Milltek Tom Onslow-Cole Race Report. Round 5: Croft
Thanks, yeah, I’m pretty pleased, all things considered. I love Croft as a track and I’ve had quite a few podiums there in the past in both the BMW and the Vectra. It’s a tricky circuit and quite abrasive, but now we have the chassis set-up on the eBay Motors BMW just right, I was looking forward to trying to repeat those previous successes! The weather was dry, which really suits our RWD car, so we were all hugely optimistic.
Qually seemed to be very quick at the start and then you lost a tiny bit of pace. What happened?
That qually session was one of the closest I have seen for a long time. If you check the sheets, all of the top cars were just fractions apart. I was on a real flyer and had put a great lap together that was easily going to be good enough for around 5th, and then, just trying a little bit too hard in the final hairpin, I got a little bit of wheelspin and undid all of my hard work. I probably only dropped 3/10ths of a second, but in that session, that was enough to drop me down to 10th. It was that tight!
We’ve changed the car quite a bit since the start of the season, and to combat tyre wear, we’ve de-cambered it a little to get a more even contact patch on the tarmac. Also, particularly on this track, I’ve moved to a more ‘single input’ style of driving, where I’m only asking the car to do one thing at a time. It’s made a dramatic difference to tyre performance in the latter part of each race.
Race One looked like a bit of an effort. What happened?
It was all going so well (laughs!) I had a great start and had made it up to 5th. Lap times were where I needed them to be and I was just about to settle in to make up a few more places when Mat Jackson hit me slightly and spun me out. There’s not a lot of forgiveness in the RWD cars. This put me down to 14th. Still, it was what it was, so I just got my foot down again and tried to get as many places back as I could. All things considered, 7th wasn’t bad really, although it could have been an easy podium that one!
Race Two wasn’t the most exciting from my point of view, to be honest. Rob and I pretty much convoyed around in 6th and 7th for most of the race – and there’s not a great deal to report! The track was getting warmer and I was struggling a little with an understeer balance issue, which made us all think a change might be right for Race Three.
Race Three saw yet another TOC podium at Croft! What was the secret this time?
The team had softened the car off a bit all round – and that had made a huge improvement, and I was able to make the most of the grip. I was held up early in the race and pushed back, so I was glad to see the safety car out. I felt that I had good pace in that race and battled with Frank and Rob whilst having to hold off Jason. All good fun though!
I would just like to say a massive thanks to my team once again. They always work hard, but between them, they made a huge difference to the car this time and were a big part of these results!
Catch Tom in the eBay Motors BMW for the next round of BTCC at Snetterton on the 11-12th of August.