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  • 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.”

  • More silverware & joint championship lead in the BTCC at Thruxton

    BTCC Thruxton - Cobra Sport The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team enjoyed another strong weekend on track with a maiden pole position and two podium finishes from the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton.

    The team headed for the fastest circuit on the calendar in confident mood on the back of a solid test at the venue last month, with drivers Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff both confident of challenging towards the sharp end of the field.

    Having qualified on pole with a record-breaking lap, Leeds racer Sam made the ideal start to race one to lead the way into Allard for the first time and controlled the race from the front through the early stages.

    Maintaining a lead of just over half a second over the chasing pack, Sam’s victory charge was ended by a battery problem that affected the power steering on his car, slowing him through the high-speed Church corner on lap 13 and allowing Andrew Jordan to get ahead on the run up Woodham Hill.

    Fighting around the problem, Sam was able to fend off the newer FK8 Honda of Dan Cammish through the closing laps to secure second spot and his first podium finish of the year.

    From the front row of the grid for race two, Sam lost a place to a quick-starting Colin Turkington but held third in the opening laps before a clash with Cammish at the chicane saw him slip out of the podium places.

    Dropping behind Jason Plato and Mat Neal as the additional ballast on his car took its toll, Sam would take the flag in sixth to add more points to his championship tally.

    Heading into the final race of the weekend, Sam looked well set to fight for another podium finish as he ran fourth in the early stages but a further, unrelated, issue with the power steering instead forced him into the pits to retire.

    Fife racer Rory qualified fifth on the grid despite carrying additional weight on his car, and came through the opening race unscathed to add more solid points to his tally – maintaining his position from start to finish.

    Race two would once again prove to be a relatively quiet affair for Rory, who would post the fastest lap of the race before taking the flag in seventh to maintain his points scoring run.

    With the team having resolved a damper issue on his car, Rory lined up fifth on the grid for race three, and a strong start saw to jump up into third place on the opening lap.

    Battling ahead of Ash Sutton at Goodwood after an early safety car period, Rory would run in second place all the way to the finish and heads away from Thruxton in a share of the overall points lead, whilst also heading both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy standings.

    Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing sit third in the Teams’ Championship and second in the Independents Team Championship.

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

    "It's been a fantastic weekend after a tough Saturday where we lost a lap that would have given us pole. We didn't quite have the pace to run at the front in race one or two but then found an issue with a damper ahead of race three. With that sorted, the car really came alive and it gave me the confidence I needed in the high-speed stuff.

    "I was able to get ahead of Ash [Sutton] with a solid move out of Goodwood and hoped to push Josh [Cook] but he kept it nice and tidy and didn't put a foot wrong. When Ash got a second wind, I focused on bringing the car home and we have ended up with some cracking points and a share of the points lead.

    "It isn't where I expected to be at this stage although I did think we could compete. I've kept the same mentality I had in the MG of racing hard, keeping it clean and bringing it home. When I have a fast car like we did in race three, we've got to push for those big points and some silverware."

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

    “It’s been a bit of a frustrating weekend for me but at least I’ve been able to put some points on the board after the troubles we faced in the opening rounds. To qualify on pole in the way that we did was amazing and I was controlling the opening race before we had the issue with the battery.

    “That robbed us of a certain victory and had the race been a few laps longer, I doubt we’d have finished – so to salvage second was still a good start to race day. With the weight onboard in race two, we picked up more solid points and I was happy with how things were going at that stage.

    “With the pace in the car, I think we could have pushed for another podium in race three and the fact we were unable to finish that one has spoiled the weekend a bit. Whilst I’m pleased to have got two solid finishes, I’m disappointed with how things ended.”

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

    “To come away from Thruxton with pole and two podium finishes is great for us as a team and it’s just a shame that a mechanical issue robbed us of what would have been a first win on the road. Both Rory and Sam have driven well this weekend, and we have once again shown that we are capable of taking the fight to the big boys at the front of the grid.

    “With three rounds done, we’re in a great position in the championship standings but it’s important that we continue to work hard on our weak areas as a team because – despite enjoying another fantastic weekend – we can always improve.

    “We need to keep our collective heads down and remember that it is a long season, and there are plenty more twists and turns still to come.”

  • Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing maintains strong start

    The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team maintained its strong start to the new Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season after showing front-running pace across the weekend at Donington Park.

    The team headed to the East Midlands circuit on a high after a breakthrough victory at Brands Hatch earlier in the month, with drivers Sam Tordoff and Rory Butcher confident about fighting at the sharp end of the field.

    Leeds racer Sam had endured a weekend to forget at Brands Hatch on his first outing in the team’s Honda Civic Type R, but looked well set to get his championship challenge underway after qualifying in a solid fifth place.

    Running fourth in the early stages of the race, Sam battled his way up into the podium places after an early safety car period, but damage sustained in a clash with Josh Cook would then lead to him suffering a spin going into the final chicane.

    Dropping down outside the points, Sam nursed the car to the finish to take 13th place and then went into race two focused on pushing back into the top ten.

    Up into ninth within three laps of the start, Sam’s race was going to plan early on but a hit from behind going into the Craner Curves on lap seven resulted in a high speed spin across the grass that dropped him down towards the rear of the field. From there, Sam drove well to recover to 14th, although it was very much a case of what might have been.

    Running the hard compound tyre in race three, Sam’s weekend ended with a 15th place finish.

    Fife ace Rory was keen to build on his Brands Hatch victory but was left on the back foot in qualifying when he was unable to get a clear lap in the changeable conditions and was left down in 19th place on the grid.

    The Scot fought his way forwards to eleventh in the opening race of the weekend and then set what would prove the be the fastest race lap of the weekend in race two with a storming run through to fifth.

    Sixth on the grid for race three thanks to the reverse grid draw, Rory produced a battling drive on the less favourable hard tyre to secure fourth place and heads away from the weekend sitting just six points off the championship lead.

    As at Brands Hatch, Rory also secured Jack Sears Trophy honours for the weekend.

    Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
    “Qualifying was so disappointing as we didn’t get a decent lap in the conditions and it made race day tough. But I tried to make progress in each race and it worked. We got the fastest lap on the medium tyre and had the quickest car on the hard tyre in race three, which is really good.

    “Before race three I thought it would be nice to try and get my tally for the day up to 30 points and that’s what we did. That is the goal for each race meeting and I’m always looking at the bigger picture and the season as a whole.

    “The car was strong in the Thruxton test we did recently and whilst a little bit of ballast will hit us going there, we’ll be in the mix. It isn’t about fighting for pole, it’s about challenging for the points on race day that will be key later in the year.”

    Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
    “Unfortunately this weekend has been yet another disaster for me. We had another strong qualifying performance to take P5 on Saturday, and I thought our luck had finally turned. However, the contact in race one eventually broke the car and spat me off, and it set the tone for race two. We were coming through nicely and then got turfed off again, which ruined my race.

    “Being on the hard tyre in race three, we tried a few radical things thinking ahead to Thruxton. It seemed like a good time to experiment given that the rest of the day hadn’t gone to plan but sadly it didn’t work out, although we did set the fastest lap on the hard tyre.

    “We just have to keep trying and keep plugging away because our time will come.”

    Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
    “It’s been a bit of a mixed bag again this weekend. Rory has done a great job and has driven really well and it means he is right up there in the points after two rounds – and there on merit because he’s picked up some strong results and been right on the pace.

    “Sam has been unfortunate with contact in two of the races and it means that he hasn’t picked up the results that he deserves once again this weekend.

    “Clearly we have a fast race car and we can go to Thruxton feeling positive that both drivers will be able to push for the podium.”

    Photos by LAP - Laborne Action Photography

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