Eavesy does it!
Team Halfords driver Dan Eaves became the first driver in the history of the British Touring Car Championship to win three races in a day at Thruxton. The 29 year-old was the class of the field as he guided his Honda Integra to victory in each of the day’s races.
“Pretty special really”, was how Eaves described his day’s work at Thruxton. Eaves, who is in his second full year of racing with the Team Dynamics setup, and his sixth season in the BTCC, qualified on the second row of the grid for the first race of the weekend, out-pacing his teammate, and winner of two races at Donington, Matt Neal.
The first race at Thruxton saw Eaves battle with Jason Plato for second position, and then for the lead when Tom Chilton suffered a puncture. Eaves’ pressure paid off, as he squeezed through on the approach to chicane. He was then untroubled over the remainder of the race.
The first race win put Eaves on pole for the second round, and he had no hesitation in making the most of it. As those behind him became embroiled in contact and contests for position over the opening stages of the first lap, Eaves made a strong start and opened up a lead that proved to be unassailable.
With a reversal of the top ten finishers of the second race forming the grid for the third race this year, Eaves found himself almost at the back at the start of the day’s last round. The hat-trick seemed a long way away.
“The first third of the race, I was just holding position really”, said Eaves. “I didn’t make much of an impression. I was fighting with Collard and one of the Seats, Pickford I think, and not really getting anywhere fast. Then everybody else started struggling with the accident damage they had got. And the tyres, and my car was getting stronger and stronger, because I hadn’t worked it that hard. It was getting better and everyone else was getting slower.”
|"It’s pretty unthinkable really that I’ve done it" - Dan Eaves|
“Fortunately I got a couple of lucky breaks where people were battling. I think I got the split on Matt [Neal] and Muller on the back straight, and then again with Hines and Turkington, and drove straight through.”
“It’s pretty unthinkable really that I’ve done it.”
As if Eaves winning three out of three and Team Halfords taking five victories from the first six races is not enough, it would seem that there is still more to come: “We’ve got another engine coming, probably not for Brands, but possibly.”
With a third car still not ruled out for later in the year, Team Halfords look set to mount a sustained attack on Vauxhall’s silverware collection, with titles being the ultimate goal. “We’ve still got to do some work on our qualifying setup”, added Eaves. “And also, we can always do with finding some more pace in the race. Vauxhall and Seat aren’t going to stay still, they are going to keep improving, so we’ve got to up our game and increase the pressure.”
By Matt Lamprell