The Dynojet Racing Toyota Avensis of Frank Wrathall Jnr will start the seventh round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton from 19th place on the grid following a drama-filled qualifying session at Thruxton.
It was very much a case of what might have been for 24-year-old Frank, whose hopes of a grid slot nearer the sharp end were frustrated by a leaking fuel line half way through the session.
Earlier in the day Frank posted a best lap time of 1m 20.680s in free practice and the Lancashire 24-year-old was confident that there was at least a second more to come from the Avensis ‘Next Generation Touring Car’ given a clear run.
Alas Frank’s chance to prove his point was robbed from him by the fuel leak which manifested itself after just eight laps around the super-fast Hampshire circuit. Wrathall’s best up to that point was a lap of 1m 21.655s.
“It’s so frustrating to go out in a car which you know is capable of great things, and then to not be able to get a decent lap,” said Frank. “However, we have to be grateful it’s a problem which is not too hard to fix and that things could have been worse.”
Wrathall can take encouragement from the fact that his grid time was comfortably quicker than that of the only other full ‘NGTC’-spec car in the 21-car field, the Audi of Rob Austin.
Wrathall was pleased by progress in free practice: “We were experimenting with a number of set-up ideas,” he said, “and learned a lot. I know that there is a lot to come from me and from the Toyota. At this stage it’s all about development and learning.”
A considerable amount of development work has been completed by the team since the car’s last outing, at Donington Park a fortnight ago, including an all-new exhaust system designed and fitted in record time.
The Dynojet Racing Avensis is the sole Toyota representative at Thruxton, Speedworks Motorsport having withdrawn the Avensis of Tony Hughes, which suffered major damage in the third of the Donington races. “It is a great shame,” said Speedworks boss Christian Dick. “We could have repaired the Avensis in time for Thruxton, but we have decided instead to opt out and spend our time more productively, in sorting the one or two underlying issues we have. Then, when we do return, we can be sure the car is in top form.”