Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport endured a frustrating weekend as the second half of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season kicked off at Snetterton.
Both Paul O'Neill and John George
found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time when they were caught up in an accident in race two, but rewarded the team for the work it put in to repair their cars with a fine performance in the final race of the weekend.
O'Neill had qualified eighth on the grid after a challenging qualifying session in wet conditions but struggled with the balance of his car in the opening race and finished just outside the points in eleventh place.
The former Vauxhall driver had hoped to make up places in the second race but was the caught up in an incident involving James Nash and Tom Boardman exiting the Esses which saw Boardman spin back across the circuit at the Bombhole – right into O'Neill's path.
The resultant damage put him out on the spot and left the team with plenty of work to do to get his Honda Integra out for the final race. With his car repaired, O'Neill took his place at the back of the field but stormed up the order to finish eighth and reward the team with a points finish
“That is probably the best eighth place finish we'll get this season,” he said. “We were out of position after qualifying when we were eighth quickest and then we had an issue with the balance on the car in race one. The second race was unfortunate but the guys did an outstanding job again to get both cars out for the final race. To come back with eighth was good and it was great to have John running so well behind me; he could have passed me at one point. It's not what we were hoping for from the weekend but the final race was good reward for the team.”
Team-mate George qualified 16th on the grid but continued his strong performances on race day to climb up to twelfth place in the opening race before he was also caught up in the incident involving Nash and Boardman at the start of race two.
Having taken to the grass on the outside of the Bombhole in an attempt to avoid Boardman's car, he was unlucky to be clipped on the right rear of his car which ripped a wheel from the Honda and left him to crawl slowly back to the pits.
Again, the Tech-Speed team worked miracles to repair the damaged car and allow George to take his place at the back of the grid for race three and he produced one of his strongest drives of the year as he followed O'Neill up the order and took the flag just outside the points in twelfth.
“The last race was brilliant and we had great pace, which was amazing considering the damage that there was to the car after race two,” he said. “I really thought I was going to avoid Boardman when he was spinning and then he caught me on the rear and ripped the wheel off.
“To be honest with you, I didn't think we'd get out again after that, never mind with a car as good as it was. I was able to follow Paul and got to fight with Alex MacDowall and Tom Boardman for position, so it was a good way to end the weekend.”