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A flying start for Árón Taylor-Smith at BTCC opening weekend

03 May, 2022 by Tom Peace

Last weekend saw the return of the thrilling British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), with the first races of 2022 taking place on the 23rd and 24th of April at Donington Park. The debut of the eagerly awaited hybrid regulations resulted in some of the most exciting racing in many years, with teams and drivers alike adapting to the new era of the BTCC. Briggs Equipment’s sponsored driver Árón Taylor-Smith made an excellent impression from the outset and put on a stellar performance during the opening round, bringing home three point finishes upon the Cupra’s hybrid debut.

Many fans attended the Derby based circuit, where anticipation for the start of the new season was at all all time high. The Saturday of each race weekend provides the opportunity for drivers to test out their cars against the track conditions and make any adjustments needed before entering qualifying, which determines the staring order for Race One on Sunday.

The Briggs Equipment BTCC car looked strong throughout the Saturday practice sessions, with Árón showcasing lap times capable of getting him within the coveted top ten in qualifying. Unfortunately, disaster struck during the all-important qualifying session, with Árón reporting an engine issue over the radio to his team of mechanics and engineers. This brought a disappointing end to his first chance at a top ten qualifying spot in the Cupra, as due to the engine being unable to run for the following sessions, resulting in a 22nd place start on the grid for race one.

Árón Taylor- Smith commented on the situation, explaining that “Unfortunately a third party component which controls the turbo boost failed on my second lap which meant that I never really got the opportunity to set a lap time. The only silver lining is that I know that we have a very competitive car and this is the BTCC, anything can happen on race day and all we can do is focus on moving forward and picking up some decent points.”

Despite this, Árón proceeded to put on a master class show on how to race in the BTCC, getting off to a superb start and carving his way through the pack to cross the line in 13th place, picking up the points awarded to the top 15 finishers. In Race Two, he once again got off to an incredible start and cracked the top ten, holding 9th place for a majority of the race. From there, he was enthralled in a battle with multiple race and championship winners, and fought as hard as physically possible against some of the most famous names in modern day touring cars. Despite the action packed duel, Aron finished Race Two in 11th place, and the results of the reverse grid draw meant an 11th place start for Race Three.

The third and last race of the day was yet another skilful display from the Briggs sponsored driver, in which he fought from start to finish against the most successful driver in the history of the BTCC, Jason Plato.

Aron Taylor-Smith commented: “What a day! These three races are why I love the BTCC, it was action packed and exciting from start to finish and I really got to get stuck in. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous coming into the first race weekend of the year but all those nerves are gone after what we achieved today. I got to fight with some of the most successful drivers on grid and came out on top over the course of the three races.

“I felt completely at home once again in the BTCC, not only in the car but also in the team. This is a long year but the ingredients are there for it to be very successful after what I saw today. The car is night & day different to what it was last season and now we can stick it to the best of the best. I am already counting down the days to Brands Hatch as I really want to put on a proper show!

“The BTCC now has a three-week gap until next race weekend at Brands Hatch on May 14th & 15th. After a very successful first race weekend of the year, the team can now recoup and further develop the Cupra ahead of their home race. Be sure to stay tuned for updates as the season continues!”