|Chris James (Left) congratulates David Newsham|
Luton-based Team ES Racing made a strong start to their 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign on a rollercoaster weekend which saw the small team take their first Pole position, point’s finishes and podium at Brands Hatch in Kent.
Dave Newsham put in an impressive performance on the Saturday to take pole position, the first for both him and the team. Talking after the session he admitted “It’s kind of surreal really!” Team-mate and team principal Chris James suffered handling problems throughout the day which left him down the grid in 18th place.
With Newsham lined up on pole position the new season looked set to be a promising one, unfortunately despite a strong performance which saw the Inverness driver battle it out with past champions Matt Neal and Jason Plato this ended as the latter nudged Newsham in to the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend. Chris James would bring home his Vectra in 15th place to take the first ever points finish for the team.
Race two would prove just as eventful as Newsham fought his way from the back of the grid twice, once after starting the race from 18th and then dropping to last place following pitstops. A spirited drive saw him fight his way up in to the points and take ninth place as James was forced to retire from the race with a broken rear suspension arm.
After narrowly missing out on the reverse grid pole position (top eight positions reversed for the start.) Newsham pushed hard from the start of the race but it wouldn’t be long before a red flag stopped the race after seven cars slid off track at Druids bend following an oil leak from Mat Jackson.
Team ES would line up in sixth and eleventh place for the reformed grid. As battle commenced once again Newsham got stuck in with Plato, Jordan, Austin, and Collard. As Plato pushed his way to the front Newsham kept a steady pace briefly dropping a place back to fifth before making it up on lap 11. Three laps later and the bright yellow Vectra jumped in to the final podium place where it would remain until the finish, marking the best result for both the team and Newshams’ year-old BTCC careers. Chris James put in a strong performance to fend off the advances of Frank Wrathall and Andy Neate to secure more points and twelfth position.
Team Principal Chris James things up: “The weekend has been mega, little old Team ES with all the doubters have shown we can do as we said preseason and challenge for podiums and victories. It’s a shame Dave’s race ended in the gravel trap as it could have been a hat trick of podiums for the team.”
“At the end of the day we’ve proved the naysayers wrong saying that we haven’t got the capabilities of man power and finished on the podium against much stronger competition with bigger more experienced teams.”
A delighted Dave Newsham added “First podium is a great feeling; I’m loving driving the car at the moment. A great result from a tough weekend, I can’t wait to get back out in the car at Donington Park now!”
You can follow the team on twitter at @teamESracing, Chris James directly at @ChrisJamesBTCC and Dave Newsham at @newshamracing. The team are also on facebook at www.facebook.com/teamESracing.