A difficult week personally for Dave Newsham ended in sublime fashion with a maiden podium of his 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign in the final race at Knockhill.
The podium was the first also for the Inverness driver’s AmD Tuning squad in the BTCC, Newsham climbing to second overall behind the West Surrey Racing BMW of Rob Collard before fending off the winner’s team-mates Colin Turkington and Nick Foster in the final stages of the race three 24-lapper.
The result was fittingly also at the Scot’s home meeting of the season, and he told The Checkered Flag afterwards that the hard work with AmD paid off.
Newsham said to TCF: “It’s been a horrendous week in ways, but great in others. We’ve managed to chip away today, and getting that reverse-grid draw was the difference.
“We’ve had pace all year in the races, we haven’t benefited from the reverse-grid before so when we got that, away we went!”
Qualifying saw Newsham lose time he admitted in the high-speed chicane at the centre of the 1.2-mile circuit, starting down in 15th place before climbing to ninth in a chaotic race one and improving again to eighth in the second of the Sunday trio before his tenacious final race performance.
Newsham pointed the AmD Tuning squad’s pace improvements to the recent test that they managed to participate in after the sixth meeting at Snetterton earlier this month, something which the independent squad had been previously denied by budget restrictions.
He added: “We had a test after Snetterton; we hadn’t done any testing at all this year, and we’re up against guys that have been testing a lot. We just haven’t got the budget to do it.
“But we went and did the test at Snetterton, we went through a lot of things and found a few parts on the car to improve. It was a really good test even with one set of tyres for the whole day, and we’ve brought that through to Knockhill and it’s clicked.”
The race three dice in the final four laps saw Newsham place his Ford Focus in the right positions to keep points leader Turkington at bay, during what was a fairly clean fight between the pair.
“I don’t think the team will believe that when they look at the car!” joked the second-place finisher, who denied WSR a 1-2-3 in the thrilling final stages of the third race. “We’ve gone through four wing mirrors this weekend, but it was a nice clean race instead of the usual rough and tumble.
“A couple of really good passes set the tone really, and into the hairpin i was really leaning on the brakes because I don’t think the rear-wheel drive cars brake as well as the front-wheel drives do.
“Colin’s only option was to either move me out of the way – which I didn’t expect him to do and thankfully he didn’t – or drive around the outside of me. I got off the throttle at the right times and it was enough.”
The weekend was also made a more emotional one for Newsham following the passing of his mother on Friday. The two-time BTCC race winner travelled to Knockhill and the result was a fitting one in the circumstances, Newsham concluding on the following note: “My mum was my biggest supporter, and I’m sure she will be proud looking down on me.”