A single point gained at frustrating Thruxton for ZR Tyres Lincoln backed Frank Wrathall
"It's been a weekend to forget," said Frank. "I can't believe how unlucky we have been this year, and I can only hope that things will turn around for us at Oulton Park."
After his Donington Park front-row grid start, Frank had high hopes of another good qualifying performance at the fastest circuit on the BTCC calendar. Third-best time in the damp first free practice session underlined the potential of the Dynojet Toyota, but a broken driveshaft in the second practice proved a setback. Frank was able to limp the car back to the pits, enabling the Dynojet Racing mechanics to set to work replacing it in time to get Frank back on track before the session's end. "It's disappointing but better for it to fail in free practice than in qualifying," said Frank.
Wrathall bounced back to set eighth-best time in qualifying, emerging from the session as the quickest of the four BTCC Toyotas. "Thruxton is so different to any other circuit and with last year being so wet, we didn't really have a good dry set-up that we could put on the car for qualifying this time around. I really had to squeeze that lap out and while I'm not disappointed with the result, I'm not totally happy with the handling of the car. We'll work on that for race day."
Race 1: 15th
Frank started eighth and held eighth in the opening stages but found himself powerless to keep his rivals behind him as the race wore on. By mid-distance Frank had slipped back to 15th, and he had to battle hard for the rest of the race to hang on to that position, and with it the final championship point on offer.
"For whatever reason, our car just wasn't working on new tyres and we need to try to get to the bottom of why," said Frank. "I had no grip, and it was inevitable I was going to slip back. After qualifying we changed the Toyota in every way we could in the direction that we wanted to go but nothing seems to have had an effect."
Race 2: 19th
His second outing of the day was another challenge for Frank, with a trip across the grass while avoiding the spinning Ford of Aron Smith at Church leaving the radiator of his Avensis clogged with grass. Forced to pit to have the grass removed to avoid overheating the engine, Frank rejoined at the rear of the field and recovered to 19th spot by the time the chequered flag flew.
"I thought I was going to collect Smith," he admitted. "I have no idea how I managed to avoid him but the radiator was full of grass and I had no option but to pit. It was a difficult race and we're still struggling with the car. We made some changes but I was still suffering with understeer and we have to try work out the cause of our problems."
Race 3: did not finish
Alas mechanical problems - to be investigated but initially diagnosed as a fuel pump problem - put paid to Frank's final-race hopes even before the start of the race. "It came up with a couple of warnings early on the warm-up lap and then just stopped altogether. If I could have got the car back to the pits I would have. It's a shame because the Toyota felt significantly different this time and I was quite pleased with it."
The Oulton Park rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship take place on 9 June.