Moffat unlucky in BTCC battles
Scottish Touring Car race ace Aiden Moffat suffered at the hands of others in a bruising Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship weekend at Rockingham.
The Dalkeith race ace went into the weekend in positive mood, with new driver coach Alain Menu working with Aiden. The Swiss racer, a double BTCC champion, was instantly able to help Aiden with input on data and also with a positive mental attitude that paid dividends straight away with a competitive showing in the first practice session. However, Aiden was frustrated by two punctures in the second practice session that compromised his running time and left him on the back foot for qualifying.
“Qualifying was good but I made a mistake in the last sector which meant I dropped some time. The set-up wasn’t perfect because we had lost time with the punctures in practice, and maybe I was pushing a bit hard but the pace was really encouraging,” explained Aiden as he battled to 15th on the grid.
Aiden’s race craft came into play in the opening race as the Flying Scotsman stormed up to eighth on a slippery track. The Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class was in great form as Aiden battled his way into contention and scored an excellent race result.
“That was good, really good,” said Aiden. “There were lots of battles going on around me but the car had really good pace and I used a lot of Alain’s advice and it all worked well. That shows that the car can deliver and that I haven’t forgotten how to make progress so it is a very encouraging way to start the weekend.”
Aiden’s result put him eighth on the grid for the second race and he made a great getaway, charging on to the back of the leaders. He moved up to fifth but then, on the opening lap, disaster struck: Aiden whacked a kerb and damaged the suspension. “It was my fault! I tried to get the cutback and pass the car ahead, but I just misjudged it and swiped the sausage-shaped kerb and that broke the suspension. I could have been a hero, but I just misjudged it slightly and that was the end of the race for me. It was worth trying the move as if it had worked it would have been a great pass, but…. It was frustrating as I felt the car had pace good enough for the podium.”
That meant that Aiden started race three from the rear of the grid and charged up from 30th on the grid. On a greasy track, Aiden gained places through Turn 1 and the run to the Deene Hairpin but then contact from behind him turned him sideways. Aiden carried on with no visible damage but a flat-spotted tyre made the car very difficult to drive. Aiden fell to the back of the pack and pitted to analyse the problem as the safety car slowed the pace. He rejoined the race and finished in 21st place, a gain of nine places from his original starting position, a fine effort allowing for the time lost in making a pit stop.
“The results haven’t been great this weekend but I feel really positive. I know that race two got away from me, but that was my fault and I hold up my hands to that one. Race one was encouraging and showed that the pace is in the car and in me and I really feel that working with Alain a few things have been unlocked mentally. We can take many positives away from this weekend and look forward to more of the same next time at Knockhill. That is my home circuit and a place at which I really want to do well.”
The next rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be at Knockhill, Dunfermline, on August 25th/26th and all the action will be shown live on ITV4.