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News 2008: Challenging Weekend for Motorbase at Thruxton

Steven KaneIt was a testing weekend for Motorbase Performance at Thruxton (17/18 May) in rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship. While Steven Kane and Rob Collard chalked up six finishes from six starts, the pace wasn't quite there for a typically hard-fought BTCC meeting at the notoriously challenging Hampshire track.

Rob CollardThruxton is a unique track, typified by sweeping high-speed corners on a bumpy track and it is a circuit that puts tyres under tremendous pressure, particularly when ambient temperatures are high. In addition, drastic limitations on the amount of testing that can be done meant that Motorbase boss David Bartrum always knew that this was going to be a tricky weekend as the team continues to learn about the pair of BMW 320sis.

"Thruxton presents a unique set of problems and the fact that we were not able to test there meant it was always going to be a challenging weekend," said Bartrum.

That uphill battle became apparent in qualifying, when Kane was 14th fastest and Collard 16th fastest at his home track. However, the challenge facing all the BMW teams was made obvious when Kane qualified directly behind the BMWs of Mat Jackson and Stephen Jelley.

Steven Kane & Rob CollardThrough race day, both drivers raced hard and ninth place for Kane and eleventh place for Collard in the final race were the best of the results. "The other BMW teams also had a tough weekend, but they managed to make a little more progress than we did," said Bartrum. "But at a place like Thruxton, even the smallest of changes can make a huge difference to the car's pace and our lack of previous experience with this car at this track certainly hurt us."

Rob CollardHowever, Bartrum was pleased to have come through the weekend with a 100% finishing record and without any damage to the cars. "We are still only four races old with this project and Croft and Snetterton – the tracks that are coming up next – should suit us better. We want to be in the top 10 at Croft and I believe that is a realistic target."

The Motorbase team now has less than two weeks to prepare for the next three BTCC races, at Croft in North Yorkshire on 31/1 June. But, importantly, after Croft the BTCC has a six-week mid-season break before the action resumes at Snetterton on 12/13 July. "We're planning to do some proper testing during the June break," said Bartrum.