SOLIHULL’s Stewart Lines came back from a first race shunt at Oulton Park to take two top 20 finishes in the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship, reports Peter Scherer.
The two free practice sessions had gone well and positive changes had been made with the Houseman Racing Toyota Avensis, but qualifying did not fulfil the anticipated progress.
“We had sorted the set up and suspension and felt Ok,” said Lines.
“We were 25th and made a hash of it. I went quicker but didn’t get the position I hoped for.”
Having made a couple of places on the opening lap of race one he soon progressed further taking Martin’s Focus and latching onto Welch’s Proton, who was at the rear of train of cars.
“I just couldn’t get passed Welch, he defended really hard. But that brought Martin right onto my exhaust pipe,” he explained.
The group ahead had started to get away as Lines had to defend from Martin.
“Out of Deer Leap he tapped me sideways. I kept my foot in and he hit me again which sent me into the end of the pitwall.
“It was a relief when I hit the soft padding and not the wall, lucky really,” he concluded.
With the damage repaired and a start from 12th row of the grid for race two, Lines was challenging Martin again from the off.
“I was with Martin and Welch again and had good pace. Overall my race pace improved a lot, but I couldn’t get by and saw the others get away,” he explained after taking 19th on the final lap.
For the final race of the weekend Lines had to take the soft tyre option and for a while all was well.
“It felt fine for seven laps and I even held off Morgan and Newsham for about four laps. But in my defence I nearly lost it and it just felt like I had four punctures,” he added.
But having surrendered to both Morgan and Newsham it became a quest to finish the race, with no pressure from behind and recorded 20th place at the flag.