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  • Cobra Sport AmD Racing storms to success at Knockhill

    The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team secured a fourth win of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season on a stunning weekend of competition at Knockhill.

    The team made the long trip to Scotland hoping to fight at the sharp end of the grid, with home hero Rory Butcher joined in the two-car line-up by the returning Mike Bushell.

    At the circuit owned by his family, Rory was the man to beat throughout Saturday at the wheel of his Honda Civic Type R, topping both free practice sessions before romping to his maiden pole position in qualifying.

    Maintaining his lead at the start, Rory found himself under pressure when he lost second gear during an early safety car period, which left him to try and complete the remainder of the race with nothing below third gear.

    Keeping the BMW of Andrew Jordan at bay, Rory briefly slipped back to second at the start of the final lap but then reclaimed the place at McIntyres and went on to secure a popular home win.

    With the gearbox replaced, a battling drive to third in race two despite carrying maximum ballast and being on the medium compound tyre saw Rory secure more silverware, although he also picked up a five place grid penalty for race three after contact with Colin Turkington.

    That left him right in the middle of the pack for race three, where he secured more points with 14th to maintain his Jack Sears Trophy lead and remain right in the hunt for both the overall and Independents’ championship titles.

    Having been asked to step in for the absent Sam Tordoff after the tragic death of his newborn son Arlo, Mike was quickly up to speed in free practice and then qualified 16th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend.

    Mike’s hopes of a points-scoring finish were ended on the opening lap of the race when contact at turn one damaged the rear suspension on his car and forced him to retire.

    There was to be more misfortune in race two when he was forced to pit with a loss of power, which was traced to a loose connection under the bonnet.

    Returning to the track a number of laps down to make sure that the issue was resolved ahead of race three, Mike was left to wonder what might have been as he posted a new lap record – making him the only driver to lap below the 51 second marker across race day.

    Unfortunately, race three would end in disappointment when contact with Rob Collard’s Vauxhall Astra at Clark’s ripped the left rear wheel from the Honda and meant he failed to finish for a third time.

    The team will now look to maintain its title challenge when the series heads to Silverstone on the weekend of 28/29 September.

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

    “It’s been a fantastic weekend for us as a team, and to come away from Knockhill with pole position, a race win, another podium and a new lap record is just brilliant. To be honest, it’s a bit of a surreal feeling when you consider where we have come from as a team and I’m proud of the whole team.

    “Rory has done a stunning job this weekend and to win in the manner he did in race one was fantastic. Mike has also done a better job than the results will show in difficult circumstances as he was on the pace from the moment he got in the car and his speed was shown in the fact that he broke the lap record.

    “This weekend we were racing with Sam, Georgina and Arlo in our thoughts, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring home some good results for them.”

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

    “I think that has been our best weekend to date in terms of the results. We laid down a real marker on Saturday to top all three sessions with a good gap, although Sunday was a bit more difficult.

    “Andrew kept me honest throughout race one and it was a real challenge after I lost second gear. I had to really drive to the maximum around the lap to build a gap because I knew that taking the hairpin in third gear would leave me open to attack.

    “To bring the car home in front of the Scottish fans was an amazing feeling as there was a lot of expectation on me this weekend, and a lot of people here supporting me.

    “A podium in race two was a good way to reward the guys for their hard work changing the gearbox, and race three was one of those where I had to get what I could whilst racing in the pack.

    “Overall it’s been a fantastic weekend and I’d like to dedicate the win to the Tordoff family. They’ve all been in our thoughts, and that one is for them.”

    Mike Bushell, #21 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:

    “It’s nice to come away from the weekend with a new lap record to my name as it shows that I’ve not lost any speed during my time away from the car, but I certainly haven’t had any luck on my side.

    “There wasn’t a great deal that I could have done in any of the three races to change what happened as two bouts of contact and a mechanical issues that was simply down to circumstances have prevented me from picking up some results.

    “It’s a case of what might have been.”

  • Lomax keeps a cool head at a sweltering Lydden (British Rallycross)

    Craig Lomax and his XtremeRX team headed to the spiritual home of rallycross, Lydden Hill for the annual August Bank Holiday event.

    Despite it being the hottest August Bank Holiday on record the Cobra Exhaust backed driver drove with skill and experience to keep his Citroen C2 Super1600 running at the top of the pack while most of the rest of the grid were battling problems with the heat track temperatures were in the upper 30’s! At the end of the three qualifying sessions Lomax was in fifth overall and had secured a front row grid position for his semi final which was easily the faster of the two.

    Fourth place in his semi final was enough to see the plucky Yorkshireman line up for the final at the back of the grid. After a frantic six laps Lomax crossed the line in fifth place and third in class.

    With this consistent performance in testing conditions now sees the Powermaxed supported driver sitting at the top of the Super1600 championship with his nearest challenger 37 points behind him. He is also sitting in second place in the Supernational Championship.

    The championship heads back to Pembrey in South Wales for round 6 over the weekend of 21st and 22nd September. Track action gets underway at 09:30

    Craig Lomax, #24:

    ‘I love racing here (Lydden) its one of my favourite tracks, but the heat today was something else, the team worked so hard keeping Sabrina running in the heat, the cars reliability is testament to that. I cannot thank them and all my sponsors enough, hopefully we can keep that going now and bring home the championship’

  • Cobra Sport AmD Racing secures third victory at Thruxton

    The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team was able to celebrate a third victory of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season as the series returned to Thruxton for the seventh round of the campaign.

    The team headed into the weekend hoping to challenge at the sharp end of the field, with its Honda Civic Type R having been one of the quickest cars on track during the first trip of the year to Thruxton back in March.

    After two difficult practice sessions, Leeds-based driver Sam Tordoff produced a fine performance in qualifying to secure pole position, as he repeated the result he had taken during the first visit to the circuit earlier in the season.

    Having missed out on a win then to power steering problems, Sam went into the opening race eager to fight for his first victory of the campaign and a measured drive saw him lead from start-to-finish for his first win of the season.

    Carrying maximum ballast into race two, Sam was able to maintain his lead through the opening laps before his challenge was halted by debris going through the radiator of the Honda, leading to rising engine temperatures and leaving him to somehow bring the car to the finish in tenth place.

    With the team changing the engine ahead of race three, Sam was able to bring the car home in eleventh place after surviving a late race deluge of rain, with his results from the weekend seeing him move up to ninth in the championship standings.

    Fife-based team-mate Rory Butcher had qualified sixth on the grid in the sister car but would endure a more difficult race day as he looked to maintain his championship challenge.

    Seventh place in the opening race saw the Scottish star add more solid points to his tally before Rory found himself right in the middle of the action in race two.

    Despite looking well placed for a top ten finish, Rory would be shuffled back to 14th on the final lap, leaving him with work to do in the final race of the weekend.

    Sadly for Rory, a broken CV joint on the green flag lap then prevented him from taking the start and he leaves the weekend sitting fifth in the standings.

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

    “I’m delighted that Sam has been able to get the victory he missed out on when we visited Thruxton earlier in the season, and for us to win for the third time is fantastic. He drove really well to build on his performance in qualifying, and it was a result that was richly deserved.

    “It’s been challenging aside from that and it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t secure more from the other races. Sam was just unlucky that some debris damaged his engine in race two and it’s been one of those race days for Rory where things just didn’t go his way.

    “However, we know that we have a quick car as we showed in taking pole and the race one win, and we’ll look to build on it when we got to Knockhill.”

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

    “It’s been a really tough race day for us. The highlight of the weekend was certainly qualifying because for some reason, we struggled in the races. I didn’t feel able to attack and had to drive with an eye on the mirrors in the opening two races, and we planned some big changes for race three.

    “The aim was to try and salvage something from the weekend in race three but unfortunately it wasn’t to be with the issue before the start.

    “We just have to put this one behind us and focus on what is to come. Clearly it hasn’t gone our way here, but Knockhill is a big weekend for me next time out and I’m looking to come out fighting on home soil.”

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

    “Overall it’s been really good. To get pole and then lead race one from lights-to-flag with fastest lap was perfect, and a result that was long overdue. It wasn’t easy to lead from the front as it is easier to follow someone round here and use them as a reference point, and it was certainly more difficult than it might have appeared. Dan kept me too honest for my own liking and it was the longest 16 laps of my life, but that makes it all the more rewarding.

    “From there, we should never have finished race two with the problem we had with the car, and were lucky to then even get out for race three so we’ve really pulled something from the jaws of defeat from those two. We have picked up good points this weekend to move into the top ten in the standings and I’m glad we’ve now got the victory. We'll have to see what Knockhill brings.”

  • Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher vows to fight back after rough ride at Thruxton

    Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher took three hard-fought points finishes in the Cobra Sport Exhaust equipped Fords during a tough return visit to Hampshire’s Thruxton circuit for rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (August 17/18).

    Heading to the fastest circuit on the calendar full of promise; mechanical issues, on-track contact and qualifying woes sadly put paid to the Motorbase-run squad’s podium hopes during the seventh BTCC meeting of the year. A gritty fight back, however, managed to salvage three points finishes from the squad’s misfortunes.

    Struggling to unlock the full potential of the Focus RS during Saturday’s free practice and qualifying sessions, Tom Chilton and Ollie Jackson found themselves in P16 and P14 spots respectively for the first of Sunday’s three races.

    Chilton’s hopes of recovery in race one were quickly dashed when the #3 Focus RS was forced to return to the pits on the green flag lap with a turbo issue. The Reigate-racer was quickly despatched, however, the best result he could muster was P22 having raced from the back of the pack. Contact picked up on the opening lap curtailed Jackson’s efforts, and the #48 Focus took the flag in P15.

    Aiming for the top 12 with the hopes of a reversed grid draw result in race 3, Chilton recovered well to scrape his way up the field and into 12th.  Jackson regrettably dropped back to 18th as a result of some door-to-door on-track battles.

    Just missing out on the reverse grid benefit, Chilton made a strong opening charge from P12 in the final contest. With the imminent threat of rain looming, the 34-year-old had caught up to the pack battling for 6thplace with just 3 laps remaining. Biding his time as Plato, Sutton, Ingram and Cook all jostled for position as the heavens opened he made a brave lunge round the outside as they charged into the complex. Having almost completed the stunning move, the #3 Focus RS took a heavy hit from behind, resulting in a huge slide which forced Chilton to make a dramatic save. In spite of his heroic efforts, the incident dropped him down the order, and he eventually crossed the line in P22.

    Although less dramatic, Jackson’s consistent points-scoring efforts continued in race 3, with the Alcon and Beavis Morgan-backed racer picking up his eighth points finish from the last nine rounds, taking 15th at the final flag.

    Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher remains 3rd in the Independent Teams’ standings and 8thoverall ahead of the next race meeting at Knockhill in four weeks’ time. Tom Chilton currently sits 12thoverall and 4th in the Indy standings, with Ollie Jackson in 18th and 9th positions.

    Team Manager Oly Collins:
    “That was a tough weekend. We came to Thruxton with optimism and promise after recent weeks of testing and development with the Focus but we didn't get it right when it mattered. Our pace in FP2 suggested we had the car in a place where we could qualify well which is so important round here. But when you qualify that far down in the BTCC it’s always going to be a big ask.

    #3 Tom Chilton:
    “Thruxton is still one of my favourite circuits, just not in a Ford Focus. We’ve moved forwards from when we last came here. I was P4 in free practice two and we made up another 3 tenths in qualifying but it just wasn’t enough. Everyone else made up more. Sadly qualifying where we did, just put us on the back foot.

    “To be honest I was having a great last two races. We had a quick car in race 3, were making up places and then it all bunched up at the chicane. I did a great move on Sutton as it started raining and then I just got a huge hit from behind that lifted my back wheel off the ground. That put me into a humongous backwards slide in 5th gear and ruined my race. I think we could have made top six or seven from there.

    “Knockhill is next though. I won there last year in the wet. We know that the Focus goes well there as well. I’m hoping for a little more luck.”

    #48 Ollie Jackson:
    “It’s been a challenging weekend again and we’ve not really been on top of it all weekend. We improved the car over the course of the day, but unfortunately so did the back half of the field. That’s what has hung us out to dry unfortunately. I think we’ve shown flashes of pace but we’ve not quite get a handle on it. Thruxton turned out to be a bogey track for us last time out and it’s been another one for us. At least we’ve come away with some more points.

    “We’ve got three rounds coming up next that suit the focus and we’ve got to make hay while the sun shines. As long we can keep our noses clean, I think we can have three really strong meetings.”

  • 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

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