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Wednesday, 17 August, 2016

Sublime driving reaps rewards for Goff at Knockhill

As the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship made it’s annual trip north of the Scottish border to Knockhill, Jack Goff and Team IHG Rewards Club enjoyed their best performance of the season to date with an impressive podium and two further solid points finishes.

The weekend started in positive fashion with a season-best qualifying performance of fourth on Saturday afternoon, even more impressive given a red-flag stoppage in the closing stages of the session that saw the entire field take to the circuit with a vengeance in a desperate attempt to improve their starting slots. Jack’s fastest time of 51.567 seconds, just 0.046 seconds shy of pole position, saw him slot in alongside WSR team-mate Sam Tordoff on the second row, incidentally Jack’s best-ever qualifying result.

A battling performance in the opening contest of the weekend rewarded Goff with a second podium finish of the season, and his best ever result for Team IHG Rewards Club as the BRDC Superstar came home in the runner-up spot behind double champion Jason Plato. A move on Tordoff in the formative stages of the race allowed Goff to chase down Tom Ingram, and after dispatching the Speedworks driver he set about catching the Levorg GT of Plato.

Goff was handed an opportunity to claim the race victory in the closing stages as the safety car made an appearance on circuit, but despite closing to within half a second of a fired-up Plato, the latter duly claimed the spoils.

Jakob Ebrey Photography Jakob Ebrey Photography Jakob Ebrey Photography

Despite being forced off during a battle with Colin Turkington for the final podium slot in the second race, Goff managed to hold the BMW 125i M-Sport together with 66 kilograms of success ballast on board to claim another strong points finish in the second. The race is set to go down as one of the championship’s classics, with the BMW duo of Goff and Tordoff taking the fight to both Plato and Turkington (Subaru) in a cat-and-mouse chase for victory. Despite position changes aplenty, Goff’s attempted overtake on Turkington heading into the final hairpin resulted in contact and both ran wide, allowing a few cars to overtake on the inside line heading down the main straight.

Goff was again the victim of a number of frustrating incidents during the reverse grid contest, most notably with Rob Austin after some suggestion that the two-time race winner had initially passed Goff under yellow flags as marshals attended to a stricken car on circuit, before then clashing with the IHG Rewards Club-backed BMW at the next corner and dropping Goff back into the clutches of the midfield pack.

The end result of Goff’s three strong finishes is that Team IHG Rewards Club move up to sixth in the HiQ Teams Championship, and are once again the top-scoring single-car team. Goff’s efforts also helped to strengthen West Surrey Racing’s advantage at the top of the Manufacturer standings over Honda, whilst doing him no harm as he sets to close the gap in the drivers standings to his closest rivals.

Jakob Ebrey Photography Jakob Ebrey Photography Jakob Ebrey Photography

With three events left to run in the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, the series heads next to Rockingham Motor Speedway over the weekend of 27th-28th August for another action-packed, ITV4-televised triple header.

Jack Goff: “Today has been a bit of a rollercoaster, which it shouldn’t have been, as the Team IHG Rewards Club BMW was really quick and the team have worked so hard to make it that way. To get my best result of the year in race one was very good. I knew that with ballast race two would be harder, but race three looked good until I was passed by Rob Austin under yellow flags and then just run off the road by him at the next corner. I dropped to 13th, but the fact that I was able to climb back to 10th shows what speed the car had here. It’s quite frustrating.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal: “It’s generally been a good meeting for Team IHG Rewards Club. Jack was very strong in race one to take his best finish of the season. It was a bit tougher to stay up at the front when he gained 66kg of success ballast for race two, but he still performed well and in race three he looked good for another strong result only to be passed under waved yellow flags and then taken off the road by the same driver, which is pretty disappointing.”

Damian Meadon