After a double points finish at Rockingham last time out, Crabbie’s Racing driver Jack Clarke will look to continue his successful touring car progression at Silverstone this weekend (27/28 September), as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to the ‘Home of British Motor Sport’ for rounds 25,26 and 27.
Having never driven Rockingham before, Clarke had to learn the circuit and find the optimum set-up for the Corby venue. After a season’s best qualifying result on the Saturday, Sunday would see the Surrey racer be stricken by bad luck.
Race one saw the 26-year-old make a good start, all to be undone early on the first lap when he was forced off the circuit. Having rejoined at the back of the 31-car pack, Clarke used the soft tyre to great effect as he carved his way through the field to take a top 20 finish. Race two was a quieter affair, which saw the Effingham-based driver net his first points finish of the day in 15th.
There was to be another cruel bit of bad luck for Clarke in the final race of the day. With a good grid position and a top ten finish in his sights, Jack had trouble getting the Motorbase Performance – run Ford Focus ST off the line, allowing the rest of the field to pass him. It was time to once again roll up his sleeves and put into practice what he has learnt so far in his short BTCC career. Jack certainly got involved in some close elbows-out battles and he intelligently made use of the pace in the latter part of the lap to pull off some cleverly planned moves to make his way back into the points – his second of the day and sixth of the season.
The attention for Jack and Crabbie’s Racing now turns to the fast and flowing 1.64 – mile Silverstone National Circuit for the latest tin-top showdown after a three-week break. Clarke has plenty of experience of the Northamptonshire venue having raced single-seaters for a number of years, with a best finish of fourth in Formula Two in 2010 and third in Formula Palmer Audi back in 2008.
The BTCC rookie will be under no illusion of the challenge ahead as he prepares to go door-to-door with 30 other BTCC drivers around the historic circuit. Qualifying will as ever be important to secure a good grid slot for Sunday’s races, with Silverstone having been a happy hunting ground for the NGTC Ford Focus in the last two years. This will hopefully give Clarke the confidence to push on for that lucrative top ten finish.
Jack Clarke said ahead of Silverstone:
“I am getting a kick out of improvements as the line on the graph keeps going up and in the right direction. The progress we are making really motivates the team, sponsors and me as we press forward. We couldn’t quite get the results that our pace deserved at Rockingham – it was just one of those ‘what could have been’ weekends. We know internally that we have made a big step forward and at Silverstone, Motorbase Performance have a good record. The Ford Focus ST goes well on the National Circuit so we could be in for a marked improvement.”