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Ups and downs for Lea Wood in MSA Dunlop British Touring Car Championship
LEA Wood experienced all of the ups and downs of motor sport in full measure in a thrilling day’s MSA Dunlop British Touring Car Championship racing at Silverstone.
An excellent drive to work through the field for a ninth-place finish in race one was followed by mechanical problems in race two and then a shunt in race three, both of which cost valuable time and resulted in two 16th places.
A good practice session on Saturday had left Wood in 18th place on the grid for the first race.
“We were quite happy with that as we were only 0.9 seconds off pole position,” said the 28-year-old. “It was all very tight.”
Wood made a good start to the first race and, also benefiting from retirements ahead, worked his way through the field.
His duel with one of the championship favourites Gordon Shedden endured for several laps before the Honda driver was eventually able to pull away.
But, considering his place on the grid, Wood, who had sat out the last round of racing at Rockingham, and his Binz Racing team were delighted with the top-10 finish.
Consequently, his start from ninth on the grid in the second race pointed to even better things ahead.
And, after another good start, things were looking good for the Herefordshire driver. However, midway through the race, things were evidently not going right as Wood was losing position on each lap that went by.
The problem, eventually revealed as caused by the diff, prompted steering difficulties and led to the finish well down the field.
The problem was fixed in plenty of time for the third race and Wood again got away well to prompt hopes of another good finish.
However, a coming together with the Droitwich-Spa based Honda driver Matt Neal, another of the championship favourites, proved his downfall.
Both left the track with Neal unable to continue.
Wood, however, who was later handed a £500 fine and a three-point penalty on his Championship licence for his part in the incident, was able to resume and had picked off a couple of the back markers in the time available to him to finish, again, in 16th place.
The race was won by Jason Plato who had driven a remarkable race to work through from 20th on the grid to be a clear winner.
Plato had also won the first race and had been in the lead in the second before a breakdown allowed Mat Jackson to come through to take the chequered flag in first position.
“It has been a bit of an up and down day,” said Wood.
“The last race had been pretty good as the car felt strong. The second race was a bit of a shambles, the car just did not feel as it should have.
“But the first race was brilliant - 18th off the grid up to ninth was very good. Obviously there were a few who pulled off but we passed a few as well.
“That showed what the car can do and what I can do.
“It’s always difficult running on a tight budget but I’ve really enjoyed it today.
“There was a bit of contact in the last race but that is what it’s all about.
“But we got going again and finished, just not quite where we wanted to be.
Wood currently sits in 14th place in the drivers’ championship with still hope remaining for improvement when the final round takes place at Brands Hatch on October 21.
“We are really pleased with the way the season has gone and we’ll be looking to finish on a high at Brands,” he said.