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  • Cobra Sport AmD Racing seeks to maintain title challenge at Thruxton

    The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will look to maintain its bid for title honours when the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returns to Thruxton this weekend for the seventh meeting of the campaign.

    The West Thurrock-based team makes its second trip to the high-speed Hampshire circuit on the back of a stunning weekend last time out at Snetterton, where a race win for Rory Butcher and a third podium of the year for Sam Tordoff saw the Honda squad secure more points than any other team on the grid.

    Rory’s second victory of the campaign saw him move back into the top three in the championship standings, and also strengthened his lead in both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy standings.

    The Fife racer enjoyed a strong weekend at Thruxton during the third round of the year back in May, with a podium finish being the highlight of a meeting that ended with him in a share of the overall championship lead.

    The 32-year-old will once again have to carry additional success ballast on his Honda Civic Type R but goes into the weekend confident of trying to replicate the results he enjoyed earlier in the season to keep his championship challenge firmly on track.

    Leeds-based team-mate Sam endured a frustrating weekend during his first trip to Thruxton earlier in the season, when a battery issue in the closing stages of race one robbed him of a certain victory after an impressive drive from pole position.

    Although he was still able to secure a podium finish from the weekend, it was very much a case of what might have been for the 30-year-old, who heads into round seven of the year looking to build on a strong run of form in recent events.

    After a tough start to the year, Sam has bounced back with a six straight top six finishes – including two podiums – and will look to try and replicate the pace he showed back in May as he seeks to climb into the top ten in the overall championship standings.

    Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
    "We head for Thruxton with confidence high on the back of a fantastic showing for the whole team last time out at Snetterton, and hopefully we can build on our results from there during the weekend ahead.

    "We know that the Honda is going to be a good package from the pace we showed when we raced at Thruxton earlier in the year, and we now have the added benefit of more time with the car which can only help us.

    "I'm confident that both Rory and Sam can get the job done during the weekend ahead and it would be great if we can challenge for some more silverware to maintain our good form."

    Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
    "We were able to learn quite a lot when we raced at Thruxton earlier in the year, and I know there are places where I can improve when we return this weekend. I know other drivers will say the same, but I've spent time looking back at the May event and I know exactly where I can gain time and improve when we return; it's just a case of putting it into practice.

    "It's looking like the weather might not be too good, which could really mix things up as Thruxton is a challenging circuit at the best of times. On the back of my victory at Snetterton, I'm in a good place in the standings and I know what I need to do in the remaining rounds.

    "If I'm being honest, I'm not going to worry about the two BMW drivers ahead of me in the standings as it really is their championship to lose. My focus is on doing the best job I can and beating the drivers around me in the standings because it's so close between us all and I want to make sure I stay ahead."

    Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
    “I showed really good pace at Thruxton earlier in the season to secure pole and would have won race one had it not been for a mechanical issue we could do nothing about. We go into the weekend with no ballast again so have to focus on qualifying and hopefully that will set us up for a strong showing across the remainder of the weekend.

    “Of all the circuits we could go back to for a second go, Thruxton is ideal and the fact we have been there this season is hugely important. It’s the same for everyone in terms of the data they have, but we were quick there in May and hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”

  • Cobra Sport AmD Racing takes stunning Snetterton victory

    The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team enjoyed a stunning weekend on track as the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season resumed at Snetterton.

    The squad was hoping to build on a strong opening half to the campaign, with drivers Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff having secured multiple podium finishes with the team’s new Honda Civic Type Rs.

    Qualifying saw Leeds racer Sam leading the team’s challenge as he secured third on the grid, with Rory just missing out on a place in the top ten despite the additional success ballast he was forced to carry into the weekend.

    With drivers forced to run all three compound of Dunlop tyre on race day, strategy would be key heading into Sunday, with Sam electing to run the most favourable soft tyre at the first opportunity.

    Although he would lose a place to the Ford Focus of Tom Chilton at the start, Sam reclaimed the position when Chilton went off at Coram with a puncture and kept it to the finish for his third podium result of the campaign.

    Running on the medium compound tyre in race two, Sam would go under the radar somewhat with a solid drive to fifth place, which left him on the second row of the grid for the final race of the weekend thanks to the reverse grid draw.

    With the hard tyre fitted for the final race, Sam duly wrapped up another solid weekend on track with sixth place, with his results across the Snetterton meeting leaving him on the fringes of the top ten in the standings.

    Fife ace Rory elected to run the hard tyre in race one, taking the decision to get rid of the least favourable rubber and the additional weight at the first opportunity.

    Although he would slip back to 14th during the hustle and bustle of lap one, the Scottish racer was able to work his way back to eleventh by the finish for a solid points score.

    Rory would also elect to run the medium compound tyre in the second race, but contact from Tom Oliphant’s BMW at Coram saw him lose places having battled into the top ten, with twelfth place being his end result.

    Running on the soft tyre in race three, Rory would produce one of the drives of the season to battle his way through the pack into third place, where he became embroiled in a three-way battle for the lead with Jason Plato and Ash Sutton.

    Going three-wide with the pair into Brundle, Rory was able to get ahead into the lead and went on to secure his second victory of the campaign, and his first ‘on the road’.

    The combined points across the weekend also saw Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing secure the teams’ trophy for the first time, having picked up more points than any other team.

    Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:

    “Race three was what touring car racing is all about and for us to get that win is fantastic. It’s also brilliant to have won the teams’ trophy and to be honest, I didn’t even know that existed as it isn’t something we have ever been in contention for!

    “There is a massive amount of team work that has gone into this weekend. Sam picked up two great results in the first two races and then Rory has done a brilliant job in race three.

    "Credit has to go to Sam, because he let Rory through in that final race when he knew he was quicker, and it is great to have two drivers who are mature enough to work together in that way. Rory’s move for the lead was then one of the best overtaking moves I’ve seen; how exciting was that race!

    “We made some big changes to the car this weekend and it all paid off. We’ve learned a lot about the Honda that will help us going forwards and a huge thank you to everyone involved.”

    Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:

    “I’m absolutely buzzing at the end of the weekend. It was nice to get the win at Brands Hatch at the start of the season, but that was given to us because of a penalty for someone else, and to now win on the road means so much to me and the team.

    “We had a tough time in qualifying and the opening two races didn’t quite go to plan for us. The engineers made some pretty radical changes to the car, and it really came alive in the final race. I had to take a few risks and make some hard moves, and when I got up towards Ash and Jason, I knew a podium was on.

    “Mike [Bushell – engineer] was on the radio and told me to play it smart and when we were going down the back straight, I got a run on them both and had to go for the inside. It was a big risk to go three-wide, but it was a risk I had to take and we got the reward.

    “It’s an incredible feeling to secure the win and to be able to stand on the top step of the podium. I’m grinning from ear-to-ear and this is the perfect way to kick off the second half of the season.”

    Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:

    “We’ve had another good weekend, put some good points on the board and have been able to make up more ground in the standings as a result. The car has been tricky this weekend as the circuit was different to when we came here for the test, but we qualified well and it set up race day.

    “It shows that if you qualify at the front, it’s easier to stay out of trouble and that is what we’ve been able to do. It’s all about being consistent and that is what we have done with our results. Three top ten finishes is a good return.

    “Rory did a great job to secure the victory in race three, and as a team this has been a brilliant weekend. To get the teams’ trophy at the end of it is a fantastic reward for the work everyone has put in.”

  • Cobra Sport AmD Racing adds to BTCC podium tally at Oulton Park

    The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team was able to celebrate a fourth podium finish of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season on a strong weekend on track at Oulton Park.

    The team made the trip to Cheshire ready to fight back from a tough weekend at Croft, where qualifying issues had hampered both Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff in their quest for points.

    Having topped the times across the two free practice sessions, Leeds racer Sam led the team’s challenge in qualifying as he put his Honda Civic Type R second on the grid, lapping just 0.027s down on the pole sitting BMW of Colin Turkington.

    Although he would lose places off the line when the lights went out, Sam quickly slotted into fifth place and maintained his position through to the finish despite close attention from Tom Oliphant behind.

    Race two would follow a similar theme for the former series runner-up as he held station throughout the 18 lap encounter, defending well in the closing stages to keep the rapid BMW of Stephen Jelley at bay.

    Seventh on the reverse grid for race three, Sam found himself up in the top four having avoided a chaotic incident ahead of the third lap and would dice with Oliphant’s BMW before crossing the line in fourth spot.

    However, a post race penalty for Jake Hill meant he inherited third for a second podium finish of the season, leaving Sam 13th in the overall standings going into the summer break and fourth in the Independents' title race.

    Fife racer Rory was eager to get his title challenge back on track and qualified in fifth place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend.

    A strong start saw him move up into fourth place when the lights went out after battling ahead of Sam and the Scottish racer would hold his place to the finish despite a mid-race Safety Car period having been unable to match the pace of the three cars ahead.

    A seventh place finish in race two saw Rory put more solid points on the board and he headed into the final race of the weekend hoping to impress from fifth on the grid.

    Having held station through the opening laps, Rory was lucky to avoid the incident at the start of lap three that caught out a number of the front-runners and emerged in second place – but nearly six seconds down on leader Hill.

    Hunting down the Audi ahead, Rory closed the gap until he was in a position to attack for the lead, which he did at Island on the penultimate lap. Unfortunately, the Honda would slide wide on coolant dropped earlier in the race and Rory slipped back to sixth spot where he would remain to the flag – then inheriting fifth when Hill was handed a time penalty.

    At the half way stage of the season, he sits fourth in the overall standings and leads both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy.

    A strong haul of points for the team, second only to the works BMW outfit, means Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing holds third in the Teams' Championship and is second in the Independent Teams' standings.

    Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:

    “It’s been a really strong weekend for us as a team, and to come away from Oulton Park second only to West Surrey Racing in terms of points scored is fantastic when you consider how strong the BTCC grid is at the moment.

    “Both drivers have done a great job on track, and it was good to see Sam pick up three solid finishes from the weekend and take another podium. He hasn’t had the rub of the green so far this season, and hopefully this weekend will lead into more strong results in the second half of the year.

    “Rory’s pace in the last race was fantastic and that showed in the way he chased down Jake for the lead. Of course it’s a shame that he missed out on what would have been a victory but to come away from the weekend a point away from the top three in the championship is great for him and we need to work hard to maintain that.

    “We knew that expectations would rise this season with the Honda and to be where we are in the Teams' Championship at the half-way stage is a brilliant achievement for us as we aren’t a big team and we’ve shown that we can really take the fight to the more established front-runners.

    “With a two-day test coming up to work on the cars, we’re confident of keeping our strong form going in the second half of the year.”

    Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:

    “It was important to get some good points after Croft and to beat 30 across the weekend is another solid haul. The car was strong all weekend and we were able to make some good progress in making improvements, which was reflected in the pace in race three.

    “Of course there is frustration at what happened in the final race and I’m a bit disappointed for the team as I feel I let them down a bit with an error on my part. They had given me a great car and I was making the most of it until that penultimate lap when I had the moment at Island.

    “In hindsight, I could have just settled for the position but these things happen in racing and we have to just put it behind us and look ahead to the upcoming test at Snetterton and then the second half of the season.”

    Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:

    “I’m really pleased with how the weekend has gone. To qualify on the front row of the grid and get so close to the BMW was great and that really set us up for race day as Oulton Park is one of the hardest circuits on the calendar to overtake.

    “It provided a real platform for us to pick up a decent haul of points and while we didn’t quite have the pace I would have liked on race day, I can’t complain with three top five finishes.

    “I had to drive with an eye on my mirrors more than looking ahead throughout race day and it certainly wasn’t easy, but hopefully the results we’ve secured this weekend can help kick-start us for the rest of the year.

    “As a team, we’ve scored a load of points this weekend to go into the summer break in a strong position and given how the Honda has performed at Snetterton in the past, I think we can look forward to heading there for the next round in a months time.”

    Photo credit: Dickon Siddall

  • Lomax Extends Championship Lead in Wales, with Double Honours!

    Craig Lomax and his XtremeRX team headed to the first of two double headers in this campaign at the home of Welsh motorsport, Pembrey.

    The compact circuit is a layout that suits the Cobra Exhaust backed driver with its tight and technical lines. Round 3 that was held on the Saturday was run in the clockwise direction. Because of the Sunny weather dust was a major factor and Lomax’s experience came to the fore. He justifiably earnt himself a front row start for the final after sitting in second place at the intermediate stage after solid performances. Despite a wild move off the line by another driver from further back on the grid he kept his line and brought the car home in second on the track and first in class.

    The XtremeRX team only had body work to prepare for the next day and round 4. This time racing was run in the opposite, and arguably faster direction. Lomax picked up where he left off on the previous day and got straight down to business. The weather, however was on the turn. But despite this the plucky Yorkshireman fought off tough competition to reproduce his front row spot for the final. The sun finally gave way to rain just before the finals started making track conditions very slippery. After a great start and a well-timed joker on the first lap he made space so that he could start to record faster and faster laps taking the flag in third place on track and yet again first in class.

    Lomax now sits in a commanding first place in the 2019 Super 1600 championship with his nearest challenger 35 points adrift.

    The championship now has another short break and then heads back to historic Lydden Hill on 26th August for round 5. Track action gets underway at 09:00

    Craig Lomax, #24:

    ‘We came to Wales with high hopes for the car as we had some new upgrades. The car performed perfectly and it was great for the team to bring her home first in class twice! To have such a commanding lead at this stage of the year is awesome. I can’t wait for the next round at Lydden’.

  • Cobra Sport AmD Racing battles hard for Croft points

    The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team battled back from a tough qualifying session to score more solid points from the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season.

    The team headed for North Yorkshire in confident mood after Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff both took to the podium at Thruxton in the previous round, with hopes high of more success on track.

    Despite showing well in practice with additional ballast on his car, Rory was left with work to do on race day after a heavy accident in qualifying before he’d been able to set a timed lap.

    Fine work from the team to repair his damaged Honda Civic Type R allowed the Fife racer to start the opening race from 29th place, and he fought hard on track despite being on the less favourable hard tyre to work his way up to 18th place.

    Battling towards the top ten in race two, Rory was well placed to get into a position to potentially benefit from the reverse grid draw before contact from the Subaru of Senna Proctor forced him wide at the hairpin.

    The end result was a 14th place finish, but a storming drive in a wet final race saw Rory fight hard with the rapid BMWs of Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan to eventually cross the line in seventh.

    It leaves the Scot sixth in the championship standings at the end of the weekend and second in the Independents’ Trophy.

    Team-mate Sam was also left with work to do on race day after a number of red flags and traffic prevented him from setting a representative time.

    From 26th on the grid, Sam showed the pace in the Honda to race forwards into the points before contact from Proctor at the hairpin dropped him back down the pack; with a further trip across the grass leading to a pit stop that saw him cross the line 23rd.

    Fighting back to 15th place in race two, Sam would end the weekend with 13th in race three to secure two points finishes, although the Leeds racer was left to wonder what might have been.

    Sam ends the weekend 17th in the overall standings and seventh in the Independents’ Trophy.

    Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:

    “Croft was always going to be a case of damage limitation and that definitely proved to be the case!

    “Qualifying was hampered by multiple red flags and the rain and it didn’t go our way, with the accident for Rory and Sam being delayed in getting out for his final chance to set a lap-time.

    “The real highlight for me from the weekend was the way in which the whole team worked hard in challenging conditions, and also the way that Rory took on the BMWs of Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington in race three.

    “To see both drivers score points rewarded the team for their hard work and we’re looking forward to Oulton Park where we’re confident that the Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Hondas will shine!”

    Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:

    “I have to say a huge thank you to the team for getting the car fixed for race day after what happened in qualifying as it was a big hit.

    “To be honest, I hoped we could have taken more from race day but the tyre selections worked against us and when we got rid of the weight after race one, there wasn’t really anyone on the hard tyre in race two. Getting punted off the road also didn’t help….

    “Had the final race been dry then I think we could have really pushed up the order because most of the grid would have been on the hard tyre, but we still did well on the wets and to make up seven spots and fight with Turkington and Jordan shows how competitive we are.

    “It’s nice to pushing guys like that as a circuit where the BMW is so strong and hopefully at Oulton Park we’ll have a bit more luck.”

    Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:

    “When you don’t qualify well, it can be hard to come back from it and sadly that proved to be the case for us this weekend.

    “Despite that, I think we were on for a decent result in race one before I got forced off, which undid all of the good work that we had done to that point.

    “It meant race two was another recovery drive and then we missed out on the one bit of luck we could have had in race three when everyone else was going to run the hard tyre and it rained.

    “It’s been difficult again for me this weekend and hopefully my luck will turn at Oulton Park.”

  • Victory for Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher at Croft

    Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher enjoyed its most successful weekend of the season so far during rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, securing a commanding race 3 win, double podium and top ten result at Croft (June 15/16).  

    The fourth meeting of the year gave the Motorbase-run squad much cause for celebration. After a season-best qualifying result for Tom Chilton and Ollie Jackson, Chilton went on to claim his third podium of the year, second overall win and third independent win on the North Yorkshire circuit.

    Saturday’s disjointed qualifying session saw no less than five red flags deployed during the 30 minute period. With numerous on-track incidents halting proceedings, Chilton pushed his #3 Focus RS to the limit to secure a second-row start with P3 on his first flying lap in the dying minutes. Just a lap later, stablemate Ollie Jackson took the P8 spot – recording the squad’s highest-placed position of the season, and his personal best-ever qualifying result.

    Sunday’s opening race called for a defensive masterclass from Chilton as he held off a full-race length challenge from the domineering BMW’s. A strong start from the Reigate-racer saw him hold onto third from the fast-starting WSR machines. Shielding his podium position for the entire 18-lap challenge, the 34-year-old remained steadfast under unrelenting pressure to bring the Focus home in P3, claiming his 3rd rostrum visit of the year and 55th BTCC-career podium.

    Jackson’s strong start to the weekend looked set to deliver a top 5 finish for the #48 Focus. An outstanding start saw the Motorbase-man running as high as 6th in the opening laps. Running wide as the pack raced through the complex on lap 5, however, Jackson clipped the curb sending his Ford into the marker, sustaining damage to the front-left wing. A daring effort saw him hold on for another 3 laps as the bodywork rubbed on the tyre before it finally gave way as the field was running under the safety car, pitching him into the barriers and ending his race.

    Carrying 42kg of ballast into race 2, Chilton battled hard to stay in the points-scoring zone as he came under increasing pressure from the lighter, charging pack. Dropping down the order in the opening laps, he eventually took the flag in 9th collecting another much-welcome haul of points for the championship challenge.

    Lining up at the back of the grid, Jackson made steady progress through the field. Seeking to make amends for his earlier error, the 35-year-old showed true grit to push forward an impressive 8 grid spots on the narrow circuit and crossed the line in P20.

    Starting from pole by virtue of the reversed-grid draw, Chilton led a commanding lights-to-flag charge off the line in race 3. Choosing to stick with the Dunlop Blu-Response on the greasy, drying track, he expertly piloted the #3 Focus to the overall and Independent race win and rarely looked challenged for the race lead.

    Jackson’s fight-back from a tricky start to his race day also continued. Making a strong start off the line, the Midlands-based driver had charged into the points by the end of the first tour. Scything his way to 11th by the mid-way point, he looked set to challenge for a top ten finish. Despite lapping faster than Cammish’s 10th-placed Honda, the gap was just out of reach with the remaining laps available, eventually claiming P11 as the flag dropped, securing his highest-placed finish of the season.

    The weekend’s results have helped to move the squad up to third in the Independent Teams standings, with Tom Chilton sitting third in the Indy Drivers’ points. Both driver and team also remain 7th in the overall standings ahead of the next meeting at Oulton Park.

    Team Manager Oly Collins;
    “That was a brilliant end to a pretty tough weekend. A fantastic team effort from all involved, the crew have worked flat-out all day. Tom was mega all weekend and drove a very clever race 3 on the drying circuit.

    “Unfortunately Ollie’s weekend was hampered by a small mistake in race one which had a disastrous result for him. Up to that point, he was on fire and proving his pace with his best qualifying to date and was looking on for a great race one finish. Sadly, it didn’t quite go to plan. Tom’s results keep him in the mix for the championship which is the aim at the end of the day.”

    #3 Tom Chilton;
    “It was a perfect weekend for and the team. We’ve managed not just a double podium, but we got the win as well. And we get to keep this one! We took three top ten’s for my car, and Ollie nearly got a top ten which was great starting from 20th. I’m very happy for him.

    “I’m really pleased with our qualifying results this weekend. I feel like we’ve finally found our ideal set-up for the wet and dry. We had a bad weekend at Thruxton. Because we did it made us re-analyse where we were and it’s moved us forward.

    “We’re in it to win it. Everyone in the team is working hard to put all of our knowledge together and make this old girl go faster this year and we’ve done a great job. I’m really looking forward to going to Oulton Park next. I’ll be looking for more of the same.”

    #48 Ollie Jackson;

    “Salvaged I think is the word I’d use to describe this weekend! Qualifying was a high-point. P8 is my best-ever BTCC result and I think we’ve cracked it with the car now. The pace is definitely there.

    “I think we’ve got our heads around what we need and what our set-up tweaks are. The changes that we’ve made paid off in qualifying, and to be fair it was looking good in race 1 until I made a mistake. That kind of spoilt the weekend really. We certainly had top 5 pace, and it was a real shame that we didn’t get to capitalise on that.

    “Thankfully we made our way through the pack in race 3 and picked up some nice points for the championship.”

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