United Kingdom FlagMilltek Tom Onslow-Cole Race Report. Round 4: Oulton Park

Tom Onslow-Cole Report. Round 4: Oulton Park: click to enlargeFirst of all Tom, well done on the podium. Talk us through the weekend

Cheers! It’s been a real mixed weekend of highs and lows really. I was really looking forward to Oulton as it’s such a great track. A little bit of everything can be found there with undulations, sweeping bends, tighter technical sections - and I felt that we wouldn’t be at such a disadvantage against some of the NGTC cars. Qually was interesting as we took the decision to try a ‘two run’ strategy to experiment with different set-ups, as we hadn’t run a ‘dry’ set-up in testing yet. In hindsight, I wish I had gone out later in the session though; the track was drying really quickly, and although I came in from my best run in 3rd place, that was quickly eaten away as the track was changing almost by the minute. So, to be where I was (6th) was about right really. A lot of drivers were not feeling the new curbs at Knickerbrook though. The profile of them is a bit of a sump smasher - which might explain the amount of oil on the corner!

Race One...was going well. What happened?

(laughs) Well, that one’s down to me. I will hold my hand up to that. To get the pace out of the Ebay Motors BMW we have had to set it up quite fast and loose. So, I’m getting the corner speed that I need to stay in contention, but it means I’m having to fight some quite lairy oversteer a lot of the time. I could come up with some great excuses, but basically, the car just caught me momentarily and I spun. I am quite embarrassed about it!

In the scheme of some other performances at the meeting, it’s not so bad!

Ah, True.. I suppose you’re right! Luckily there was quite enough carnage elsewhere for that not to be a big focus of attention, but would have liked to be higher than 17th though.

Race Two seemed to be a lot more positive. And Race Three was making us very happy!

Race Two was going well, but I hit a big patch of oil at Cascades and ran wide, costing me quite a few places. I did everything I could to make up the deficit, but 9th was the best I could manage I’m afraid! Race Three was obviously much more to my liking. My plan was always to get away as fast as possible and get as much fresh air between the rear of my car and the front of everyone else’s as possible – and all was going well until the first Safety Car. As it peeled in, I tried to catch everyone napping – and luckily, did. This meant that I was able to pull out a bit of breathing room again. This wasn’t to last though.. The safety car was back out again on the next lap allowing Matt to close up. He wasn’t to be caught with the same trick twice, so he was on me from the second the Safety Car went in.

I was having to use my qually braking points to keep him behind me, but the Honda is exceptional under braking thanks to bigger brakes and tyres. I wasn’t all that surprised as he managed to take me into Hilltop, but I thought I should give him room as he went through. I didn’t want to risk contact and not being to finish. Unfortunately that let Jason through too.. meaning I had to defend from a very rapid Gordon whilst trying to hassle the MG. Made for an entertaining few laps, anyway and I think the lap times between us tells you everything there. It was quick!

The car looked on the pace out front. Are you feeling more confident with it now?

Absolutely. This result has made the whole team much more confident about the set-up and personally, I am feeling much more at ease and far more comfortable with the car. I think we’ve turned a bit of a corner with it now. Tyre life is extended dramatically, and we’re genuine contenders for track position. Should make the rest of the season very interesting!

Catch Tom and his Ebay Motors BMW in action in the next round at Croft on the 23rd and 24th of June.