David Bartrum's Blog
Post Oulton Park, 4 June 2009
On the Monday after Donington we did our usual strip down on the cars and looked at the damage, which wasn't too bad. Jonny' Adams car had a bit of damage and Rob Collard's needed two bumpers. Michael Caine's Porsche had a bit of damage, but we wanted to go up to a test at Oulton Park on the Wednesday with the Carrera Cup cars.
Then we had a phone call on the Thursday from a previous Carrera Cup driver, Michael Corridan, expressing an interest in doing the Oulton races. So a deal was struck, as we needed a new electrical supply to the building and his company is now supplying a 57-metre trench.
We actually managed to get the Bank Holiday off, which was quite nice. But in this business, it gets to the point that when you do stop, you feel guilty. It's not like 9-5; you live it. Every member of the team lives this job.
Anthony Waller put a quarter panel and a sill into Michaels' Porsche, which was a lot of work in the time given. But he got it painted and done by Saturday, so the boys could put it all together and finish it on Tuesday. So his work on Saturday was gratefully acknowledged.
The reason I got out of doing it with him was that I had to go to Lydden for a day's testing with one of our future Carrera Cup racers. 'Grump' and Richard Townsend were drafted in for the day's testing at Lydden with Steve Parish. He completed 183 laps of Lydden and I was giddy just watching him.
Steve's done quite a lot of test days in the Porsche and he's got a licence, so he's now on a mission to get signatures. He's doing two races at Lydden this Saturday (6 June), then going straight up to Silverstone for the Sunday for two races and then two more meetings later in the month. The aim for this weekend is four signatures. We'd like to get him in to two or three Carrera Cup rounds before the end of the season. He's a good driver and he's more than capable; he's been a great help to the team behind the scenes.
So it's been a busy couple of weeks following Donington. We also had a TOCA meeting on the Thursday after Donington; which was a routine team managers' meeting at the MSA with Mr Gow. That's always a pleasure and never a chore. He does a very nice sandwich. But they took the mickey out of my suit; Steve Neal thought that was very funny. I had another meeting to go to in London, so I'd put a suit on for the real customers.
Then we went to Oulton Park, which was one of my favourite tracks as driver, when I was younger, thinner and faster. In the Carrera Cup, it was a shame we didn't get to go for a result in the first race for Michael Caine. But young Ollie Jackson is progressing very well and getting better and better, with two podiums at Oulton. It shows that all the work he has been doing with his engineers is starting to bring dividends.
Ollie was nearly late getting to Oulton Park on Friday morning. He bought a Mitsubishi Evo from Andy Britnell, which proceeded to pack up on the A14. Ollie believes there is a life-time guarantee with the vehicle, no matter what it goes through. The fact that it was on a track day at Rockingham recently has got nothing whatsoever to do with it!
It was a very good weekend for Ollie, but for Michael Caine it really dented our championship hopes and leaves us on the back foot against the on-form Tim Bridgman. Then there was the return of the great Michael Corridan, who got us our best Porsche podium result of the weekend with second in pro-am2 in the second race!
In the BTCC, Jonny was very good in qualifying, but Rob struggled a bit with a tyre in-balance. We found that the circuit was changing all the time, and the Porsches set some incredible times early on Saturday morning.
Jonny really started to show his true pace and his podium in the first race was a very, very good result. It shows that he's learning the car and we shouldn't under-estimate what he's achieved. We did some practice starts with him on Thursday, but it still didn't go quite right.
Rob had a solid first race, but went out of the second race with propshaft failure, which left him at the back of the grid for race three. To get through to fourth was an absolutely magnificent drive. He raced bumper-to-bumper with all the big names and didn't touch any of them. I don't think there has been a better touring car drive for some time and it was high praise for Rob that Tim Harvey said it was that good. I think Rob is driving better than he ever has in the touring car career and he's very much at home in our team. We have a very high regard for him and we have faith in him. I think Rob's an absolute star. He's on his game and showing everyone what he's really capable of. I think he's a championship contender.
The only contact that Rob had was an incident with Andrew Jordan in the first race, which led to a regrettable incident when Andrew came for a cup of tea after the race and brought his dad with him.
However, it was a very positive weekend and as a team we delivered in all areas. I'm really looking forward to Croft now, as well as the chance for a holiday during the summer break. But we'll go and do some testing as well.