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Double points score in the BTCC at Rockingham

The AmD with Cobra Exhausts team was able to secure a brace of points scoring finishes from the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Rockingham.

 The team headed for the Northamptonshire circuit in confident mood having enjoyed strong results at the oval circuit in the past, with both Ollie Jackson and Sam Smelt optimistic about their chances.

 A solid performance in qualifying saw Tamworth-based Ollie put his Audi S3 19th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend, with a best lap just six-tenths of a second away from pole position.

Just missing out on the points scoring positions in race one, Ollie showed the race pace of the Audi in race two with a fine drive in drying conditions after an earlier shower to cross the line in eleventh spot, just missing out on pole position through the reverse grid draw. 

Once again showing the speed in the Audi in race three, Ollie fought his way as high as sixth despite running on the less favourable hard tyre and battled hard to keep the works Honda of Dan Cammish at bay before taking the flag in ninth spot for a second points finish of the weekend.

Northampton based team-mate Sam showed strong pace throughout practice and qualifying to end up with a personal best of 16th on the grid but his hopes of opening his points scoring account were ended on lap one of the opening race when he was hit going through the Deene Hairpin and forced to retire. 

At the back of the grid for race two as a result, Sam fought his way forwards to 23rd place but there would be further disappointment in race three when he was involved in contact that forced him into the pits to retire.

Ollie Jackson, #43 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:

“We could have enjoyed a better Saturday but I think the race pace was strong this weekend and it’s good to come away from Rockingham with two points finishes and a top ten. If anything, it’s a little disappointing that we didn’t manage to score in all three races.

“In the final race on the hard tyre we were particularly strong but I didn’t quite have the legs to get ahead of Adam Morgan and then had to make sure I kept Dan’s Honda behind. It shows the progress we have made however to be battling for position with cars that have won races, and that are run by the works teams.

“If this is the final time we come to Rockingham with the BTCC, I’m glad we’ve closed this chapter with a strong performance on track.”

Sam Smelt, #21 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:

“I finally managed to sort Saturday out this weekend with strong pace in practice and qualifying, which is the big positive for me to take away from Rockingham. I was quick throughout the day and even though I picked up my best result in qualifying, I felt there was more to come and was still a little bit disappointed not to be higher up the grid.

“Unfortunately Sunday turned out to be a day to forget and the contact on the opening lap of race one really put me on the back foot. I did what I could to try and make up places in race two but then more contact in the final race forced me to retire again which was a sad way to end race day.

“I’m going to put race day behind me and take the positives forwards to Knockhill where hopefully we can fight for some points.”

Shaun Hollamby, AmD with Cobra Exhausts team principal, said:

“I think it’s a mark of the progress we have made with the Audi that Ollie is coming away from the weekend disappointed that he didn’t get three points finishes as twelve months ago, we’d have been delighted with a top ten. The grid is so competitive this season and he really held his own on track against some of the top drivers with some really strong performances, and he battled hard to earn his results. 

“This has been a strong weekend for Sam in terms of his pace and his performance on Saturday was very impressive. To get into the top ten in practice and then take his best result in qualifying showed his progress but he was let down by his start in race one which left him right in the middle of the trouble that kicked off. It’s a shame because I feel he could have scored this weekend but we are into the circuits he knows and I don’t think a points finish will be far away.”

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