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News 2006: Pinkney Plays Catch-Up at Donington

Dave Pinkney's Donington Park weekend in the 2006 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship was one to put down to experience.

Dave PinkneyAn intermittent misfire in his Nuts-backed Motorbase Performance Honda Integra during Saturday's two free practice sessions – the time available for teams and drivers to find the correct set-up for the circuit - caused havoc with his preparation for Sunday's three races.

When it was eventually cured, Pinkney had managed to complete just 18 laps in the 80 available minutes of free practice (with most of his rivals doing at least double that) – giving him no chance of challenging for a decent grid position.

Despite those woes, Pinkney qualified 11th for Round 16 and, if his gearbox had not had a mind of its own, he would have finished higher than the 11th place finish he recorded.

He said: "It was incredibly frustrating because we went out in both the free practice sessions and didn't get anything done we expected to because the engine would just cut out. It just left us playing catch up which was very annoying.

Dave Pinkney"We were doing the times in qualifying that other guys were doing in the first free practice session. Then in the first race the gearbox was doing its own thing – I would change down to fourth and it would go into sixth which meant any time I'd made up on anyone was nullified in one corner.

"By the third race on Sunday the car was awesome and we were going quicker than the likes of Mike Jordan, Gavin Smith and Tom Chilton. Had that race stayed dry I think we could have done something. But we should have been like that in all three races – we just spent all day catching up!"

Round 17, the second of the day's three races, ended prematurely for Pinkney when he went off at the Old Hairpin after being caught out by some oil. But that put him at the back of the grid for Round 18 where he went on to finish 9 th, giving him the honour of being Dunlop's Most Improved Independent Driver (as he gained 9 places from his start positions in the day) – a title that carries a prize of four free tyres for the next BTCC outing (at Snetterton, Norfolk, on August 12th and 13th).