It may have only been his third ever weekend in the British Truck Racing Championship and he may have done virtually no running at the Pembrey circuit before the first race, but that didn’t stop Paul Rivett claiming his maiden truck win in Wales.
Four-time Renault UK Clio Cup champion Rivett entered the Pembrey weekend, just like the Brands Hatch season-opener, on the back foot. Gearbox issues on his MAN TGA truck throughout Friday testing hampered the Tachosys-sponsored driver’s progress and he was unable to set a lap in qualifying.
“We did the first test session but just kept popping in and out of the pits and then went out to do the second session and Wayne [Eason, WDE Motorsport boss] was like ‘hang on, that doesn’t sound right’,” explained Rivett. “One of the teeth had started to break up and that had shattered everything else.
“So it was Dave Jenkins [fellow truck racer] to the rescue again as he found us a gearbox. We got that to the track at 9:30 on Friday night and the guys worked until 2:30 in the morning getting it fitted. But there was a little issue so we missed qualifying.”
Despite this, Rivett was still able to progress from the back of the grid to fifth in the opening race. But then came the reversed-grid contest and it was time for Rivett to really shine.
A storming start allowed him to take the lead and he was able to hold on to take his first Division 2 victory.
“We didn’t expect to win as we were about 8mph down on pace,” admitted Rivett. “The new gearbox had different ratios to the old one and that was costing us quite a bit of time.
“I started fourth and just went round the outside of the three in front at the first corner – I braked as late as I dared! I managed to get a gap and just held on to it. I just got my head down and drove as fast as I possibly could.
“It was fantastic to get that first win. It was a really difficult start to the weekend but I seem to shine in the races!”
Rivett made further progress in the final two races – taking fourth then third place finishes – to leave him second in the points.
“I’ve got to thank Dave Jenkins – without him that would be two weekends in a row that could’ve spelled disaster, so we owe him big time,” added Rivett. “Also Wayne was more hands on than ever, really working hard on the truck.”
There’s now a seven-week gap until the next event at Thruxton on June 29-30, allowing the WDE team plenty of time to develop the truck. In the meantime, Rivett is back in action this weekend at Croft in very different machinery as he makes his Fun Cup debut in a five-hour race.