Moffat battles to top 10 finish in Thruxton Thriller
Laser Tools Racing’s touring car racer Aiden Moffat ended a tough weekend at Thruxton, Hampshire, with a 10th place finish in the third race of the day.
Aiden’s Mercedes-Benz A-Class ended the qualifying session 16th fastest, the quickest of the three Mercedes-Benz in the entry, but he was left scratching his head over the set-up of the car. “It’s weird because we tested here a month ago and thought we had a good handle on what we needed, but today the car feels different. Whether it is the track, which has had some resurfacing work, or the car we just don’t know but I’ve had understeer and poor rotation in the car so we need to try a few more things for tomorrow. The Mercedes has won here in the past so we know that the car is capable of being at the front, but we can be content that it is not just our Mercedes that is struggling and that we are the fastest of the three.”
Aiden made a demon start to the first 16-lap race of the day but contact at the chicane at the end of the opening lap pitched him into a monster slide, which Aiden corrected by exceptional car control. The slide hurt his tyres and the contact bent a track-rod — after that he struggled for pace, the car still not behaving as he wanted it to, and he finished 20th having wrung the neck of the car.
“The slide didn’t help us but I am driving the car as hard as I can. The shape isn’t the best around here because you need good aero but the Laser Tools Racing guys are working brilliantly to give me the best car they can, so let’s see what I can do in race two.”
The second race of the day was another tough one for the the Flying Scotsman as he gained places up to 17th but with Aiden, like many, finding the pace of the car was causing him to hit the rev limiter at top speed and therefore lose pace when he needed it most. However, race three offered a chance to make progress.
Starting in midfield, Aiden’s fortunes improved shortly before the race began as drizzle started to fall. As Aiden always excels in greasy conditions, a throwback to his junior banger racing days on shale ovals, he was in buoyant mood as the race began. That, allied to an incident on the opening tour that shuffled the order, meant that he was 12th by the end of lap one! More progress was made on the restart after a safety car period, and Aiden moved up to 10th place being chased hard by the Thruxton-friendly Honda Civic of Chris Smiley. The two ran nose to tail for much of the race but Aiden’s excellent racecraft allowed him to soak up the pressure and fend of the feisty Northern Irishman to the chequered flag.
“The drizzle definitely helped,” said Aiden. “It played into my hands, plus we made a few more changes to the car over the day so that helped to find more pace as well. I have to say that the whole Laser Tools Racing team has done a great job because we could have been really dispirited after qualifying but we’ve all pushed on, looked for every little thing we can to wring an extra fraction of pace out of the car and ultimately got a top 10 finish. This is a tough championship and we are fighting as hard as we can for every place. We’ll look at how we can improve things for Croft next time out but we know that as a team we are operating really well.”
Aiden’s mixed weekend leaves him 18th in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship and ninth in the Independents’ Trophy, with the next rounds being at Croft in North Yorkshire on June 15/16. All the raceday action will be live on ITV4, but before that see Aiden at the Laser Tools / Tool Connection stand at the Automechanika exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham on Wednesday June 5. Aiden will be talking to fans and signing posters on the stand. There will also be a Q&A session, hosted by ITV’s David Addison, with fellow BTCC drivers, which is scheduled for 12:45.