Aiden Moffat’s latest BTCC outing took place at Oulton Park last weekend. With the Cheshire circuit bathed in sunshine for rounds 10, 11 and 12, the 2.226 mile circuit with its elevation changes and fast sweeping corners was a welcome challenge for the Dalkeith driver.
With a full grid once more, it was important for Aiden to get out onto the track early on in free practice one. As is often the case, Aiden did the necessary installation laps to ensure everything was working well with the Laser Tools sponsored Mercedes A Class car. It also allowed for an assessment of the set up and analysis to ensure that when free practice two commenced, the team could run in a qualifying trim. With a busy track, Aiden completed 19 laps in scorching conditions. It was evident from the first practice session that Moffat could push from the start as the tyres came up to temperature quickly. His best lap in practice one was a 1.28.717 which put him in a provisional position of 21st splitting the Audi 4s of Hunter Abbot and Rob Austin.
With slight changes made to the car during the down time period after practice one it was time to commence the all-important second practice as this would determine what qualifying set up would be required. Again, the temperature were kind all through the session so the tyres became sticky almost instantly, allowing for maximum grip that is all important around the fast corners. Having completed one less lap in the second practice, Aiden improved his position of 20th overall. Moffat again was in the thick of it with challenges from Hunter Abbott in the Audi. The times also fell in session two as Moffat managed a best time of 1.27.768.
At the start of qualifying, it was apparent that there could be more speed to be had from the car. With thought and process, the Laser Tools team managed to push Aiden into a final qualifying position of 20th. The positive from the 30 minute session was that again Aiden’s times were falling as the track was warming up and more rubber was been displaced around the circuit from the support races. After a hot humid session Aiden brought the car home in a final qualifying position of 20th. With Robert Collard ahead in the WSR BMW 1 series and the Focus of Alex Martin behind, Aiden was relishing the challenge of race one. Qualifying brought Aiden’s best timed lap of the day with a 1.26.907.
Sunday’s races were fast and furious from the outset. With a all three races taking place on the Sunday the pressure was on as all races had to be completed in accordance with TV schedules and with only half a day available. This meant that any mishap in any of the races would of resulted in a possible missed round.
Lining up for round 10, which was race one of the day, Aiden brought the car round to the grid to take his amended 19th position after another competitor, Mike Bushall failed some technical regulations in his Focus. This meant that Aiden would line up on the inside of the track which is not on the ideal racing line as the amount of rubber available on the tarmac differed from the outside. As a result of this, at the start, Aiden slipped back a place as Rob Collard took advantage. Aiden had an excellent race pushing Collard all the way to the end of the race to achieve an overall result of 20th position.
Round 11, race two of the day saw Aiden take his first of his 12th place grid positions. This was a race that allowed the Scottish driver the opportunity to challenge the Eurotech Honda Civic of Martin Depper as the quicker starting VW Passat of Colin Turkington went off into the distance. Aiden fought with Depper for the whole race, often coming close to contact many times at Old Hall. Both drivers drove an action packed race that saw Aiden overtake Depper with a lunge into a corner out of sight. Boyed by this move on Depper’s Civic, Aiden set his targets on Rob Austin and the Audi A4. By the end of the race Aiden had challenged, pressured and past the Audi to take a final well deserved 12th position. All this was not without incident however as Aiden experienced a tap from behind that nearly put the Mercedes into a spin and possibly out of the race but with excellent reactions and skill the slide was controlled and Aiden continued once more.
The final race of the day, round 12, race three, saw a steady race unfold. After the previous race, Aiden lined up in 12th position once more with team mate Adam Morgan promoted onto pole position. Aiden had a rather sedate third race which saw him bring the car home in one piece in 11th position, his best result from the day. After all the action from the Oulton Park circuit at the weekend, Aiden lies in 16th position in the overall championship standings. The next rounds will be at Croft in Yorkshire on June 27 and 28.