There were signs of improvements for the MG RCIB Insurance Racing team at Donington Park in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), yet several incidents cost the team the points they arguably deserved.
The best possible chance of decent points came in an action-packed, wet race three with Daniel Lloyd soaring through the pack, but pushing hard proved costly as he ran wide and into the gravel.
Rain had threatened to disrupt proceedings all day, but it didn't appear until the final race. With a red flag on the opening lap, where several cars were unable to maintain control in the treacherous conditions, there was then a delay to wait for conditions to improve. Following the anticipated restart, there was then a safety car period as more cars struggled for grip.
The MGs showed great pace when the race finally got under way, cutting through the field from 18th and 21st on the grid to reach the top ten at the midway point. Lloyd had overtaken teammate, Árón Taylor-Smith, and was pushing hard for a solid points finish. But still in difficult conditions, and chasing sixth place, the Yorkshireman ran wide, was unable to hold control and ended up in the gravel. As a wet track turned slippery, the challenge for Taylor-Smith was to bring the car home safely, which he did in tenth place.
The frustrations of race three was pretty much how the day started too. Following battling performances on their way to qualifying positions of P11 and P15, the first race ended in disaster.
Steady progress early on saw both drivers make inroads. With the race seeming to be going to plan, and the pair pushing for top ten finishes nearing the midway point, Lloyd was making real tracks - lap times were consistently falling as his car seemed to come alive before moving passed his teammate into tenth place.
However, the race turned sour on lap 13 as contact on Lloyd's car caused a further collision between the two MGs sending Lloyd out of the race and Taylor-Smith back to the pits. The Irishman managed to rejoin the action and crossed the line in 24th, while Lloyd ended up in the barriers and was classified in P25.
The team did superbly to get both cars onto the grid for race two. A decent start saw Taylor-Smith reach a high of 17th before losing pace on the soft tyre. Despite both drivers falling back during the middle section of the race, the pair managed to gain more places late on with Taylor-Smith coming home in 18th with Lloyd slightly further down the road in 21st.
The BTCC moves to Hampshire in three weeks for the Thruxton rounds on 6/7 May.
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