Tom Onslow-Cole admitted he was delighted to secure a return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium on only his third outing in the all-new Team HARD. Volkswagen Passat.
The former Team Aon and eBay Motors driver surprised many with his switch to Tony Gilham's team over the winter, and didn't get chance to sample his new car until the season opener at Brands Hatch in late March – when the new car hit the track for the first time.
Having made solid progress through the opening two meetings of the campaign, Onslow-Cole went into the weekend in confident mood and secured a place on the fourth row of the grid in qualifying at the fastest circuit on the calendar.
A strong run in race one saw him move up to fourth spot before a final lap puncture for Andy Jordan allowed him to secure a first podium finish for the PPCGB.com/Kraftwerk Racing squad.
Better was to come in race two as Onslow-Cole battled ahead of the MG of Jason Plato to secure second place while he came close to a triple podium in race three – being the first non-Honda home in fourth place.
It means he has now jumped up to ninth in the championship standings with confidence high for the remainder of the season as further improvements are made to the new Passat, which is still some way from running as its minimum base weight,
"It was an amazing weekend – some of it was expected, some of it not so," he said. "We knew from Donington Park two weeks ago that we were strong in the fast corners – and there are plenty of those at Thruxton – but we have also done lots of work to the car to make it even stronger.
"For me as a driver, the best result was in the second race. I inherited a podium in race one when someone else dropped out but in race two the car was great and overtaking Plato is never easy. We had made changes to the car that really worked and I was over the moon. It was hard fought but I felt like I was 'back in the room'. I was among the guys I should be racing with.
"I think we have loads more to come from the car, which is fantastic. We have gone through a lot of major breakthroughs and now we can start to drill down into the little tweaks that really make a difference. Everyone around the programme is really positive – it's just a shame that we have to wait five weeks to get back out there again!"