Volkswagen chasing the big guns at DoningtonPosted: April 17, 2011
In 2010, a Volkswagen appeared on the grid for the first time since 1989 in the hands of Shaun Hollamby. Now with a new driver and a car much developed from last year, the independent team have much higher prospects for the new season…
Team boss Hollamby has high hopes for the very-much independent team as they bring the Volkswagen name back to the sport.
“The team can only go from strength to strength and we are hoping for at least consistent top 10s through the season if we can get there. We feel that it’s achievable and certainly on paper we can do that.
The aim for us is to be fighting at the top level of British motorsport and in Touring Car racing; we do this for a living and we enjoy it but we work as hard as we can to do it.”
The development of the Golf has looked steady and consistent, and the team have clearly made good progress on the car that entered their opening season last year.
“Our car is improving from last year because we’re matching the top speeds that the Fords were doing last year” said Hollamby, “so we must be doing something right, but it’s that situation where with new regulations and developments coming into the sport means we’ve still ended up having to chase the top teams.
What you notice is that it is very tough working in this environment around these works teams who have a lot of people working with them and helping them through at times, whereas our car is pretty much made and kept together by one man in the corner of the garage!”
The team also have a key addition to the team as Hollamby has stepped out of the driver’s seat to make way for the proven star quality talent of Tom Onslow-Cole, who after being a championship challenger last season with Ford has now joined forces with AMD Miltek to bring the team up the order, after inexplicably not being re-signed with a front-running BTCC team.
“Tom will definately help us on and off track this season; having a driver with proven ability is very important in this game, and Tom has experience in winning, set-up and he wants success so we need to help him get it.”
The new season got off to an encouraging start at Brands Hatch. Onslow-Cole had clearly settled into the car very well after the big switch from the large, over-powered and often quite twitchy Ford Focus into the tiny, underpowered but nimble Golf.
Despite being the victim of an incident with Tom Boardman at the start of race two, he fought his way up to 12th place in the third and final race of the day with what turned out to be one of the star drives of the weekend despite the lack of camera time he recieved during his charge through the pack.
Hollamby shared his thoughts on the opening weekend, saying: “The first weekend I think went okay, certainly the level of development that we’ve gained had made a difference with many aspects of the car such as the drivetrain.
We are working on sorting out some reliablity problems however with the car as well which hasn’t helped us as we had engine problems with the car in testing before the season and again here today (at Donington).”
These problems at the second round at Donington have so far given the team one of it’s most stressful Saturdays to date, as electrical problems left the team in a frenzy before qualifying.
The team’s head mechanic was one of those feeling the stress during the day, but kept in spirit of the team’s hopes: “We’ve being having a few electrical problems (here at Donington) with the car which has been a bit of a pain.
There just isn’t enough time in between sessions, especially on a Saturday so for a small team like this it causes a bit of a bad day before the Sunday races.
So far Tom is settling in really well though and is working well with everyone and really starting to get the team around him.”
Onslow-Cole himself has high hopes for tomorrow after getting some more vital mileage in the new car during qualifying, and despite the problems he will start the opening race tomorrow from 16th on the grid, and is positive for tommorrow.
“It’s not been the best of weekend so far” said Onslow-Cole. “We’ve had an electrical problem all day so it’s been a bit of a tough start to the weekend really. I’ve just been keeping away and letting them get on with it for the last few minutes when it looked bad!
It will be okay after today though hopefully so we should be strong for tomorrow.
The car is getting better and better so we’re really excited about what we can do for the rest of the season”