Croft, near Darlington, was the destination for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the 2015 British Touring Car Championship.
With a capacity grid of thirty cars, the 2.125 mile ex air field circuit provided much entertainment at the weekend for the spectators. With its fast corners and a long start and finish straight coupled with a tight and technical complex section, set up was the key to success at the weekend.
Coming off the back of consistent results from the previous rounds at Oulton Park, Aiden Moffat was looking forward to a strong weekend. With the car set up ready for practice one, it was time to hit the track for the first of two practice sessions and qualifying.
As the temperature rose at the north east circuit, the tension grew as practice one got underway. The Laser Tools Mercedes A Class of Moffat was running well for the forty minute session, improving times consistently. This was until a slight incident during the final few minutes when Aiden sustained some front end damage to the Mercedes. With a section of front bumper and headlight amiss, the Scottish racing driver was unfazed, and continued to achieve a 16th practice position with a time of 1min 26.305. This was just one place below championship stallwalt Jason Plato in the BMR VW Passat.
With temporary repairs done to the front of the Mercedes, Aiden ventured out into practice two just before lunch. With some changes made to the setup of the car to aid handling in the complex section, Aiden fought for a lap of 1min 26.647. During the practice session alterations were made to make Aiden complete practice two in an overall 20th position. The findings from this session left the team with a little work to do before the all important qualifying session.
With qualifying at the end of the day, the temperatures were at their highest, both on the track and in the air. With a fully repaired car, now sporting a replacement front bumper, headlight and attachments, it was time for the team to knuckle down and compete for the best position for the start of race one. During the frantic thirty minute qualification session, Aiden came out of the paddock with all guns blazing. He circulated the Croft circuit consistently sixteen times achieving his best lap of 1min 25.292 on lap 14. The tweeks made during practice two and qualifying paid off as he improved his position to 16th, and also achieved his quickest time of the day.
With rain forecast for Sunday, the team felt that a busy time was ahead. They felt that the changing of the cars set up to accommodate the changes in conditions.
With another early start for race day on Sunday, it was comforting to see that the bad weather that was predicted was holding off in the morning even though the temperatures were a lot lower due to a dull overcast sky. Just as the cars were about to leave the pits to line up for race one of the day, the track temperature was 20 degrees with the air being 19 degrees. Overnight rain did make the track damp and green but by the time the first race got underway, the track had dried sufficiently for slick tyres to be used.
Lining up on row eight in 16th position Aiden made a great start as he maintained his 16th position for much of the race. He came under attack from Hunter Abbott in his Audi A4 when he finally succumbed late on in the race to finally finish in an overall 17th position. Aiden used his head to effect in the first race as he avoided the contact on the first corner. During the race, Aiden drove in a defensive manner to limit the damage that could alter his championship position. As the Mercedes is front wheel drive, the Scottish driver was at a disadvantage before the racing even began as Croft is more suited to rear wheel drive examples.
The second race was the most dramatic of the three races for Aiden as he lined up in 20th position. The plan was to get the car home in a respectable position. He knuckled down after contact with Alex Martin in the Focus at the first corner. Aiden recovered the car out of the gravel to then battle with the Inifiniti cars Of Palmer and Coates while keeping the BMR Passat of Scott at bay. Aiden then came under pressure from the Proton of Dan Welch. Aiden resisted the Welch challenge and finally made a move stick on Mike Bushall in the Ford Focus. By driving consistent laps, Aiden managed to further the progress of the Mercedes when Alex Martin and a Eurotech Civic crashed in the complex. This incident put Aiden up into a 18th finishing place. This was however, was not without incident for Moffat as the car sustained damage to the near side front of car meaning the team had to source a second headlight of the weekend.
Race three promised to be a cracker as the weather was at it hottest allowing for the tyres to get up to temperature quickly. Again, Aiden had it all to do from 18th on the grid of the 29 competitors. The start was as clean as Aiden would off liked and he was challenging from the first corner. With the pack all through safely, he could see the likes of Andrew Jordan in the distance and therefore set about catching and challenging more experienced touring car drivers. The Scottish driver once again fought through the pack to claim his best finish of the weekend with a 13th position. In this race, Aiden came under mounting pressure from first, Jeff Smith in the Eurotech Honda Civic and then Josh Cook in the Chevy. By the end of the race Aiden was over joyed that the weekend was over and he could go away and once again regroup over the summer break.
Now past the half way stage, Aiden is currently placed in 16th position out of the 32 registered drivers with 38 points.