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Watson scores his most successful finish with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing this season.

Andrew Watson pips team-mate Huff to seventh on the grid in qualifying by the slender margin of 55 thousandths-of-a-second, as he fell a mere 0.080s short of securing a spot in the ‘Quick Six’. After staving off some early pressure from series champions Colin Turkington and Tom Ingram, the Northern Irishman went on to convert that into fifth place on soft tyres in the opener – his finest finish to-date for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK.


Watson looked to be on-course for an even better result in race two, climbing to second on wet-weather rubber before a mistake between Brundle and Nelson on lap nine saw him lose the rear-end on the treacherous track surface, launching his Corolla over the kerbs and into a spectacular spin that relegated him to a frustrated sixth at the flag.


The reigning Jack Sears Trophy winner stuck with wets for the last race of the day, rising to second again but subsequently slipping back as that proved to be the wrong call and missing out on the points by just one position.

Christian Dick, Team Principal, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:


“Andrew performed extremely well and was unlucky not to come away with some silverware himself. He produced a very mature and composed drive in race one and was unfortunate to be caught out by the conditions in race two when on-track for a second-place finish, but on such a challenging day, he was far from alone in making a mistake. He will come back stronger and even more fired-up next time out at Thruxton, where the target has to be to keep this form going.”

Andrew Watson, Driver, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK, said:


“The weekend got off to a tough start; the car felt really loose in practice, but my engineer came up with a few good ideas and we executed pretty well in qualifying. Seventh place put us solidly in the mix, and I was looking forward to having some fun on Sunday!


“The weather was impossible to call all day, but I tend to go well when it’s like that and I was pleased with the result in race one. It was a good, clean race, with a couple of nice overtakes. The conditions were tough in race two – when the rain reappeared, we were fighting simply to stay on the track. Still, we were doing everything right until I just locked a rear and before I knew it, I was on the grass. That had been a great chance for a podium finish, so I was a bit gutted and very annoyed with myself.


“We gambled on the wet tyres in race three because otherwise we would have had to use the hard-compound, which would have been a struggle with most drivers on either softs or mediums. Running second again was fun while it lasted, but it soon became clear we were on borrowed time. 


“Nevertheless, I’m starting to really get the hang of the Corolla now and I’m very happy with how everybody is working together. We’re building and building, improving the car in all conditions and beginning to properly establish ourselves as front-runners – and that was always the primary goal.”

Images: Jakob Ebrey Photography



The campaign will continue at super-fast Thruxton in Hampshire on 8-9 June.


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