James Cole: “Hardest Part Was Getting Through Lap One”

James Cole said that Motorbase Performance are very stable after their comeback outing, but need a better qualifying showing before they can take more Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race wins.

Returning to the series along with the Kent-based Motorbase Ford Focus ST squad, former Team HARD and United Autosports BTCC driver Cole joined Mat Jackson for the team’s return outing at Snetterton last weekend and took away a best result himself of 11th.

Speaking to The Checkered Flag after the weekend, Cole commented: “It’s good and nice to be back in the championship. It’s effectively back to school which is a bit strange at this stage in the year.”

The former British Formula Ford champion lamented Saturday’s qualifying session where both Fords qualified outside the top 10, Cole starting from 20th on the grid which left him buried in the pack initially on Sunday.

Finishing 21st in the opening race, Cole and Ford’s weekend then took a turn very much for better, finishing 11th in the second encounter despite a retirement ending his weekend early in the third race of the day.

An incident with Hunter Abbott‘s Audi on lap two was the catalyst, contact damaging the right-rear suspension of the Motorbase machine.

Motorbase Fords Snetterton qualifying 2015

Cole added: “Where we qualified and then started in race two, we were actually really worried.

“We did a magical change and found something on the set-up, plus me and Mat are similar in that department which is helpful. Coming from 23rd to 11th in race two on the softs – that was fantastic.”

“Qualifying performance must improve”

Knockhill is next up for the Kent squad on 22/23 August, a circuit that saw victory come their way 12 months ago courtesy of Jackson. Feeling comfortable in a competitive outfit for 2015, Cole was quick to point out qualifying as the key area of improvement required, but praised the working partnership with his team-mate also.

“The aim now is just to be further up the grid in qualifying so that I can avoid the same thing happening again”, Cole added.

“The car is good, Mat and I are working well together and I want it to stay that way.

“Last year, Glynn [Geddie] was quick but we couldn’t judge our improvements, whereas now, I’ve got a good team as well as a quick team-mate. When I’ve got feedback and it’s similar to Mat, then we can see exactly what we need to change.”

The frenetic opening laps of the trio of BTCC races from Norfolk provided Cole with more action than he bargained for, adding: “The hardest part of a touring car race is getting through the first lap!

“If you can get through that in one piece, then you should be ok.”