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News 2007: Tough weekend on Home Turf for Motorbase Performance

Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Brands Hatch

Matt Allison'Troubled' is something of an understatement when it comes to describing Motorbase Performance's weekend at Brands Hatch. Three heavy crashes punctuated another bruising meeting for Matt Allison and Tom Ferrier as the team entertained a bumper home crowd.

Two heavily damaged SEAT Toledos made the short journey back to the team's Wrotham base on Sunday evening after both drivers endured a trying weekend. The short Brands Hatch Indy circuit is renowned for its close racing, but throw 24 touring cars and some inclement weather into the mix and it becomes spectacular.

It all went wrong for Matt Allison in qualifying when the Norwich driver ended up in the gravel trap at the bottom of Paddock Hill Bend after a high-speed collision with John George's Honda Integra.

"I was following Mat Jackson and John let him through on the pits straight. I thought he'd gone out wide at Paddock to let me through on the inside. I went for the gap, but he turned across me on the line and we hit."

Matt AllisonDespite Allison's qualifying mishap, he started Sunday's first race from 14th on the grid. He managed to successfully negotiate an opening-lap melee in the rain which wiped out half the field, going on to finish in ninth position.

Tom Ferrier's race weekend was over almost before it had begun. After qualifying 13th, he was not quite so lucky on the opening lap of the first race. Eleven cars were involved in a huge pile-up that started when Mat Jackson lost control of his BMW in the first corner. Ferrier's SEAT was left with heavy front-end damage, which put him out of action for the remainder of the weekend.

Ninth on the grid for race two, Allison had hopes of a strong performance. However there was yet more misfortune to come. Restarting after a safety car period on a still-damp track, a spin put Allison into the tyre barrier and out of the race.

It was another heavy impact for the Toledo and it would have been easy to head for home at this point, but the Motorbase Performance crew worked their magic with a sledgehammer to straighten out the battered chassis. Amazingly the car made it to the grid for the final race of the day.

Matt Allison commented, "It's been another mixed bag; another chapter in our touring car adventure. We just need to have a good race two, have our name pulled out of the bag somewhere up the front for the reverse grid and I think that we're much closer to running competitively at the front.

"I went from ninth to sixth at the start of race two but during the safety car period the temperature of my front tyres dropped and I understeered slightly wide at paddock at the restart, dropping a rear tyre onto the painted kerb, which sent me into a violent spin. I was a passenger from there really. It's a real shame as it's the first time this year I have made a mistake and thrown the car off by myself. They were very tricky conditions though! Once again, Motorbase have proved themselves to be absolutely magic at fixing the cars. It's that 'never say die' attitude."

Tom FerrierMotorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum said, "Our luck just doesn't change. Matt had a big accident in qualifying and the boys were up all night fixing the car from that one. Then Tom got caught up in the chaos in the first race and that was the end of his weekend. Matt's car was wrecked again in race two but we managed to get it out again for the third race. You just can't plan for damage like this.

"The extent of the damage is such that we won't be going to Knockhill for the next rounds. Both cars need a lot of work, so we will completely rebuild them in time for the final meeting of the season and hope that we can go out on a high."

The Motorbase Performance team's next outing in the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be at the season finale at Thruxton, Hampshire on 13th/14th October.

Race results (provisional)

Round 22
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall Vectra)
2. Jason Plato (SEAT Leon)
3. Darren Turner (SEAT Leon)
4. Colin Turkington (BMW 320si E90)
5. Tom Onslow-Cole (BMW 320si E90)
9. Matt Allison (SEAT Toledo Cupra)
DNF Tom Ferrier (SEAT Toledo Cupra)

Round 23
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall Vectra)
2. Jason Plato (SEAT Leon)
3. Gordon Shedden (Honda Civic)
4. Mat Jackson (BMW 320si E90)
5. Mike Jordan (Honda Integra)
DNF Matt Allison (SEAT Toledo Cupra)
DNS Tom Ferrier (SEAT Toledo Cupra)

Round 24
1. Colin Turkington (BMW 320si E90)
2. Gordon Shedden (Honda Civic)
3. Mat Jackson (BMW 320si E90)
4. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall Vectra)
5. Jason Plato (SEAT Leon)
12. Matt Allison (SEAT Toledo Cupra)
DNS Tom Ferrier (SEAT Toledo Cupra)

All images courtesy of Peter Still Photographic