Hornchurch racer Thompson helped GKR to secure double points finish at Donington
- Credit: Archant
Hornchurch driver Bobby Thompson helped GKR to a double points finish at Donington Park as the new Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship kicked off.
The award-winning Essex-based motor dealership headed into the first round of the campaign hoping to impress with a new look pairing of Thompson and James Gornall at the wheel of its Audi S3s.
Thompson, 24, started his weekend in solid fashion during Saturday’s two free practice sessions, putting the #19 Audi into the top 10 in FP2 before qualifying 17th fastest after a session that was affected by mixed conditions on track, and a red flag that struck as the circuit was arguably as its best.
Gornall made solid progress on Saturday, improving on his fastest lap by half a second between practice and qualifying to line up in 19th spot for race one; putting him in the mix for race points.
With rain in the air on Sunday, the pair lined up on the grid for the opening race and would run side-by-side on the run down to turn one, with Gornall getting ahead to leave the duo in 17th and 18th spot.
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They battled in the following laps and charged forward to sit just outside the top 10 when a safety car was deployed.
After the restart, Thompson put the Honda of Tom Chilton under huge pressure before being forced to settle for 11th spot although there was late disappointment for Gornall as he suffered an engine issue and retired to the pits.
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Despite the best efforts of the team to change the engine on his car, he would be forced to sit out the second race.
And although Thompson would run inside the points scoring positions for much of the race, a lack of straightline speed hampered his challenge and he crossed in 17th place.
In the final race, Thompson finished 15th and Gornall 16th, leaving Thompson ninth in the series and Gornall 16th, with GKR TradePriceCars.com eighth in the Independents’ Teams’ Championship.
Thompson said: “We’ve managed to score points in two races which is good, although we struggled a little with straight line speed on race day which is something to look at.
“Aside from that, the car itself has been mega and the GKR TradePriceCars.com guys have done a fantastic job – I can’t fault them at all.
“We just need to work out why we lost some of that straight line performance but this is a decent starting point and something to build on.”