The British Touring Car Championship headed to where it all started for the final three races of the season in Kent on the 2.4 miles of undulating curves best known as Brands Hatch GP. Hoping for rain across the two days Stewart took to the weekend with confidence having left Silverstone with promising pace.
Rain-laden clouds hung overhead as the pit lane opened for the penultimate free practice session of the year, Stewart took to the track on old tyres as he got to grips with the circuit having not driven completed a lap in almost 12 months, completing the session P31.
A few hours later the sun made an appearance from behind the clouds making the second free practice session a dry and sunny one as the green Focus took off out the pit lane once more. Fresh rubber and more seat time saw Stewart take the chequered flag improving his time from the first session by 8 tenths after suffering a knocking through the steering wheel through-out the session hindering his progression.
Fine rain began to fall moments before Stewart rolled into the pit lane ahead of the final qualifying session of the season. As the rain fell harder, the cars began to head out onto the circuit on the slick tyre with Stewart remaining in the pits to change to a softer setup and to mount the wet Dunlops.
Before being able to head onto the circuit, red flags flew, interrupting the session with Brett Smith beached in the gravel after sliding off in the greasy conditions. With the Honda of Smith moved to safety the circuit went green once more with the sky now clear of rain, enabling the circuit to dry quickly forcing Stewart to head to the pits to swap back to the slick tyres.
With reduced time remaining due to the delay of a second red flag, Lines didn’t pit for the tyre swap and remained out on track improving lap by lap. As the chequered dropped on the session Stewart completed his fastest lap, improving further, qualifying a respectable P28.
The fine rain fell through-out the night and continued into the morning as the cars were called to the circuit for the first race of the day. Lining up on the grid the rain came to stop seeing teams frantically change to the slick tyre before the cars set off for the warm up lap. With the vast majority of the field now on slicks, the team decided to take a gamble on the wet tyre hoping for more rain, being one of only 5 cars on wet option.
The lighting gantry flashed off commencing the race seeing the slick tyre drivers scrabbling for grip as the Stewart began carving through the field gaining seven places before the close of the first lap. No more rain was to fall seeing a dry line form around the track after five laps of racing, meaning the drivers on slick tyres were able to gain enough heat to work through the tricky conditions. Falling down the order Stewart was unable to keep up with the dry tyre runners bringing the Focus across the line in P29.
With the dry conditions seemingly staying, the cars took to the pit lane for the penultimate time this season before heading to the track to take up their grid positions. Engine notes rose before the field shot towards paddock hill bend, Stewart tucked in behind Price as the grid sorted themselves into a single file procession. Incidents ahead saw Lines bring the Focus home P25, after struggling race long with straight line pace.
The rain began to fall once again as the cars lined up on the grid for the final race of the season. A mad dash to change onto wets seemed to be the right decision as the cars set off racing once more. Two laps of frantic door to door action saw an appearance of the safety car with Lines relishing in the wet conditions having gained two positions, lapping with top ten pace in the opening laps.
Another two laps completed and the safety car peeled into the pits to release the field racing once more. The Honda of Brett Smith was next to be displaced by the green Focus before contact with Butcher saw the pair take a trip across the gravel demoting them down the order.
Picking up the pieces Lines got to work once more pushing forward to complete the race a very impressive P21 with the eighth fastest lap of the race; "Well it looks like we need to only race in wet weather because we seem to then be able to compete alongside the top drivers, but at the end of the day it was a great way to finish the day and season" commented Stewart Lines.