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  • AmD with Cobra Exhausts pay the price of contact at Silverstone

    The AmD with Cobra Exhausts team was left battered and bruised following a contact-filled penultimate weekend of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Silverstone. 

    The team headed for the Northamptonshire circuit eager to fight back from a tough weekend at Knockhill, with drivers Ollie Jackson and Sam Smelt targeting points around the short National layout. 

    Tamworth-based Ollie qualified 23rd on the grid for the opening race in his Audi S3 having posted a best time that was less than half a second away from pole position in the ultra competitive field. 

    Despite running the less favourable hard tyre in the opening race, Ollie managed to battle his way forwards to 17th place to leave him well placed to push towards the points in race two.

    Although he ran in the top 15 in the early stages, an overheating engine and mid-race contact would hurt his chances of adding to his points tally and resulted in him dropping back down the order before eventually finishing in 25th spot.

    The overheating gremlins would continue in the final race but proved to be the least of Ollie’s problems when contact between two drivers ahead meant he had nowhere to go when the BMW of Stephen Jelley was suddenly sideways in front of him at Luffield. 

    Heavy contact left the Audi nursing extensive damage to the front end and put Ollie out of the race on the spot.

    Northampton racer Sam had qualified 28th in the sister Audi for his home meeting but would see his race day affected by multiple bouts of contact that limited his ability to race forwards through the pack.

    Having briefly broken into the top 20, Sam would take a 22nd place finish from the opening race of the weekend before he took the flag in 26th in race two whilst running on the slower hard tyre.

    Starting to make up places in race three, Sam would endure more contact from the same driver who had hit him in race one and had to settle for 23rd place.

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

    “It’s hard to know what to say about the weekend and I leave Silverstone frustrated that an incident like the one in race three has left us with a car that is extensively damaged through no fault of our own. 

    “It had been a tricky race day because of the need to run the hard tyre in race one and with the overheating issue we had in race two, but we could have possibly salvaged some points from race three.

    “Sadly, Stephen was turned around right in front of me and I had nowhere to go but right into the side of him, which was a big hit for us both. It’s disappointing because it’s an incident that shouldn’t have happened.”

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

    “It’s a shame that we haven’t been able to come away from race day with some stronger results because we had some decent pace in the car on Sunday. Qualifying didn’t go to plan, but in the opening race we were making up places before contact damaged the rear and affected the handling, which saw me drop back. 

    “Race two was difficult on the hard tyre but we could have done okay in race three without more contact from the same driver. It’s disappointing because I don’t think the results reflect the pace that we had in the car and I’ll go to Brands Hatch looking to try and end the season with some decent results to my name.”

    Shaun Hollamby, AmD with Cobra Exhausts team principal said:

    “It’s fair to say that I’m not happy heading away from Silverstone because poor driving standards have affected both of the Audi drivers this weekend.

    “Although Ollie’s race ending shunt in race three was down to bad luck, throughout the day there have been examples of push to pass and people running others off the track, which isn’t on.

    “It’s something that needs to be looked at because we are seeing completely needless incidents where the end result is damaged cars and large repair bills. There needs to be a few race bans handed out to stop the same persistent offenders. 

    “We have a lot of work to do ahead of Brands Hatch, but we’ll leave no stone unturned to make sure we come out fighting on home soil for the season finale.”

  • AmD with Cobra Exhausts endure tough weekend at Knockhill

    The AmD with Cobra Exhausts team endured a weekend to forget at Knockhill when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed for Scotland for the eighth meeting of the year. 

    The team made the long trip north hoping to push for points with its two Audi S3s, with drivers Ollie Jackson and Sam Smelt both optimistic about their chances on track. 

    Tamworth-based Ollie bounced back well from an off into the barriers in second practice to qualify 19th on the grid for race one with a best time just half a second away from pole, and he fought his way forwards to 16th in tricky wet conditions in the opening race of the weekend.

    Sadly, race two was over within moments of the start when he was forced wide heading through Butchers and suffered a spin into the gravel at the same place where he had gone off in practice, which left Ollie at the back of the grid for race three.

    From 29th spot, Ollie had worked his way up to the fringes of the top 20 before an issue with the alternator cable saw him forced back into the pits, putting him into retirement for the second time. 

    Team-mate Sam qualified 29th in the sister car and put in a strong performance in race one to finish 22nd – his best lap during the race being a match for the third placed Honda of Dan Cammish.

    In arguably the most tricky conditions of race day, Sam then worked his way up to the fringes of the points in race two before he hit standing water going into turn one and aquaplaned off into the barriers at speed, forcing officials to bring out the red flag and halt the race.

    Great work from the team saw the repaired Audi take to the grid for race three, but Sam was forced back into the pits to retire shortly after the start due to an issue with the lights – something drivers are required to run for safety reasons in such conditions. 

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

    “It’s been a weekend to forget for us sadly. We’ve shown some promise and the car is certainly a big improvement compared to last season but things didn’t go our way. After my error in practice, the team did a great job to repair the car for qualifying and we were in a good position going into race day. 

    “Sadly little things have cost us dear and slight contact ended up with me going into the wall in race two and then the alternator cable went in race three which was frustrating. If you look at how that race panned out and where people finished, then we could have scored some points which would at least have given us something to take away from the weekend, but c’est la vie.”

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

    “It’s certainly been an eventual weekend. We had some good pace in the wet and had we been a bit higher in qualifying then I’m sure we could have pushed for some points. To be honest, I think it was still possible in that second race as the car was strong but I just hit some standing water going into turn one and couldn’t do anything to stop it.

    "It was a big hit with the barriers and the team did a great job to get the car out for the final race. It’s a shame that something so stupid as the lights tripping out forced us to retire from race three but the speed in the car was strong and I’ve gained a lot of confidence in the conditions despite what happened.”

    Shaun Hollamby, AmD with Cobra Exhaust team principal said:

    “It’s been a tough weekend that could have been very different had things fallen in our favour on race day. Conditions on track were very tricky and those conditions have ultimately played a major role in both Ollie and Sam coming away from Knockhill having endured their most challenging weekends of the year. 

    “It’s a shame because both drivers have shown good pace at one point or another through the weekend but come away with nothing to show for it and hopefully that’s something that won’t be repeated when we get to Silverstone next time out.”

  • 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.”

  • AmD with Cobra Exhausts secures Diamond Double points at Snetterton

    The AmD with Cobra Exhausts team was able to bring home a well-earned points finish in the special Diamond Double race as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumed at Snetterton.

    The team headed for the Norfolk circuit keen to challenge for points on the back of a solid test earlier in the month, with drivers Ollie Jackson and Sam Smelt both confident about their chances.

    Tamworth-based Ollie qualified in a solid 22nd place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend with a best time just 1.2secs away from pole, whilst he would then secure 19th on the grid for the extended Diamond Double race in a second qualifying session held later on Saturday afternoon.

    Wet weather arrived for Sunday morning and the opening race would end in disappointment for Ollie when he was caught up in an incident at the start that forced him to retire and left his Audi S3 at the back of the grid for race two.

    In changeable conditions, Ollie would again see his race ended early when he got caught out on the damp circuit and made contact with the Honda of Matt Neal, with the team being left to repair the damage to his car in time for the extended final race, which awarded double points.

    Fighting his way forwards into the points by the fifth lap, Ollie continued to make progress up the order and found himself in tenth place in the closing laps.

    Contact at the final corner would ultimately see him miss out on a well deserved top ten in a drag race to the line, with his Audi eventually classified in eleventh spot after rival Senna Proctor was penalised for the last lap contact.

    Northampton-based team-mate Sam qualified in 29th place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend, which saw him cross the line in 22nd spot in the challenging wet conditions.

    A 20th place finish followed in the second race of the weekend before the extended Diamond Double race saw Sam produce by far his best drive of the season.

    Showing quick and consistent pace from the moment the lights went out, Sam fought his way forwards into the points scoring positions for the first time before taking the flag in 18th spot – just missing out on opening his BTCC account.

    Ollie Jackson, #48 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:
    “It’s been a really mixed weekend and races one and two are probably best forgotten. There was nothing I could do in the first race with the incident off the line and then in race two, I hold my hands up that I got caught out by the conditions and apologised to Matt for the contact.

    “The team did a mega job to get the car out for the final race and even though we didn’t have time to get the set-up right for the conditions, the car felt great. We showed really good pace from the start and it’s a shame that we missed out on a top ten finish because of contact on the final lap.

    “Overall, it’s been a tough day for us but to come away from the Diamond Double race with such a strong showing is good consolation at the end of it.”

    Sam Smelt, #23 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:
    “I’m happy that I’ve ended the weekend with a strong showing in the Diamond Double race but at the same time, I’m gutted to come so close to the points and then miss out. One small mistake cost me a load of places but I have to just live and learn from it.

    “After a difficult race one, we showed good pace as race two went on and throughout the final race we were consistently strong which is a big positive for me. The longer race really suited me and hopefully I can build on my performance in that one in the races that are to come.”

    Shaun Hollamby, AmD with Cobra Exhausts team principal, said:
    “It’s been a tough day for the Audis but it was great to see both Ollie and Sam put on such a strong showing in the final race of the weekend. Ollie was unfortunate in the first two races but the way he fought back in race three was really good and he should have been able to celebrate a top ten finish.

    “For Sam, the final race was also really good and the longer race really suited him. His lap times were consistent throughout and it was unfortunate that he wasn’t able to break into the points because his performance certainly deserved some.”

     

  • 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.”

  • AmD with Cobra Exhausts battles to Oulton Park top ten

    Race 3 Podium - BTCC Oulton ParkThe AmD with Cobra Exhausts team enjoyed a strong weekend on track at Oulton Park to secure a top ten finish from the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

    The team made the long trip to Cheshire hoping to challenge for points at a circuit where the Audi S3 had been strong twelve months ago.

    Tamworth based Ollie Jackson led the team’s challenge in qualifying to put his car 18th on the grid, with his best lap just eighth tenths of a second off pole in the ultra-competitive field.

    A battling drive in the opening race saw Ollie rewarded with a points finish in 14th after a heated fight in the midfield, with the 34-year-old managing to beat title hopeful Tom Ingram in a drag race to the line. 

    Running the soft compound tyre in race two, Ollie produced one of the best drives of his BTCC career to date as he battled his way forwards into the top ten before going wheel-to-wheel with title hopefuls Ingram and Jack Goff. The end result was a strong ninth place finish, leaving Ollie well placed to add to his tally in race three.

    A good start saw him immediately jump up to seventh spot but the race would then be halted because an accident, with the grid reformed in its original positions. This time around, Ollie would fall victim to contact from the Honda of Dan Cammish on the opening lap, which resulted in a puncture and an unscheduled visit to the pits. 

    Despite ending up down in 21st place as a result, Ollie ended the weekend as top scorer in the Jack Sears Trophy with a trip to the podium to end proceedings.

    Rookie team-mate Sam Smelt was left on the back foot going into race day after a difficult qualifying session saw him starting down in 31st place, with the Nottingham-based driver ending the opening race of the weekend in the same position.

    Making up six places on the opening lap of race two, Sam looked set to make progress through the field until contact forced him to retire with damage to the front of his car, which was fully repaired in time to take the start of race three.

    Avoiding the carnage ahead at the start of race, Sam produced his strongest race so far in the final race of the weekend as he broke into the top 20 for the first time, with a finish of 17th being his best to date.

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

    “The big thing this weekend is that we had a better qualifying and it left us in a position to challenge on race day. We’ve showed strong pace throughout race day on both types of tyre and have secured two good results on merit and not simply because others have gifted us places. 

    “In the second race in particular, we were a match for anyone in the closing stages on the soft tyre and the team has done a brilliant job with the car – it was spot on.

    “Okay so it’s a bit disappointing that contact in the final race has robbed us of a potential top ten finish but I feel there is a lot we can take away from this weekend and we have something to build on next time out at Croft. 

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

    “I really need to work on my qualifying as that is what has held me back this weekend. Starting from the back of the grid it was always going to be difficult but we made some changes to the car ahead of race day that improved things and I was able to find more speed.

    “Although the first two races weren’t the best, it was good in race three to be in the mix and I’m pleased to have got my first top 20 finish under my belt. I think where we have finished this weekend gives us a good place to start when we go to Croft.” 

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

    “Even though we got on the podium at Brands Hatch, I’d say this was the best weekend we’ve had this season with the Audi. Ollie’s performance in the second race was particularly impressive as he held his own against some of the best drivers on the grid. I’m sure he could have had a top ten in race three without the contact.

    “It’s also good to see Sam get his best result so far in the sister car. It wasn’t an easy weekend and we know he still has a long way to go but he continues to make progress and is working his way forwards like we knew he would as the season goes on.

    “The results here leave me optimistic about what we can do at Croft next time out as it is somewhere where the Audi was strong last season so fingers crossed for another strong performance.”

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