Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport brought the curtain down on a fine Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season with three top six finishes on Finals Day at Brands Hatch – sending the Honda Integra into retirement in style.
A battling drive in the opening race of the weekend saw Paul O'Neill take the chequered flag in sixth place and from the same position at the start of race two, he jumped up to fourth on the opening lap – holding position through to the flag.
The reverse grid draw saw O'Neill start fourth for the final race of the year and he held his place through the opening lap before the Safety Car was deployed after Lea Wood pulled off with mechanical issues.
O'Neill was overtaken by the BMW of Rob Collard
while yellow flags were being displayed and then slipped to sixth when Mat Jackson
was able to find a gap on the inside exiting the final corner on lap twelve.
However, in the closing stages of the race, O'Neill found himself going three-wide with Collard and Jackson into Paddock Hill Bend, with the end result being that he got back ahead of Collard to take the flag in fifth.
“We've really pushed against the big boys this season and we've had a really good finish to the year,” he said. “The results this weekend have been like three wins compared to Donington Park and the whole team can be proud of the way we've performed.
“Looking back at the season, Donington is probably the one race weekend where we can say we didn't have at least one good result, and that isn't something you can say often at the end of a season. We can go home this weekend with our heads held high and know that we have done a great job.
“To have given some of the teams on this grid a real run for their money with one of the oldest cars on the grid speaks volumes for how well Tech-Speed have worked. Anyone can get into the top ten with a good car, but it takes a great team to be able to fight for podium finishes.”
Although he was unable to score points, team-mate John George
enjoyed an encouraging end to a season he feels is the best he has had to date in the BTCC.
Having been boxed in at the start of race one, George lost positions before battling his way through to 19th place at the finish before he claimed a solid 14th in race two; having battled on track with the works Chevrolet of Alex MacDowall in the early stages. George then matched the result in race three to bring the curtain down on his first year with the team.
“I haven't really had the luck this season but I am happy to have shown good speed throughout the year,” he said. “This has been easily the most competitive year I've ever had in the BTCC, even if that might not be reflected in my points tally at the end of it. I've had a lot more confidence in the car and the fact I've been able to have a team-mate like Paul to pull me along has been a huge help.”