Frank and Tom’s landmark race

IT was a weekend of firsts for the district’s touring car drivers at Knockhill in Scotland.

Forton’s Tom Boardman achieved a first ever victory in the British Touring Car Championship for him and his team, Seat Leon for Special Team Racing.

Also making headlines was former Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil Frank Wrathall, who picked up two third-place finishes in races two and three.

Wrathall, from Garstang, drives a Next Generation Touring Car, with this season seen as a development year for the cars which are likely to be commonplace on the grid before too long.

All that meant it was a remarkable day for Wrathall in his Toyota Avensis.

As a result of the top seven driver reverse grid, Boardman started the third race in second behind touring car legend Jason Plato.

On lap four he moved inside down the straight. Plato took a tight line into the Seat curves causing him to lose shape, but pursuing the racing line Tom exited with speed and closed in.

Having to back off he touched the rear of Plato’s car and Plato ended up on the grass, triggering the safety car as the Forton man took the lead.

With the race about to restart, Boardman slowed for the hairpin and then got the jump on Rob Collard. But in the final laps, the gap between him and Boardman closed as the rear-wheeled BMW strengths came into play.

Collard threw everything at the Seat Leon and there was contact at the hairpin as Collard locked up. He held on beautifully under pressure to bring the Seat Leon home in first place, his first ever outright win in the BTCC and his first independents’ victory this season.

Speaking after the race, he said: “Collard was coming at me hard at the end there, his car must have been better on its tyres, but I held my nerve and we’ve done it. I knew we had the potential to win races and we really showed it today.”