Martin Depper was elated with a career-best fifth place result in the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Thruxton.
The shortened 12-lap opening encounter at the Hampshire circuit on Sunday saw Eurotech Racing enjoy a fine result, with team boss Jeff Smith grabbing fourth spot ahead of Depper despite the former being caught up in the race-ending incident at the final chicane.
Depper took the rallycross approach to safety through the accident on his way to a top-five finish, his best since his BTCC return for the Eurotech squad back in 2014.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag afterwards, a brimming Depper mused: “It’s my best race finish so far and the day isn’t over yet, the best two races are yet to come. It was like Days of Thunder for a moment!
“It was a fantastic race, I’m really pleased with my pace today, we were hanging on the back of that lead group and the car was strong. Without all of those shenanigans, I think it still would have been my best finish anyway. I’m very excited for race two.
“Well it’s my third full season and I was thinking in midweek that I’m a bit cheesed off with finishing in the midfield. The team deserve better and the cars are certainly able to do more, and I really need to get my finger out and start showing it.”
The opening encounter was one that shifted the focus onto tyre management, as numerous drivers fell victim to tyre failures in the latter stages of the race. As a result, races one and two have therefore been shortened to 12 laps.
Depper pointed to his own tyre management efforts, adding: “The car is good on the tyres, but to be fair, out of the team the guys keep telling me I’m the kindest on my tyres and that really does help me.”
Race two gets underway at 14:32pm, Depper starting fifth behind team-mate Smith while series returnee Daniel Lloyd begins 12th in the third Eurotech Honda.
Depper concluded: “It’s fantastic to be starting next to my team-mate, I think we’re going to have a great second race and I’m really looking forward to it.”