Laser Tools Racing Report BTCC Snetterton 2017
Dalkeith-based Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship star Aiden Moffat topped a difficult weekend at Snetterton with a simply superb drive in race three to rise from 29th on the grid to 12th place in his Laser Tool Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
Aiden, suffering from tonsillitis and a heavy cold, began the weekend with ninth fastest lap time in the final practice session before the all-important qualifying period. The Flying Scotsman was 14th fastest and started the opening race from the seventh row of the grid, with his targets being points and as high a finishing position as possible as that would be his starting place for race two. Aiden battled his way into contention on the opening lap and fought his way up to 11th place before he was a last lap victim of contact with fellow Scottish driver Gordon Shedden.
“I was doing OK in the opening race,” Aiden remarked, “Although the combination of tonsillitis and a cold meant that I had very little energy – and that isn’t ideal when it comes to racing a car! I was happy enough with the car and its pace and I was planning ahead for race two when there was a whack and Gordon went by and I was suddenly off the road! That had a major impact on me for the second race because it dropped me to 19th so I was starting in the body of the pack with cars all around me.”
With the results of the opening race determining the grid for the second, Aiden was up against it as the lights went out for the second 12-lap sprint. Aiden mugged the row ahead of him and was making progress when there was a coming together at the second corner, a tight right-hand hairpin. In the melee, Aiden’s immaculate Mercedes-Benz A-Class suffered bodywork damage on the front left corner. Ironically, despite the bodywork peeling back and exposing the suspension, the car’s balance and handling were unaffected and he continued in a strong 16th place until the safety car neutralised the race after an opening lap crash. However, Aiden’s chances were dealt a hammer blow by the race officials who deemed that Aiden’s battered car needed attention in the pits. Worse was that the instruction to pit came as the race restarted, meaning Aiden plummeted down the order as the opposition continued at race pace. The Laser Tools Racing squad worked wonders to get Aiden back on track on the lead lap but he was down in 29th place and in dejected mood.
“It had been a really tough day up to that point, but it started to turn around in race three.”
In one of the best drives of the day, the Dalkeith demon charged from 29th to 12th place with some stunning overtaking moves that left the opposition trailing in his wake. Aiden finished in the points and was disappointed that he hadn’t finished higher up the order such was his early-race pace.
“We have to run a softer regulation tyre in one race at each meeting,” explained Aiden, “and by the end of the race the tyres were destroyed! I was really struggling for grip and therefore for pace, so 12th was good but I really felt that I could have done better. That said, after the disappointment of races one and two it was a decent way to end the weekend and it proves that I haven’t forgotten how to overtake!”
Aiden now lies 12th in the overall championship and seventh in the Independent drivers’ competition but heads to the next round in optimistic mood and better still, the next action takes place at his home track of Knockhill, Dunfermline, on August 12th/13th.
“I can’t wait for Knockhill. It is our home race and it is where I made my BTCC debut so it is very special to me, my dad and the whole team. It really means a lot to have all the Scottish flags flying and I am determined to repay the support with three good results on home soil.”