Frank Wrathall and the Dynojet Racing team secured two more points finishes yesterday on home soil as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumed at Oulton Park.
The three action-packed races saw Frank secure a best race finish of ninth, moving him one place up the championship standings into ninth overall, and fifth among the Independent racers, with 12 of the 30 races now completed.
Qualifying: 7th (of 22)
Frank was the fastest of the three independent Toyota drivers in the field, securing a place on the fourth row of the grid, a result made all the more impressive by the fact he was forced to deal with a electrical issue during the session.
“We had a problem when the electrical system died and we lost time while it rebooted,” he said. “That meant we had only two shots at going for pole, and I stayed out for a long time at the end on a used set of tyres, so I am pleased with my position.”
Race 1: Finished 12th
Race one in front of a bumper home crowd saw Frank work his way forward into the top 10, with the Dynojet Avensis climbing as high as sixth before contact from one of his rivals led the 25-year-old to run across the grass at Hislops. With grass collecting in the front air intakes of the car, Frank made the wise decision to pit to ensure that the engine didn’t overheat, although it meant he dropped down the order and could finish only 12th.
“It was a tough race,” he said. “I had a problem with the dashboard as it kept resetting itself, which meant I didn’t have any information in front of me. I made up places but then I got a push from behind into the chicane and had to go across the grass. I sensed the car could overheat, so pitted to let the team pull the grass from the front of the car. So to still finish 12th isn’t too bad. If I’d carried on, it could have damaged the engine and put us out for the rest of the day.”
Race 2: Finished 17th
The second race was again one where Frank was left to wonder what might have been, after another trip across the grass – this time at Cascades – once again led to an unscheduled stop that dropped the Dynojet car outside the points. Prior to that incident, things had again been going well, with the Toyota man racing into the top 10. Then came a controversial incident in which he was held up by MG driver Andy Neate, who had made up a position after gaining an unfair advantage by cutting the circuit.
“The race was really frustrating,” he said. “I was making progress but then there was the incident with Neate when he cut the chicane and rejoined in front of me. Race control said he should let me back through but he just blocked me and backed me up into the chasing pack. When I was then forced to battle for position, I got a wheel on to the dirty part of the circuit and went wide at Cascades, which meant I had to then pit to have the grass cleared again.”
Race 3: Finished 9th
Starting down in 17th for the final race, Frank avoided chaos in the pack to work his way up to 10th before closing on to the rear of Tony Gilham’s Honda Civic in the closing stages. A solid move on the Honda man at Lodge on the penultimate lap allowed him to finish ninth and move Frank up a position in both championship tables.
“I’m glad to have finished inside the top 10 and it’s good to get a decent finish at the end of a challenging day,” he said. “To be honest, it was all a bit chaotic and even though the car felt good, it was just a bit hectic in the pack. It was all about staying out of trouble and bringing the car home. We lacked a bit of pace in race one and two today but we finished well and have moved up in the championship.”
Frank’s next outing will be on the weekend of 23/24 June when the BTCC heads to Croft in the North East of England.
The Dynojet Racing team is backed by FUCHS Titan Race, Mac Tools, Klenzan, Angel Springs, K&N, Graphix and Autoglym.
Follow @frankwrathall & @toyotabtcc on Twitter