High speed Thruxton lies in wait for ZR sponsored Frank Wrathall
A leap into the unknown - that's what faces Frank Wrathall and the Dynojet Racing team this weekend when they tackle Thruxton, the fastest circuit on the calendar and venue for the third meeting of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.
The reason for the uncertainty for the Lancashire-based Toyota Avensis racer is that he - in common with all his rivals - has no real idea how his car will perform on dry-weather tyres. Last year Thruxton was swamped by rain for much of the BTCC weekend and, though Wrathall made the best of the conditions, he didn't learn a lot about the Hampshire circuit.
Said Frank: "I'm not sure what to expect from Thruxton, to be honest. It will be a bit of an unknown for most people because the only time it was dry there last year was right at the end of qualifying. I think there's a lot to learn about the tyres; it will be interesting, but at least most people are in the same boat."
During the all-too-brief dry interlude at Thruxton last year Frank was on track at the right time and on the right sort of Dunlop tyre; he qualified his Dynojet Toyota third on the grid. In the races he found the Avensis perfectly matched to the wet conditions, recording fifth place in the opening race of the day, fourth place in race two and then a brilliant third, holding off Jason Plato, in the finale.
Last time out, at Donington, Frank endured a trying weekend of car problems, including a turbo boost issue which blunted his pace. He is hoping for better at Thruxton: "I think we've got to the bottom of our engine problems; we will be giving it a run on the dyno before the meeting, and hopefully it will back to full health. We had good pace at Thruxton last year and the Toyota has felt absolutely mega so far this season. We just need everything to come together, a bit of luck on our side, and I am sure the results will flow."
Frank holds 11th place overall in the BTCC drivers championship and is seventh in the Independents Trophy. Dynojet Racing is eighth among the teams and ninth in the Independent Teams Trophy.
The Dynojet Racing team is backed by Mac Tools, FUCHS Titan Race, Toyota Material Handling, Klenzan, Dyno Drive, Angel Springs, K&N and Graphix.
Racefile: Thruxton, rounds 7, 8 & 9
Saturday 4 May: practice 1000 & 1240, qualifying 1525
Sunday 5 May: pit lane walkabout 0945; race 1 1200, race 2 1430, race 3 1715