2 Wins at Classic Silverstone for ZRTyres sponsored Wrathall Ahead of Snetterton
Two race victories at the prestigious Silverstone Classic meeting have given ZRTyres sponsored Frank Wrathall a major boost as he prepares to resume battle in the BTCC at Snetterton this weekend.
Wrathall and his vintage FujiFilm Vauxhall Cavalier topped the 30-car field in both of the Super Touring Car Trophy races at Silverstone. On Saturday (27 Jul) Frank was heading for third place and was gifted the win when the leaders collided; on Sunday Wrathall led from start to finish to secure a notable - and very enjoyable - victory for himself and car owner Jonny Westbrook.
"It was absolutely incredible," said Frank. "We thought it would be a lot harder this year than last, so we weren't expecting much. Then we had a wheel bearing go in qualifying and Jonny had to bodge it together; he didn't think it would last. In race one we got really lucky: it was madness. The only current BTCC driver on the grid - me - was the only one out there who stayed out of trouble. Everyone else was crashing into each other. I got through to third, which is probably where I should have finished, but then on the last lap the two leaders crashed.
"We made a lot of changes to the car for Sunday and it was absolutely transformed, 1.5s quicker over a lap. The race went brilliantly for me, I got a great start, pulled a gap and led all the way. We were the underdogs with that car and we did it proud; it was a mega weekend. It's great finally to have a good weekend and to remind myself what enjoying motorsport is all about."
Hopefully Wrathall's victory smiles can last throughout the coming weekend at Snetterton, venue for rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. It was at the Norfolk circuit in 2012 that Frank and his Dynojet-prepared Toyota Avensis claimed their maiden BTCC pole position, and Frank went on to take second place and victory in the Independents Trophy in the first race of the weekend.
The team made good use of the two-day Dunlop tyre test at Snetterton earlier this month. "We didn't get a lot of running in," said Frank, "because we were experimenting with set-up changes which took a lot of time to make. While we didn't manage to find a set-up with which we were totally happy, we were at least able to eliminate some things. It was useful."
Wrathall is hoping that the second half of the season will prove kinder to him and his Toyota than the opening 15 races for, while he has qualified consistently in the top eight, he has claimed a top-10 race finish only on four occasions and is still seeking his first podium.
"Traditionally the second half of the season has been better for us. We know what we can do, it's just a case of getting everything right on the day and enjoying a bit of luck. We were on pole at Snetterton last year, and the quickest time set by anyone at the tyre test was not that much quicker than my 2012 time. We have done it once and we can do it again, although it will be hard."
All three of Sunday's races will as usual be screened live on ITV4.
Racefile: Snetterton, rounds 16, 17 & 18
Saturday 3 August: practice 0925 & 1200, qualifying 1520
Sunday 4 August: race 1 1200, race 2 1435, race 3 1700
Circuit details: www.snetterton.co.uk
Watch: qualifying live on itv.com/btcc Races live on ITV4, ITV4HD & web