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News 2006: British Touring Cars - The First Part of the Season

It has been an eventful return to touring cars for the most colourful man in British Motorsport....

Dave PinkneyAfter four meetings and 12 rounds of the 2006 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Motorbase Performance's Dave Pinkney has thrilled with his speed at the UK's fastest circuit, coming oh-so-close to a podium finish, and showed his mastery behind the wheel at the most technical track on the calendar.

Not bad for Motorbase's first foray into the country's premier motor racing series and considering Pinkney's 13-year absence from the cut and crash and thrust and bang of a full season of top level tintop racing.

Dave PinkneyThough at the start of the year at the team's home event – Brands Hatch in Kent – Dave's debut in the Honda Integra (a Team Dynamics title winning machine from 2005) didn't go to plan. His challenge ended before it started when the car developed a mechanical problem on the grid. But, despite suffering from flu, the Harpenden-based driver fought back from his back-of-the-grid position (due to his non-start in Round 1) to record tenth place in Round 2 and eighth in Round 3.

Dave Pinkney"If someone had offered me before we got Brands Hatch two top ten finishes in a car I'd never raced before I'd have bitten their hand off," said Dave. "It was a real shame we didn't make the first race, but that's motor racing for you…sometimes things happen like that. But with the calibre of drivers at the sharp end of this championship's grid, such as Matt Neal, Jason Plato, James Thompson, Fabrizio Giovanardi, to get into the top ten is a good result."

Dave raced at Brands with the Integra still set to Neal's preferences so his challenge at the next event, the tight, twisty, technical Mondello Park in Ireland, was to find the right set-up. Fifth on the track (later promoted to fourth following Gordon Shedden's exclusion by the Championship's officials) in Round 5 showed Motorbase's team bosses that he had got more comfortable with the car and his rivals that would be a force to contend with as the season continued.

Dave PinkneySaid Dave: "We made a big step forward at Mondello. I was happier in the car, I wasn't sneezing as much for a start off, and it's a track where you have to use your experience and know-how! Bizarrely for touring cars, I like to drive cleanly and not throw the car about as if it's a toy and smooth driving round there helps."

Two more top ten finishes at Cheshire's Oulton Park in May kept Dave in the thick of things, but it was his performance at Britain's fastest circuit, Thruxton in Hampshire, in early June, that was the highlight of the season.

Dave PinkneyCertainly noticeable on ITV1's live coverage of the BTCC this year anyway, Motorbase's pink and black Integra hogged the limelight in Round 11. After suffering a non-finish in Round 10 – due to being rudely removed from the track by Giovanardi's Astra while trying to follow SEAT's Darren Turner (who went on to finish third!) past the Italian at the chicane – Dave was forced to start 15th.

But, with the bit between his teeth, he certainly wasn't going to finish 15th and, in the drive of the day with a performance that earned him a set of extra tyres from Dunlop (as he overtook more cars than any other Independent driver), he came home fourth, set the race's fastest lap and was only a bumper's width behind third-placed Robert Collard's MG.

Dave Pinkney"I was catching Rob hand over fist in the closing stages and I reckon two more laps and I'd have been on that podium," he said. "It was a fantastic race and a fantastic result for Motorbase especially after what happened in the first race of the day. I was faster than Turner in that first race and if I hadn't been hit I reckon I would have got past the SEAT and maybe gone on to take second, third definitely!"

His hard-fought fourth place, coupled with fifth in Round 12, was the perfect way to enter the BTCC's World Cup-enforced six-week break…..Dave and Motorbase will return to action at North Yorkshire's Croft circuit on July 16 with the knowledge that they can compete at the front end of the grid and with the intention of collecting a few podium finishes as the season progresses.

BTCC Results - First 12 Rounds

Venue Round Grid Result Overall Points _ Position /
Independents Points _
Position (after third race at
each event)
Brands Hatch 1 11 - Q DNF
4 _ 13 th / 16 _ 5th
2 16 10
3 10 8
Mondello Park 4 10 - Q 13
13 _ 10 th / 35 _ 4th
5 13 4
6 5 10
Oulton Park 7 9 - Q 10
17 _ 12 th / 47 _ 6th
8 10 8
9 8 DNF


10 11 - Q DNF
32 _ 12 th / 63 _ 7th
11 15 4
12 4 5