Burns hints at BTCC Potential with battling Donington display
PUBLISHED: 14:15 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:15 21 April 2017
Will Burns continues to improve in his first season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Will Burns gave the biggest indication yet of his potential in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with a storming drive through the field in the second race at Donington Park, but once again saw luck desert him during a challenging second meeting of the season.
A podium finisher at the Leicestershire circuit in each of the last two seasons in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, Burns was keen to put a difficult championship debut at Brands Hatch behind him and move up the grid in his Auto Aid/RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC.
After gearbox issues in Saturday’s opening free practice session left him unable to set a representative time, the Weston racer lapped just a second shy of the outright pace in the second session, a performance he would replicate in qualifying.
A fastest lap time of 1.10.427 put him 26th on the timesheets, however two post-session exclusions promoted the Cases Ltd, Eurocams and Weston College supported racer to 24th, a big improvement on his performance from the opening weekend.
Burns would kick off the first race on Sunday in positive fashion as he moved up to 23rd, but any hopes of making more progress were ended soon after when big contact to his rear sent him spinning around at the Old Hairpin, dropping him to a distant last position.
The 26-year-old would showcase his strong pace over the remainder of the race though, producing competitive lap times as he closed down the gap to the car in front by over 10 seconds on his way to taking the chequered flag in 22nd place.
There would be lots more to be positive about in the second encounter, with Burns bouncing back from slipping to 24th early on by producing a tremendous drive through the field, highlighting his racecraft as he picked his way through the frenetic midfield battles.
Burns would overtake both his team-mates as he climbed to a fantastic 16th position, just one place shy of the points. However, contact heading out of the final corner two laps from the end would cruelly knock out his rear tracking, leaving him to nurse his damaged car home an undeserved 27th.
It would go from bad to worse in the final race however, which was started under torrential rainfall that caused multiple cars to aquaplane off circuit. Burns was powerless to prevent himself sliding into another car, breaking his steering rack and forcing him into an early retirement.
Team HARD are now in a race against time to get his car repaired in time to take part in the official TOCA test at Thruxton on today (Thursday), ahead of rounds seven, eight and nine of the 2017 BTCC season at the high-speed Hampshire circuit next month (May 6-7).
Will said: “I’m coming out of this weekend with a lot more confidence, as in race two I was battling with some of the best touring car drivers on the grid, and I was competing wheel-to-wheel with my team-mates for the first time this season.
“To do all this on only my second weekend in the championship is something I’m pretty happy with. There iss loads more to come from the car and more to come from me. I’m new to this and I’m improving each session we go out.”
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