The BTCC remains cruel for Sam Tordoff

Sam Tordoff BTCC
Credit: Matt Sayle

Denied pole with only a few minutes left to go at Rockingham, Sam Tordoff was still pleased with his pace on the Saturday and his second place on the grid for race one.

The best average qualifier in the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship kept up his Saturday exploits and was pretty hopeful of scoring his first podium in the series since his return from British GT.

At the start of race one, the Team GardX with Motorbase driver retained his position at the front all the way to the second corner. However, a missile in the shape of a Honda Civic Type R driven by Dan Cammish decided to punt the pink Ford Focus RS and spin Sam out of a strong position.

With his car heavily damaged, Sam limped back to the pits to give his crew the best chance to repair his car before race two. Thoughts of what might have been with zero ballast on the front row of the grid immediately quashed by an over enthusiastic rival.

Running on the least favourable tyre for the second race and driving in a damage limitation exercise saw the Yorkshireman cross the finish line in eighteenth. A strong drive from virtually last on the grid.

Avoiding the accident at the second corner in race three saw the weightless pink Focus hit seventh by the end of the first lap.

In the last few laps, a duel between the Honda of Matt Simpson in second and BMW of Colin Turkington in third allowed Sam to join the podium battle. It all got very exciting on the final lap as Simpson ran wide to allow Turkington through and begin a drag race to the line with Tordoff.

But the straightline speed of the Focus wasn’t enough and the GardX driver had to make do with his seventh fourth place of 2018.

Despite fourth being a good result, Sam and the Motorbase squad were left thinking of what might have been,

“It’s a bittersweet end to the day to be honest.

“We consolidated our position as the best qualifiers on the grid, got onto the front row and we should have a great halt of points this weekend. Yet again though, factors outside our control have ruined it.

“Race 1 was gutting. To be taken out on the 2nd corner like that. From something that wasn’t even my accident – I was just collected – it just killed our weekend.  Starting dead last on the hard tyre in race 2 was always going to be a nightmare but we still managed to make up 10 places.

“Race 3 was a great race. Back on the medium tyre again and we had the fortune of not being on the hard that most people chose to run on.

“We paid the price in race 2 but reaped the rewards in race 3 and got another 4th.  We got a bit closer to third this time but that podium still eludes us – not through lack of trying!

“We’ve been robbed this weekend though. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. And yet again, we’re left licking our wounds thinking what might have been.”