Lea Wood and his Houseman Racing squad continued their bright start to the 2014 season with three finishes among the British Touring Car Championship’s ultra-competitive midfield at Thruxton last weekend (4 May).
And at an event which saw some of his rivals suffer costly accidents on the fast Hampshire circuit, Wood was pleased to leave with an unscathed Toyota Avensis ready to fight another day.
The Houseman squad was able to gather more valuable data on their new car at Thruxton, opting to use the practice sessions to trial a number of radical setup changes.
What’s more, for the first time in 2014 they were able to run without problems throughout the weekend, an impressive feat having missed pre-season testing with their new machine.
With practice used to focus on development, Wood took a somewhat unrepresentative 24th in Saturday’s qualifying session thanks to a lap of 1m18.268s.
But he forced his way back into the midfield scrap on Sunday with 18th in the opening contest, where he was part of a five-car battle for 14th separated by just two seconds. Race two brought another consistent run, with Wood taking P17.
The Hereford native delivered his strongest performance in the weekend’s closing contest, forming part of a four-way dispute over the final points-paying position. He would ultimately take another P17, less than a second shy of 15th-place man Marc Hynes.
Lea Wood: “Development-wise we really went for it this weekend. We spent practice trying out some radical setup options and making a lot of changes to the car, from springs to gear ratios and everything in between. That compromised us a little for qualifying, but in the long run the work we did here should prove very valuable.
“On the racing side I’m pleased we got three more finishes and had a clean weekend. I had one hairy moment in the first race – I was broadside at what I think was 125mph – but otherwise it was fine.
“I’m looking forward to Oulton Park a lot as it’s a track I’ve gone well at in a few different classes. Last year we were on to win all three Jack Sears Trophy races until we had a part failure in the third, so hopefully I’ll be fighting for outright points there this season.
“Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsors whose support has kept me on track in 2014, particularly Houseman Dry Lining, Central Roofing, Morris Lubricants, S&P Crossways Garage and Wheel Heaven.”
Wood and the Houseman Racing squad will be back in BTCC action over the weekend of 7/8 June when they travel to Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit for round four of the campaign.