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AmD with Cobra Exhausts adds more points at Croft

BTCC Croft 2018 Audi S3 AmD Cobra SportThe AmD with Cobra Exhausts picked up more points as the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season reached the half way stage at Croft.

The team made the trip to North Yorkshire seeking to build on a strong weekend at Oulton Park, with the Audi S3 having been right on the pace in the corresponding meeting twelve months ago.

Having shown good pace through free practice, Tamworth-racer Ollie Jackson led the team’s challenge in qualifying with the 16th best time, which left him well placed to push for points in the opening race of the weekend.

Moving up to 14th spot on the opening lap and avoiding a clash ahead at turn one, Ollie ran inside the top 15 throughout to add two points to his championship tally.

More points looked possible after a strong start to race two saw Ollie running just outside the top ten, but he was then forced to pit when debris thrown up by a car ahead blocked the air intake on the front of the car.

Whilst he was able to rejoin, he was well down the order and could only finish 25th, with the final race of the weekend seeing him restricted to 22nd on the slower hard compound tyre.

Team-mate Sam Smelt was racing at Croft for the first time, with the Northampton-based driver qualifying in 32nd spot – his preparations for the session being hampered by a fuel pump issue that cost him valuable time in practice. 

The rookie would pick up a 25th place finish in the opening race of the weekend and then went one better in race two as he battled with the rear of the midfield pack.

 His weekend would draw to a close with a 26th place finish in race three as he achieved his aim of three finishes to gain further vital knowledge to carry into the second half of the year.

Ollie Jackson, #48 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:

“We showed some really good pace this weekend and I certainly think we deserved better. The car was mega in qualifying and if it hadn’t been for a fuel surge costing us a few tenths or a second, we might have actually broken into the top ten.

“We were able to learn a few lessons with the set-up on Sunday, but really the day was spoiled with the bad luck of flying debris landing over the air intake, which forced me to pit and cost us a good finish in race two.

“Without that, we could easily have been walking away from Croft and going into the summer break with a couple of top tens instead of a couple of points. Still, we’re now establishing ourselves as a team that is capable of consistently threatening the top ten, so I think we can look forward to a strong second half of the year.” 

Sam Smelt, #23 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:

“We had a couple of issues in practice which cost me vital time on track to learn the circuit considering I have never been to Croft before. It made it tough going into qualifying and it was all about trying to make progress from there in the races. 

“It was difficult to try and come through the field but in race three, the car was the best it has been and we made a good step forwards; I was just out of position to make the most of the pace we had. But considering the amount of laps I’ve done around Croft, it was a positive weekend.

“I’m really looking forward now to going to Snetterton after the summer break as it is the circuit where I have done the most lasts in the car and I’m hoping to push towards the points.” 

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

“It’s been a good weekend for both Ollie and Sam. We knew coming here that the car should be strong and Ollie showed that with the way in which he drove in the qualifying and the opening race. It was just unfortunate with what happened in race two as it robbed him of the chance to more points. 

“Sam also did a good job considering it was his first time at the circuit and he improved his performance throughout the weekend to be in a position where he was showing genuine pace in the final race.

“So far this season we have made good progress with the Audi and I think we can be confident about the second half of the year.”

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