Double podium delight for Aiden Moffat at Donington
- Laser Tools Racing ace takes two third places, Aiden takes a win in the Independent category in race one, Top six in drivers championship after six races
Aiden’s weekend started with fifth fastest time in the 30-minute qualifying session, which was difficult for all drivers as the track conditions were treacherous. Thanks to Donington’s proximity to East Midlands Airport, the track surface is often coated in aviation fuel and when light rain falls, the track surface becomes greasy rather than fully wet. That meant that the teams had a tough task to establish a satisfactory set-up on the cars but Aiden, who revels on slippery surfaces, took his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class to fifth fastest despite an off at the Chicane. Aiden commented: “I tried to use the kerbs to gain some time. I knew it was a risk, but if it paid off, I could have gained three-tenths of a second and perhaps been on the front row. Sadly, it didn’t quite pay off…”
Instead, he hit the kerb with enough force to damage the suspension and send him off the circuit and out of the session, but his time had been set and he would start Race One in P5 on the grid.
Aiden made amends in the race by storming to third place and with it a win in the Independent class for drivers of non-factory-supported cars. “That was an important result. We were all a bit deflated after Brands Hatch,” explained Aiden, “but the car has been developed a lot of over the winter and it felt so good, so planted. As it gets older, the car gets better! It felt great and gave me the confidence to push.” Third place was an excellent result, the best of the three Mercedes-Benz A-Class contingent, and with it a second row grid-start for race two.
The BTCC’s regulations state that successful cars must carry success ballast in the next race. They also state the use of a harder, option tyre, in one race of the weekend. Aiden had both 57 kilos of success ballast and the slower, harder tyre to cope with in Race Two and it was inevitable that he would drop away from the faster, lighter cars on the better tyre. That affected his pace and after a further bump from an ambitious rival affected the front wheel tracking, Aiden was forced to drop to 15th place at the end of the race.
From 15th Aiden started Race Three in determined mood, with no weight and the faster tyre. And, at the venue of his first BTCC win 12 months ago, he flew, picking off cars lap by lap as he hustled his Mercedes-Benz up to an astonishing third place.
“The car feels better than ever,” said a delighted Aiden after Race Three. “Our qualifying pace is often not as good as race pace but this weekend we were well up on the grid and we could race at the front. That made me both more determined and confident and to go away with three trophies and two bottles of Champagne is a great feeling! It is the consistent pace across the weekend that is most reassuring: we can deliver wet or dry, with weight or not. We know that Thruxton, where we go next, is a good track for our car so we will hope to build on this weekend’s results.”
Aiden moves to sixth in the BTCC Drivers’ Championship and third in the BTCC Independent Drivers’ Championship.
The next stop for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is at Thruxton, Hampshire, on May 19/20 with qualifying live on itv.com on Saturday May 19 and a full day of race action live and exclusive on ITV4 on Sunday May 20th.