Slick Donnington track presents Onslow-Cole with challenge

Your Local Guardian: Smooth operator: Tom Onslow-Cole at Brands Hatch earlier this month Picture: Mark Greenwood Smooth operator: Tom Onslow-Cole at Brands Hatch earlier this month Picture: Mark Greenwood

New Malden’s Tom Onslow-Cole has revealed track conditions at Donington Park this weekend could put the skids under his solid start to the new British Touring Car Championship campaign.

The 24-year-old collected 22 points at Brands Hatch last time out, including a third-place finish in the opening race, to sit ninth in the drivers’ title race – 30 points adrift of early season leader Jason Plato.

The Donington circuit, one of Onslow-Cole's favourites, is close to East Midlands airport and is often dowsed in unburned aviation fuel from planes taking off, affecting traction on the track.

Dick Bennetts, eBay Motors team boss, has warned it can change lap times by more than a second on any given day, which can play havoc with race set-up and driving style.

And Onslow-Cole advocated a more cautious approach.

“The unburned fuel on the circuit can make it quite slick,” said Onslow-Cole.

“In the wet, it can be a lot worse, so it’s something you have to watch out for.

“You have to feel your way in, so it is a case of seeing what grip there is on the warm-up laps as it doesn’t change much – unless they change the flight path mid-race.”

Bennetts added: “The track can vary by a second a lap.

“One day it can be blindingly quick and the next time you go there it can be very slippery and you have to re-tune the car to suit those conditions.”

Race day is on Sunday with live coverage on ITV4.

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