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Airwaves BMW Secure Sixth Row Spots at Thruxton

Airwaves BMW

April 25th 2009

HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship
Thruxton (Rounds 5/6/7)
Update after Qualifying
April 25th, 2009

Airwaves BMW drivers Rob Collard and Jonny Adam narrowly missed out on making the top-ten on the grid after a tough battle in qualifying at Thruxton.

Rob Collard at ThruxtonWith the Hampshire circuit's characteristics making it difficult to get the best out of the rear-wheel-drive BMW 320si, both Airwaves drivers did well to put their cars alongside each other on the sixth row.  Adam will start from 11th position for the first race on Sunday, while team-mate and local hero Collard will start 12th.

Despite heavy rain overnight the asphalt of Hampshire track was drying out quickly as the cars rolled out for the first free practice of the day in bright sunshine.  Airwaves BMW duo Adam and Collard recorded the seventh and eighth-fastest times respectively in that session, however the second free practice period was disrupted after only a few minutes by an accident involving Team RAC driver Stephen Jelley and Vauxhall works pilot Fabrizio Giovanardi - which saw the red flag come out and enforce a ten-minute delay.  Once the action resumed Airwaves BMW's Rob Collard post an excellent fourth-quickest time, while team-mate Jonny Adam was 11th as he experimented with setup changes.

Following free practice both Adam and Collard were looking to push hard in qualifying and claim top-ten starting berths for raceday.  However, the Thruxton circuit is known to favour front-wheel-drive race cars and the Airwaves BMW duo couldn't unlock the challenging 2.36 mile high-speed layout – in the end settling for well-placed midfield spots on the grid.  With the Chevrolet of Matt Jackson and the SEAT of Dan Eaves firmly in their sights in the row ahead, Adam and Collard will try to use the lightning starting power of the BMW 320si to pick up places when the flag drops on Sunday and follow up their podium successes at the first round of the season by securing strong top-ten finishes for Airwaves BMW.

All three races from Thruxton will be shown live on ITV4 between 11.30am-6.00pm on Sunday.

Airwaves BMW Team Principal David Bartrum said:
"We knew this would be a much tougher round for us than the opener at Brands, we've never really cracked it here.  It was always going to be difficult to match the front-wheel-drive cars in qualifying, but I'm confident Jonny and Rob will be able to take it to the guys in front of them and make up plenty of places in race one tomorrow.  If we look after our tyres and stay out of trouble the race will come to us and we can score well."

Airwaves BMW Team driver Rob Collard said:
"I'm a little bit frustrated because I clocked some good times in free practice this morning but didn't manage to carry that into qualifying.  We knew the car wouldn't be that quick here but I thought we could sneak into the top ten on the grid for the first race.  We'll work hard tonight to improve the setup and I think we will still be strong in race trim tomorrow.  This is my home race so I will be fighting really hard to put on a show for all the people coming to support me."

Airwaves BMW Team driver Jonny Adam said:
"That was quite hard work, we just didn't get the best balance in the car.  We knew the front-wheel-drive cars would have a big advantage over us here at Thruxton, but I was confident I could make it into the top eight in qualifying.  It's a little bit disappointing not to have done that but we're not far away when you look at the times.  If we get a good start tomorrow I'm sure we will be right up there challenging."

Qualifying Classification

1. Fabrizio Giovanardi, VX Racing-Vauxhall Vectra, 1m17.985
2. Matt Neal, VX Racing-Vauxhall Vectra, +0.320
3. Jason Plato, Racing Silverline-Chevrolet Lacetti, +0.341s
4. Andrew Jordan, VX Racing-Vauxhall Vectra, +0.369s
5. Colin Turkington, Team RAC-BMW 320si, +0.422s
6. Paul O'Neil, Integra, +723s
7. Adam Jones, Cartridge World Carbon Zero Racing-SEAT Leon, +0.845s
8. James Thompson, Team Dynamics-Honda Civic, +0.931s
9. Dan Eaves, Cartridge World Carbon Zero Racing-SEAT Leon, +0.967s
10. Mat Jackson, RML-Chevrolet Lacetti, +1.033s
11. Jonathan Adam, Airwaves BMW-BMW 320si, +1.106s
12. Rob Collard, Airwaves BMW-BMW 320si, +1.401s