Sandy racer Ben Tuck suffered more engine woes as his topsy-turvy start to the Caterham Supersport campaign continued at the weekend.
Although the first four races of 2017 have netted two thirds and a second, there has also been a heavy crash resulting in a retirement and engine reliability problems.
Ben suffered more engine issues in the latest instalment at Brands Hatch at the weekend.
Qualifying saw Ben’s engine gradually fail over the session until he retired with four minutes to go, after banking a lap good enough for only eighth on the grid.
With only two hours before Race 1, Ben’s team, PT Sports Cars, pulled out all the stops to install a brand new engine in just 90 minutes.
In an uncanny repeat of the engine problems Ben suffered at Zolder in 2016, yet another new engine was found wanting.
At Zolder the team were able to work through the night to repair the problem. However, with just minutes to spare, Ben took to the Brands Hatch track with an engine that was down on power and that went on to spill hot engine oil on his legs and pedals.
As his pace slowed in the race, Ben had to defend his position fiercely, and succeeded in losing only one place to in ninth.
Overnight investigations failed to provide a remedy and Ben was resigned to face a frustrating half hour of gradually falling backwards though the field in Race 2. However the motorsport rollercoaster ride had more drama to serve up.
At the start Ben succeeded in sticking with the top pack and snatched a place on the first lap. Fighting hard, he was able to minimise his power deficit to maintain his position and by lap 20 he had moved up to seventh place.
Five laps later the close battle at the front ended with the leader and chaser crashing out at Paddock Hill Bend, resulting in the race being neutralised under Code 60 rules, which restrict each driver to maintain position and drive at 60kph whilst the marshals dealt with the incident.
This gave Ben a crucial opportunity to take advantage of the restart of full racing. The Green Flag was given during the last lap and Ben timed his move perfectly to skip another place up to fourth which took him into the battle for second place.
To minimise his power shortfall Ben, followed inches from the car in front until the last second before jinking out in a bid for third across the line missing the final podium slot by just 900ths of a second.
Ben said: “We did all we could this weekend to deal with the situation that developed with the engine. The whole team pulled together, not just on the engine change but all weekend. Aviamics, Trafalgar and Saturn were key to us continuing this weekend so thanks go to them and also to Park Plaza”.
Ben next races at Donington Park at the Caterham Festival on July 8 and 9.
You can follow Ben at www.bentuck.com.