After the high of scoring his first point at Brands Hatch, Donington Park didn't deliver the same good fortune. The weekend started well with a P18 in FP1, 2 places higher then regular rostrum vistor Sam Tordoff. Simpson spent the session finding his feet and getting a strong setup on the car ahead of the weekends racing.
As FP2 came along Matt had a much more balanced car and his eyes firmly set on qualifying but with the ever-changing weather forecast he and the team were unsure which way to go with the car:
'Fp1 was more of a exploration session, finding my feet and finding a balanced setup for the car, which we had for FP2. We found just under a second a lap in between the two sessions but as qualiying loomed, Spencer and I were unsure what the weather was going to do and what to do with the car. Thankfully we got it right and up until the red flag I was running as high as P5 in qualifying!'
Sadly, qualifying was disrupted by multiple red flags which meant with limited time to adjust the setup Matt slipped down the order:
'Unfortunately, after the red flag I didn't have time to heat up slicks so just had to stick a new pair of wets on the front and hope for the best. I still managed a new qualifying personal best of 22nd so there was plenty of positives to take from the session.'
Race day, the sun bright in the sky and no weather concerns, it was time to push! In the BTCC, the racing is door handle to door handle with Simpson learning the hard way. Not only with the contact but with the race officials to...
'Race 1 was going well and I made progress from 22nd to 16th until an unfortunate incident with Welch. I thought there was a gap, it turns out there wasn't and it resulted in quite a hefty shunt as I collected the spinning Proton.'
Simpson's Honda Civic Type R suffered heavy frontal damage but thanks to the hard working Speedworks Motorsport outfit Simpson was back on the grid for the second encounter:
'Race 2 the lads did a sterling job to get the car out I can't thank them enough. Sadly, didn't get much further then turn 1 until an incident with Fletcher put me not only down the order but in front of the officials. Therefore I would start race 3 from the back of the grid.'
'Race 3 we learnt a lot about the soft tyre setup which is an area we are working tirelessly to maximise. I am happy with the weekend as a whole, I learnt an awful lot and although the results were not mega, there is a great deal of data to go over with the aim to improve as the year goes on.'
Matt is in high spirits heading into Thurxton a circuit he has enjoyed past success at:
'Looking forward to Thruxton, the last time I visited I won both my races so fingers crossed we have a strong showing in the Honda! Going to do plenty of home work ahead of Thruxton, its a proper track, you have to be on a knife edge with the car to be fast and I am relishing the challenge. The season is going very well indeed, everything is getting better and better. My relationship with the lads in the garage is getting stronger, I am learning off Tom and I can't thank Speedworks enough for the fantastic job they are doing for me.'