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Thursday, 9 June, 2016

Jack Goff endures frustrating weekend at Oulton Park


Jack Goff and Team IHG Rewards Club suffered their worst weekend of the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season to date at Oulton Park last weekend [4th-5th June], but despite a raft of issues the one-time race winner was able to score two points finishes to keep him within reaching distance of the championship battle.

Despite setting a lap time just 0.575 seconds slower than pole-sitter Colin Turkington, Goff was forced to settle for just 15th on the grid, the first time the BMW 125i M-Sport has qualified lower than the front six rows all season. WSR team-mate Rob Collard also struggled around the tight 2.2 mile Island circuit, lining up behind Goff in 16th, almost a tenth of a second slower.

However, the BRDC Superstar fought back in the opening race of the weekend, making up a total of three places to cross the line in 12th after a hotly contested fifteen laps. He then doubled up this performance in the second contest, making up three more positions to claim 9th at the chequered flag, which tallies as Goff's eighth top ten finish of the campaign.

Jakob Ebrey Photography Jakob Ebrey Photography Jakob Ebrey Photography

Disaster hit before the third and final contest for Goff as an increase in water temperature prevented the IHG Rewards Club-backed BMW 125i M-Sport from taking to the grid, forcing Jack to sit on the sidelines as Matt Neal took victory ahead of Goff's other WSR team-mate, Sam Tordoff.

Setting aside the frustrations of the weekend, Jack Goff remains within touching distance of the championship battle, 39 points adrift of standings leader Tordoff with a total of 18 contests left to run this season. With a maximum of 22 points available for a race victory, combined with leading an entire lap and setting the fastest lap time, there are still a raft of opportunities for Goff to close the gap to the leading lights at the front before the season concludes at Brands Hatch this October.

Photography by Roy Powell Jakob Ebrey Photography Jakob Ebrey Photography

Goff's efforts at the weekend also ensured that West Surrey Racing retain their lead in the Manufacturers Championship standings, securing a 23 point margin over defending champions Halfords Yuasa Racing.

Team IHG Rewards Club sit eighth overall in the HiQ Teams Championship, just a single point adrift of Speedworks Motorsport ahead and only eight points behind WIX Racing in sixth, the only other team ahead of Team IHG Rewards Club to run a single car operation.

The series heads next to Croft in Yorkshire, the scene of WSR's dominant hat-trick of race victories in 2015, including a win for Andy Priaulx in the Team IHG Rewards Club car. With WSR heading to the 2.1 mile circuit as the team in form, Goff is certain of a strong showing and looks set to burst back into the frame for the title fight.

Jack Goff said: “I’m pretty disappointed with how the weekend’s gone. Qualifying 15th was below what we expected, especially after being inside the top five in both practice sessions, and that did the damage. To come through to 12th and ninth at least shows that we could overtake at a circuit where it’s traditionally very difficult, and where the performances of the cars was closer than anywhere else this year. Race three could have been better still, but we had a technical issue and that was that.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It was a tough weekend for Team IHG® Rewards Club and Jack, but under the circumstances, two solid points finishes – at a circuit where he’s never raced a rear-wheel-drive touring car before – isn’t at all bad. Race three was shaping up to be his best of the weekend, but he unfortunately had an issue that caused the water temperature to shoot up and we took the decision not to risk starting the race. Where Jack may benefit from this is that he’ll only carry 21kg of ballast at Croft, which is a circuit that’s usually been very good for the BMW, so he should be in a strong position there.”

Damian Meaden