The opening weekend of the British Touring Car Championship proved to be a tough one for Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher, and Team GardX Racing, both powered by mountune in their 2018 season.
Held at Motorbases’ local track, Brands Hatch Circuit, Saturday’s qualifying offered encouraging times with Tordoff in 2nd, Chilton in the fourth row in 7th, and Cole in 14th, just 0.341s behind pole.
After setting a promising pace during the mornings practice sessions, Race 1 saw Tordoff start from the front row on the Blue Response wet tyre, switched from the Dunlop soft option, but a fiery start to the series saw the 2016 second-place finisher make contact with another competitor in lap 1, forcing him onto the grass resulting in damage to the new RS. A second pit-stop ruled him out of the running for Race 1, crossing the line in 26th.
Meanwhile, Chilton made a fast move off the blocks in his 2.0 EcoBoost-powered Focus RS to claim 5th through Druids, keeping that position through to the end. Cole wasn’t far behind making it up to 7th but with the pack being as competitive as ever in the first race of the series, a battle saw the #20 Focus drop the grid to cross the line at P10. Top 10 positions for both Shredded Wheat drivers saw points earned, getting the Kent based teams campaign off to a flying start.
On a damp, greasy track, Race 2 saw the Gallagher-backed pair make a positive start, earning places 4th and 9th before the first corner, and a challenge by Chilton saw him move up to P3, with the first podium of the season in sight.
By lap 17, Teammate Tordoff had made it up to P12, aiming for inclusion in Race 3’s reverse grid draw. Unfortunately, with a drying track, all wet tyre players, including the mountune-powered trio quickly dropped down the grid seeing Tordoff finish in P18, Cole P19, and a forced pit stop saw Chilton cross the line in P28.
The final race of the day dealt the same card for the Team. Early pace shown by both distinctive yellow RS’ was only temporary as Cole suffered damage to the front end resulting in a DNF. Chilton also received a rear-end shunt meaning a forced pit-stop for repairs, ending the race in P27. However, Tordoff had a better race, making his way through the back end of a packed grid to finish in P13, claiming his first points of the day.
Although the weekend didn’t go as planned for the team, the brand new, in-house built squad of Focus RS’ proved their podium-worthy pace and the team remain strong going into Race 4, 5 & 6 at Donington Park at month end.