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  • Writer's pictureMatrix Press

2023 Mission accomplished!

23rd October 2023

Matrix Motorsport’s Jeff Alden ended his 2023 season having achieved more than he set out to at the beginning of the year, having competed in the final three TCR UK meetings and getting to grips with his Vauxhall Astra TCR

The highly competitive TCR UK Championship for global-specification touring cars that enjoys well-populated grids and attracts some of the top saloon car drivers in the country, reached its 2023 conclusion at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 21st & 22nd October.

Pre-event testing and Free Practice sessions went well for Jeff and the DW Racing team - that prepare and run the Astra – with the wet conditions providing a great leveller when it came to comparison lap times with other drivers. Consequently, hopes were high for Saturday afternoon’s Qualifying. However, the as-yet untraceable overheating issue from previous events reared its head again and an interrupted session did precious little to assist Jeff in terms of grid position.

The team technicians did what they could to rectify the engine’s random temperature surges before Race 1 at midday on Sunday. Following a good start in the now dry and sunny conditions, Jeff set about making up places over the next 25-minutes.

However, his aspirations were once again curtailed when the red warning light made yet another unwelcome appearance. Determined to finish the race, Jeff short-shifted to keep the revs down and, with others around him experiencing their own problems, a respectable 15th place finish was well received.

Race two later in the day had the makings of a far better outcome, with a 15th place grid start out of 21 cars, placing Jeff well and truly in the mix. Whilst a big attraction of the championship is its close racing and field of quick drivers, this irresistible blend of competition can sometimes lead to confrontation – which is exactly what happened on the opening lap when four cars made significant contact and the race was stopped.

Having avoided the incident ahead of him, Jeff’s restart saw him up to 12th place – and then following a safety car period, 11th. However, any hopes of a top-ten finish went up in steam when the temperature gremlins returned. Knowing he would be unable to maintain position and continuing may damage the engine, Jeff wisely took the decision to retire from the race.

“Whilst it wasn't the way we wanted to end the last race of the season, I am really happy with the way things have gone over the past few days. When everything was running as it should in testing and practice, I was able to set lap times that would place me close to the top ten. In fact, at one point, I was able to get within half-a-second of my teammate in a similar car.

“Three meetings, six races and a series of test in, I feel far more confident in the car - and my driving too! My plan was to finish the season without damage and learn as much about the car as possible, which is exactly how things have worked out. We’ll now overhaul the Astra during the winter months, which means car and driver will be ready and raring to go when next year’s TCR UK Championship kicks off back at Brands Hatch on 13th & 14th April.”

Matrix Motorsport’s 2023 programme is supported by Matrix Group Services, HVAC FM Recruitment, SEE Services, Gemstones Consultancy, MML Maintenance Management, Inspired Media and RPM Promotions.


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