After blazing a trail to the BTCC podium at Knockhill earlier this month, independent Toyota driver Frank Wrathall and his Dynojet Racing team will this weekend (17/18 September) be seeking further glory at the Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire, venue for the latest thrill-packed rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The super-fast semi-oval track, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, should suit the powerful Avensis even better than tight and twisty Knockhill, where the Toyota became the first of the ‘Next Generation Touring Cars’ to claim a top-three finish.
“We were good at Snetterton and good at Knockhill, and if we can go well at those two tracks then we should be strong for the remaining circuits this year,” says Frank, 24. “It will be nice to get to Rockingham, which is fast, flowing and smooth, as are Brands Hatch and Silverstone; all three should suit the Toyota. Bring it on.”
Rockingham is one of Frank’s most successful circuits: he was the outright victor in two of last year’s three Rockingham Ginetta G50 Cup races, which results helped him well on his way to the 2010 Ginetta G50 championship title. “I think I have won more races at Rockingham than any other circuit – it has certainly become one of my favourite tracks…”
Wrathall and the Toyota qualified third at Knockhill and claimed third place in two of the three races, as well as another Independent class win to add to that secured at Snetterton in August, and a fastest lap. While enjoying the limelight, Wrathall has not lost sight of the battles so recently fought: “We have had a lot of DNFs this year, a lot of problems and have been through some tough times. It’s been an incredible roller-coaster of a year. The low points have been terrible, I’ll make no secret, but every time we have had a set-back the whole team has dug deep and we have bounced back. Getting to the podium makes it all worthwhile.”
Wrathall’s recent results have promoted the Lancashire man to 12th place overall in the BTCC driver standings, and to 10th in the Independent rankings. They have also brought him a steady flow of champagne: it has just been announced that Frank is the first driver to win two successive BTCC ‘HiQ Champagne Moment’ awards after fans logging on to hiqbtcc.com voted the Dynojet ace their top performer at Knockhill. He attracted 58 per cent of the vote.
Rockingham BTCC timetable
Saturday 17 September: free practice 0925 &1220. Qualifying 1455, live on itv.com
Sunday 18 September: races at 1130, 1400 & 1650, live on ITV4 & ITV4HD