Exol sponsored Rooster Racing gets off to a flyer!

Luke Taylor hadn’t driven a lap in his MKR Renault before Good Friday, and by Bank Holiday Monday had a podium finish to his name.

The major Brands Hatch event was the first weekend of BTRC racing in 2016 and the first chance for the Rooster Racing team and driver Luke Taylor – the youngest driver in this year’s championship – to get a feel for the new truck.

With that in mind, Saturday’s practice and qualification laps went to form, leaving Luke 11th on the grid (from 14 drivers) and on the second to last row. “It’s what we expected,” said team manager David Taylor before the first race of the season on a wet, windy Sunday.

“Luke hadn’t even changed the gears on the truck before Friday so the weekend is mainly about learning what the truck can do. We’ll be happy to be competitive.”

It’s fair to say that Luke and Rooster more than achieved that aim. After two nerve-wracking first lap red flag stoppages, Luke fought his way skilfully through the pack, coming from 11th to register a highly creditable fifth place finish.

It was an impressive debut for team, driver and vehicle. “One thing we’ve learnt already is that the truck is fast,” said David. The trucks are limited to 100mph but the Renault showed an impressive acceleration on straights and was noticeably nippy out of turns like the famous Druids hairpin at Brands Hatch.

Luke was pleased with his own performance but knew there was more to come. “I could get more of the truck, but it’s tricky setting it up for the wet weather,” he said.

“It’s a very powerful truck, too powerful for these conditions. If it’s dryer it will grip better. But I think I just needed three more laps and I’d have caught fourth.”

Luke’s prediction of better things to come would prove uncannily accurate. After a decent seventh place in the second of Sunday’s races, Monday dawned windy but dry.

Was the Renault as powerful as team Rooster hoped? The first of Monday’s races would see Luke duelling with some of the most experienced drivers in top level truck racing. His second place finish was an unexpected surprise and an entirely deserved one after 15 minutes of thrilling, bumper to bumper racing. It topped off a highly satisfying first weekend for Rooster.

It’s now “roll on Pembrey” after an Easter Weekend which proved that Rooster have the team, truck and driver to mix it with the big boys of British truck racing in 2016. G-Truck will be right behind them throughout the season.