Ben Tuck makes impressive recovery drive after engine change
Tue 07, Jun, 2016

Ben Tuck tackled more engine problems and harsh penalties for the third consecutive race weekend of his Caterham Supersport debut season this weekend and produced yet another superb recovery drive from 31st to 12th in Race 2 at the beautiful Zolder circuit in Belguim. After a superb 4th place finish in Race 1, Ben was handed a penalty for a technical issue which forced him to start at the back of the field for Race 2.

The engine problems that have persisted since the first round in April hampered Friday testing, along with a gearbox failure, which prompted a complete engine and gearbox change. Ben’s team - PT Motorsport - pulled out all the stops but unfortunately the brand new engine was faulty and they worked all night to affect a repair completing the installation 30 minutes before qualifying on Saturday morning. After a few shakedown laps but with no time to set the car up, Ben went out for the qualifying session. Coping with poor balance, Ben kept a cool head and earned 10th place on the grid for Race 1 in a difficult session.

With the promise of equivalent power at his disposal for the first time this season, Ben looked forward to making gains from his compromised 10th place grid slot. Ben quickly sped through the field and joined the top 5 battle for the lead. Sensing a debut podium or even a win, Ben fought hard taking 4th by the flag in a just reward for all the team’s efforts and opening the way for a podium or win in Race 2.

However, the scrutineers assessed there was a technical problem with his tyres and chose to exclude Ben from the results meaning that Ben would start Race 2 from the back in 31st.

Keeping a cool head, Ben prepared for another epic comeback in Race 2 on Sunday, knowing that he would be forced to compete on his wet tyres. Unfortunately the predicted rain did not appear but off the line Ben made 7 places by the first corner as his race long struggle began. Within a few laps, Ben was chasing down the top 10, having taken the 4th fastest lap of the race. Despite battling against tyres that were not optimised for the warm and dry conditions together with a broken mirror Ben continued to progress and took the chequered flag in 12th place, having climbed 19 places in 18 laps.

“After the amazing effort from the team overnight to fix the engine and gearbox, I thought our problems would be sorted and for pretty much the first time this year I would have an equal chance” said Ben. “No one expected the penalty and its disappointing for everyone who worked so hard not to get the chance we deserved. We’ve not really had a race yet with equal power from the right grid slot. But we showed we have the pace to challenge for wins and I’m looking forward to being at the front again in the next round”.

Ben’s debut at Zolder again showed the promise of what could be, with better luck and the chance to compete on equal terms.

Ben next races at Snetterton on 16th and 17th of July.