Character-building weekend for Tressler at Rockingham - 14/05/2013
Relssert Racing’s Neil Tressler had another character-building weekend on Rockingham Motor Speedway’s high-velocity oval, which played host to Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2013 Pickup Truck Racing Championship (11-12 May).
Tressler’s progress was hampered by changeable conditions in free practice and qualifying and the Warwickshire-based driver lined-up 11th and 12th respectively for Sunday’s (12 May) two high-octane Pickup Truck races at the Corby circuit as a result.
In Round 3, Tressler went five-abreast into Turn 4 at the end of the first lap and emerged in 14th place, on to the tail of Dave Weaver in the number 88 contender.
He used the power of his Isuzu truck’s 2.3-litre Vauxhall engine and the slipstream to breeze past Weaver on the run through the final bend on lap six and set about chasing down James Goldstraw ahead of him.
Tressler drafted up to the rear of Goldstraw during the next few laps until he slipped underneath the number 72 machine into the final bend to snatch 12th place across the start/finish line.
Unable to bridge the sizeable gap to David O’Regan in 11th place, Tressler focused on maintaining his advantage over the chasing pack on the run to the flag.
Rain fell on the Corby circuit in the build-up to the day’s second race, making tyre-choice a complete lottery and the setups honed during practice redundant.
From 12th on the grid, Tressler had to negotiate the plumes of spray kicked up by the 15-truck pack, but lost the draft and track position as the race wore on.
A half-spin at the exit of Turn 1 demoted him to 14th and the Warwickshire racer was soon a lap down on the leaders, as a spectacular pirouette for Charlie Weaver on the main straight caused the sole caution period of the day.
The Safety Car intervention bunched up the pack once again and, with the rain persisting, an unrelenting Tressler continued battling the atrocious conditions to pick up one more position in the latter stages and cross the line in 13th place.
The Relssert Racing driver was mentally and physically drained as he extracted himself from his Isuzu truck, saying: “I didn’t get a great start in race one and was boxed in by a few drivers, which meant I had to climb back up the order. I managed to pick off a few trucks during the race, but we lost the draft to the main pack.
“The second race was unbelievable. My truck was all over the place and my eyes were on stalks – we altered the setup earlier in the weekend and it gave me too much speed for the wet conditions.”
He added: “Overall, we’ve had a challenging day and I hope to come back at a dry meeting and have a strong weekend. I don’t mind the wet, but mixed conditions on a green track aren't ideal. And because the rain fell in the minutes before the start, we didn’t have an opportunity to fettle out set-up. We'll go onwards and upwards at Thruxton.”
The 2013 Pickup Truck Racing Championship rolls on at the ultra-high speed Thruxton circuit on 1-2 June.