Donington Park this weekend.
Cole recovered to seal the team’s first BTCC points in a frenetic final race of the weekend in Kent, collecting 14th place after his Sunday was initially made troublesome by a collision with the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic of Martin Depper at Druids during the season-opening encounter.
The former British Formula Ford champion showed the pace of the Toyota Avensis during a tight qualifying session, just the slender 0.693s slower than pole-sitter Andrew Jordan, but admits that the team must push for greater progress in one of the tightest BTCC campaigns of recent times.
Cole said: “Qualifying times of the Toyota at Donington last year suggests that the Avensis has pace there. But Brands proved just how competitive the series is this year and so we can’t rely on last year’s times and efforts as every car is pushing to find that last tenth.
“Donington is a lovely flowing circuit, fantastic for racing. I have fond memories of racing there in Formula Ford and Three – the latter being the last time I raced there.”
Geddie had a similarly eventful weekend as he adapted to the touring car nature on his maiden BTCC outing, the Aberdeen racer securing a net best finish of 20th place in the first of Brands Hatch’s trio of encounters.
The Scot expects the Avensis to be much more suited to the Leicester circuit, and insists that pace will only come with experience in the car as he approaches a track he enjoys.
“It’s very early days in our BTCC programme,” said Geddie. “It’s a case of keeping our heads down and pushing forward to make the car and engine perform to its maximum.
“I love Donington and the Toyota should be well suited there. It’s a ‘power’ track so straight line speed is especially important. With each race at Brands Hatch, I became more confident in the Avensis and like myself, with every mile the team learns about the car.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, added that the team came away from Brands Hatch nursing positives from their maiden experience, saying: “We’re learning fast and that’s the vital element.
“There are many positives to take forward from Brands Hatch but our first three races underline that we’ve a lot of work to do. None of us have previous experience with the NGTC formula apart from James who ran a handful of races last year but we nevertheless made progress this weekend.”