Months of careful planning; long days and nights of tireless graft; and mile after mile of hauling cars and crew from track to track as each is pushed to find the pace to create a title-worthy challenger: And yet it all came down to the simplest of choices; wets or slicks?
Perhaps if it were anywhere else, the tyre choice would have been simpler. But the camber of Paddock Hill, the tree-lined run up to Druids, the sprint down to Graham Hill bend, and the launch out of Clearways, all require the surety of grip. With a bustling 32-car grid, it’s little wonder that the title favourites all chose the Dunlop BluResponse wet weather tyre for the BTCC’s opening round, yet it was also a moment for those who could see the opportunity and were prepared to seize it.
In previous years, I’ve talked about the ascendency of the new generation of touring car stars and of the need to consistently score well. In a way, this season will be no different, except for two key factors: With the standard of driving talent getting ever stronger, and with only subtle differences between cars, the focus has now turned to the quality and durability of each team’s engineering, and the ability of drivers to anticipate and manage tyre choices in both stable and changing conditions.
To win in 2019, experience behind the wheel and on the pit wall are going to need to work seamlessly, yet as Josh Cook, Andrew Jordan, Rory Butcher and Tom Chilton all so capably proved, when the odds are stacked, you need to be prepared to roll the dice too.
Here are twenty of our favourite images from Sunday’s race; roll on Donington!
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