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  • Season's best and pole position in the British Touring Car Championship at Croft

    Ollie Jackson AmDTuning Cobra Exhausts Pole Croft BTCC 2017The AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team enjoyed its best weekend of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship so far with four points finishes - including two top tens and pole position at Croft.

     The West Thurrock-based team made the long trip to North Yorkshire keen to build on the impressive pace shown by its Audi S3 last time out at Oulton Park, with Ollie Jackson and Ant Whorton-Eales both picking up seasons best results during the weekend.

    BTCC Ollie Jackson Croft 2017Ollie qualified 21st on the grid for race one following a qualifying session that had to be abandoned following a multi-car accident at Barcroft, with the Tamworth-based driver amongst those to have spun off on oil dropped on the track.

    A strong drive in the opening race saw Ollie work his way forward into the points, with the Audi battling into the top ten until a move from the Subaru of Jason Plato at the final corner saw him slip back to eleventh at the flag. A post-race penalty for gaining an unfair advantage demoted Ollie back to 13th spot, which is where he would then start the second race of the weekend. Undeterred, another strong drive saw him bring his car home in ninth spot for his best result of the season so far, and a first top ten for the team.

    Ollie Jackson BTCC Cobra Exhausts Pole PositionThe reverse grid draw then put Ollie on pole for race three, and he maintained his position out front through the opening lap before the Safety Car was deployed due to an incident further down the order.

    On the restart, Ollie’s hopes of maintaining his lead were ended at Sunny In when a hit in the rear from the Ford of Mat Jackson saw him run off track and drop down the order.

    The end result was a tenth place finish, although the results from the weekend still allowed Ollie to break into the top 20 in the overall points, with two third place Independents finishes moving him up to eighth in the Indy standings.

    “I’m ecstatic with the results this weekend,” he said. “Things are coming together now and we have threatened to get these kind of results for a while; luck just hasn’t always been on our side.

    “The car was great all weekend and I’m delighted for the team. We’ve been on the pace and have picked up two top ten finishes on merit because we had a quick car, and not just because others have fallen off and given us the places.

    “It’s a shame that the incident in race three hit our chances of a stronger result there, and as things panned out, I feel we genuinely could have challenged for the podium – and certainly brought home a top five finish.

    “I’m not going to let it spoil our day, but having had our first opportunity to run with the front pack this weekend, I’m sure it won’t be our last.”

    Ant Whorton-Eales - BTCC Croft 2017Team-mate Ant qualified 26th having also been caught up in the qualifying drama and was unlucky to miss out on points in the opening race after a strong drive saw him come through the grid to 16th place.

     The Lichfield racer continued his forward progress in race two however, lapping quickly and consistently in an impressive performance that saw him finish in eleventh spot and best of the rookie drivers.

    More points looked assured for the reigning Clio Cup UK champion in the final race of the weekend as he ran well inside the points in the early stages, but contact from a number of his rivals would ultimately see his battle-scarred car just miss out on the top 15 positions.

    AWE Motorsport - Croft BTCC 2017 “I was really happy with where we were after the second race as we’d made good forward progress and came close to breaking into the top ten,” he said. “We’d made some changes ahead of the second race and the car was strong on the harder tyre, and I felt confident we could continue to push forwards in race three.

    “Unfortunately, I just got smashed out of the way by other people in race three which is annoying, but that is how it is sometimes in touring cars. We’ve certainly showed this weekend that we have the pace, and there is no reason why we couldn’t have joined Ollie in bringing home a top ten finish.

     “I don’t feel I’ve really been able to show my full potential so far this season as luck really hasn’t been on my side, but the pace we’ve shown here leaves me confident about the rest of the year as we are moving in the right direction.”

    Team manager Rob Tickner - overseeing the Audis with team boss Shaun Hollamby on duty with AmDTuning.com’s GT programme at Silverstone - was pleased with the results on track and said it left the team in a good position going into the summer break.

    “We’ve shown that we have good pace with the Audi already this season, and it’s good that we’ve been able to back it up with some good results this weekend,” he said. “It’s been our strongest showing with the Audi, and both Ollie and Ant have driven well to bring home some strong points.

    “It means we’ve taken a big step forwards in the Independents’ championship and while it is a bit frustrating that we missed out on what could have been a very good result in race three, we’ve shown that we can run with the top ten and it puts us in a good position for the rest of the season.”

    Everyone involved with the AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team sends their best wishes for a full recovery to Jeff Smith, Luke Davenport and Aron Taylor-Smith following Saturday's qualifying incident.

  • Impressive pace at Oulton Park in the British Touring Car Championship

    AmDTuning Cobra Exhausts BTCC Oulton Park 2017The AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team showed impressive pace as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed to Oulton Park for the fourth meeting of the year.

     Drivers Ollie Jackson and Ant Whorton-Eales both showcased the speed of the West Thurrock-based teams Audi S3, although misfortune for both drivers on race day meant the team came away from the weekend with just a single points finish to its name.

    Looking to score for the third time this season, Tamworth-based Ollie qualified little more than a second away from pole position in 22nd place but a fine opening lap in race one saw him move up seven positions into the points.

    Ollie Jackson Ant Whorton-Eales BTCC Oulton Park 2017Ollie would spend the entire race running inside the top 15, moving up a position three laps from home to secure 14th spot and two championship points.

     Hopes of a second points finish in race two were ended early on when Ollie was punted into a spin at Knickerbrook and dropped to the rear of the field. Undeterred however, Ollie would produce a series of storming laps that saw him regularly amongst the quickest drivers on track as he recovered to 26th place at the finish.

    The pace in the Audi was evident again in race three, with Ollie showing the speed to match the top six as he battled his way through to 18th spot.

    Ollie Jackson 48 BTCC Oulton Park 2017“This weekend I think the car has been the best it has ever been,” he said, “and it’s unfortunate that the results don’t reflect that. We’ve made a lot of progress and a gamble we took with the set-up of the car has really paid off.

    “I think we’ve taken a step forwards compared to some of the other Swindon-engined cars but this weekend, there are other cars that have been given a bit more boost that has perhaps masked the steps forward we’ve made.

     “It’s good that we got some more points on the board in the first race and clearly we could have had more in races two and three had it not been for the contact. However, to have been as quick as we were across the three races is extremely encouraging for the remainder of the season.”

    Ant Whorton-Eales BTCC Oulton Park 2017Team-mate Ant qualified inside the top 20 for the second meeting in succession in the sister car, but the Lichfield racer found himself in the wars on the opening lap of race one when contact from Senna Proctor’s Vauxhall saw him spin off at Island.

    Dropping to the back of the field, Ant recovered to 27th at the finish and then suffered more misfortune in race two when a puncture on lap one forced saw him drop off the lead lap having pitted for a replacement tyre.

    Restricted to 28th spot, Ant then pushed hard in race three to make up seven places to 21st; capping a weekend where the results didn’t reflect his pace on track.

    Whorton-Eales number 10 cap BTCC Oulton Park 2017“It’s been a frustrating weekend for me,” he said. “We’ve just had a lot of bad luck, and the incident in race one followed by the puncture in race two has prevented us from showing what we can do again.

    “Race three was all about making up whatever we places we could, but we deserved more than a 21st place finish this weekend. I feel I need a good result for both the team and also for myself in the Jack Sears Trophy, so hopefully our luck will turn soon.”

    Team manager Shaun Hollamby expressed delight at the pace shown by the Audi during the course of race day, even if he shared in his driver’s frustration that the speed on track hadn’t been matched in the results.

    Ollie Jackson BTCC Oulton Park 2017“There’s no doubting that this weekend we showed the pace that we have with the Audi, and in both race two and three, Ollie was right up there in the top six quickest drivers on track,” he said. “Unfortunately, Oulton Park is a circuit where track position is very much key and thanks to the driving of others, both Ollie and Ant found themselves out of position and unable to make the most of the speed we had. 

    “There are certainly positives to take away from the weekend, including a more improved performance in qualifying, and hopefully we can enjoy a more profitable weekend in terms of points next time out at Croft before the summer break.”

  • AmDTuning with Cobra Exhausts show pace at Thruxton

    AmDTuning with Cobra Exhausts SSFT at ThruxtonThe AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team maintained its encouraging start to the new Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton, despite seeing a run of points scoring finishes brought to an end. The West Thurrock-based team went into the third meeting of the year looking to add to its tally after drivers Ollie Jackson and Ant Whorton-Eales both brought home top 15 finishes last time out at Donington Park.

    The close nature of the field was reflected in the qualifying times, with Ollie posting a best time just 1.2secs away from pole but that left down in 25th place on the grid for race one.

    AmDTuning with Cobra Exhaust Thruxton BTCC Grid 2017A strong and consistent run when the lights went out would see him work his forwards to 18th place by the finish, and he then climbed up to 15th in the early stages of race two before an accident at Church forced officials to bring out the red flags.

    Just six laps of the restarted race would be possible before an another incident saw the red flags fly again, with Ollie finishing just shy of the points in 16th spot.

    It would be a similar story in race three, with Ollie running on the fringes of the points throughout before taking the flag in 17th place; his battled-scarred Audi showing afterwards how frenetic battle had been on track.

    "It’s disappointing that we didn’t manage to score any points this weekend, but it was unbelievably tight on track,” he said. “Thruxton is a bit of a bogey circuit for me, but we were right in amongst it and with a bit more luck, we could easily have come away from the weekend with a decent result to our name and been celebrating more points on the board."

    Team-mate Ant made an impressive start to the weekend when he broke into the top 20 in qualifying; setting the second fastest time of all through the final sector of the lap en-route to 19th place on the grid.

    The Lichfield racer wouldn’t be able to build on that in the opening race however when he was forced wide onto the grass at Noble early on, which resulted in him being forced to pit to allow the team to remove debris from the front of the car.

    Rejoining just ahead of the leaders, Ant showed the pace in the Audi by staying ahead for much of the race but would ultimately end up a lap down in 30th place.

    The shortened second race would see Ant take the chequered flag in 24th place but battling a mystery electrical problem that the team would then work hard to resolve in time for race three.

    Ant Whorton-Eales Ollie Jackson AmDTuning Autographs Thruxton BTCC 2017Unfortunately for the reigning Clio Cup UK champion, time proved to be against the team and he was forced to take a watching brief and sit out the final race of the weekend.

    “It’s been an up and down weekend and obviously it’s disappointing to have picked up the electrical problem that forced us to miss race three,” he said. “We thought we’d managed to find the issue after race two but sadly it wasn’t the case and it prevented us from trying to push forwards towards the top 20.

    “It’s a shame that we couldn’t show what we were capable of in terms of the end results, as the pace in the car was clear to see from qualifying and then in the way I was able to run with the leaders without a problem in race one – particularly when you consider it was my first time here in a BTCC car.

    “These things happen though, and we’ll come out fighting to score more points next time out.”

    AmDTuning with Cobra Exhaust Pit Garage - Thruxton BTCC 2017Team boss Shaun Hollamby admitted it was unfortunate for the team not to add to its points tally, but insisted there were still positives to take away from the weekend.

    “We hoped to maintain our run of points this weekend but sadly it wasn’t to be,” he said. “Ant’s performance in qualifying was encouraging and put him in a good position for race day, and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t build on that in race one.

    “Had he not been forced off track then we could easily have scored in that race, and it’s a shame that the electrical gremlins then affected his car in race two and prevented him starting race three. I have to thank the team, and also the guys from Swindon Engines, for their efforts ahead of race three, but time was just against us.

    “The fact that Ollie came so close to points in all three races showed we had a strong race car, but it’s the field is so close this season that it isn’t easy to fight through the pack. A few tenths of a second in qualifying would have put him right up with Ant on the grid and I’m sure he’d have been able to then add to his tally.

    “Having seen the pace of the car again in race trim, it’s clear to see what we need to work on our one lap pace so that both drivers can try and qualify higher up the grid when we get to Oulton Park and challenge for more points.”

    BTCC Thruxton 2017 Audi S3 Cobra Exhausts

    Images courtesy of Marc Waller Photography & Car Scene UK

  • AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts show potential in British GT opener

    The AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team showed glimpses of its potential as the new British GT Championship campaign burst into life at Oulton Park.

    The Easter Weekend event marked the start of a new era for the West Thurrock-based outfit, with the Cheshire circuit playing host to the team’s first race with its all new Mercedes-AMG GT3.

    The weekend started well in the opening practice session with Ryan Ratcliffe posting the fifth quickest time in damp conditions, although the team was prevented from running through its planned programme by an accident involving two GT4 cars that led to the session being halted just before the halfway stage.

    It meant team-mate Lee Mowle had to wait until the second session to get his turn behind the wheel, with the two drivers lapping within half a second of each other en-route to the eighth best time.

    With two one hour races during the opening meeting of the season, each driver took to the track for their own qualifying session, with Lee out first to determine the starting position for race one.

    However, Lee was unable to show his true pace when contact at the final corner after the Aston Martin of Derek Johnston turned in on him damaged both the suspension and steering on the car.

    Having not yet had time to post a timed lap before the clash, Lee was left ninth on the grid for race one, with Ryan forced to soldier on with the damaged car for his qualifying session en-route to the tenth best time for race two.

    With repairs carried out for Monday’s opening race, Lee took his place behind the wheel for the first stint and produced a strong start to immediately fight his way to sixth before getting ahead of the Ginetta of Harry Gottsacker with an impressive move on lap eight.

    Sadly his charge up the order would end on lap ten when he went off into the barriers on the run to Shell Oils. Although he was able to rejoin, the incident would drop the damaged car well down the order, with Lee starting a recovery drive that Ryan would then continue during his stint to bring the car to the flag in tenth spot.

    Repairs to the car were completed just minutes before the start of race two, with both drivers lapping quickly and consistently to reward the team with a seventh place finish in a race that was halted early after an accident at Hilltop; one that Lee was fortunate to avoid being caught up in.

    Following the fight against the clock to repair the car, AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts picked up the PMW Expo Team of the Weekend Award, whilst Lee and Ryan end the weekend eighth in the championship standings.

    Quotes:

    Lee Mowle:

    “Oulton Park is a circuit where it isn’t easy to overtake in a GT3 car, so the incident in qualifying really put us on the back foot. It was a real shame as we hadn’t had chance to put a banker lap in, and based on practice, I think we could easily have ended up in the top four on the grid for race one, and Ryan would also have had us higher up the grid for race two.

    “In the opening race, the car felt absolutely mega and a world away from the BMW we raced last year. It was hard work making my way through the field, but we got up to P5 and then I just carried a little too much speed into Island Bend and got slightly wide onto the wet part of the circuit.

    “Once I then hit the grass, I was a passenger and it seemed an age until we hit the barriers. It was a big hit and did a lot of bodywork damage, so it was a case from there of us just bringing the car to the finish.

    “Although the results aren’t what we hoped for, there’s no doubt that we had could have come away from the weekend with a podium. The car handled superbly and provided loads of confidence behind the wheel; things just conspired against us. While it’s a case of what might have been from Oulton Park, the two hour race at Rockingham should suit us and we’re looking forward to a strong weekend there.”

    Shaun Hollamby – team boss:

    “There are a lot of positives to take away from the weekend, even considering that the end results weren’t what we hoped for. Both Lee and Ryan showed solid pace behind the wheel and I think that there was clearly the potential to run higher up the field in the races had it not been for the incident in qualifying.

    “That was always going to make it tough for race day but we showed what the Mercedes can do in the early stages of race one before Lee was caught out by the damp conditions. From there, we showed our battling qualities to not only get a finish from the race, but to get the car repaired and back out for race two.

    “The longer race at Rockingham next time out is one that should suit the Mercedes, and we’re confident that Lee and Ryan will be firmly in the mix for a strong result.”

  • More points on the board in the BTCC at Donington Park

    AmDTuning Cobra Exhausts BTCC Drivers at Donington Park, UKThe AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team enjoyed another points scoring weekend with a brace of top 15 finishes as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed to Donington Park for the second meeting of the year.

    The West Thurrock based team headed for the East Midlands looking to build on the results secured at Brands Hatch, with both Ollie Jackson and Ant Whorton-Eales eager to push towards the points scoring positions in their Audi S3s.

    Having opened his account at Brands Hatch, Tamworth-based Ollie started his bid for points from 25th on the grid in race one and fought his way forwards to 17th place by the time the chequered flag dropped.

    Pair of AmDTuning with Cobra Exhaust Audi S3sRace two saw Ollie run as high as tenth before he was forced to retire after being left with nowhere to go when a car spun ahead, but he recovered well with his repaired car in a wet final race to come from the back of the grid to 15th spot – earning him the final championship point.

    “There are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend,” he said. “The Audi is getting better and better, and I think we showed genuine top ten pace this weekend.

    “We just needed a little bit more luck on our side and we’d have been able to bring home a top ten in the second race, although the way we came through from the back in race three to take a points scoring finish on merit is also really pleasing.

    “Our race pace is good so we have to try and improve on our qualifying performance so we are better placed to make the most of it. If we can take that next step then we’ll be able to get ourselves towards the head of the midfield pack and really show what we can do.”

    Having shown his pace on track at Brands Hatch, albeit without being rewarded with the end results, Lichfield racer Ant went into his home event keen to open his account but like Ollie, was on the back foot after qualifying in 29th spot.

    Ollie Jackson - Donington Park BTCC 2017Radical changes overnight transformed his Audi for race day and he ended race one less than half a second away from the points having made up no fewer than 13 spots during a busy 16 lap battle.

    Those points wouldn’t be far away however, with a measured drive in race two being rewarded with a strong twelfth place finish and top rookie honours for the first time – giving Ant the team’s best result of the year to date.

    Race three started well with Ant on the fringes of the top ten, although a slow puncture would see him slip back down the order before eventually being forced to retire on the final lap.

    “Race three wasn’t how I wanted the weekend to end, but overall I’m really pleased,” he said. “After qualifying, we took a gamble with the car for race day and it really paid off. We were able to lap quickly, made up loads of places and I got into the points, which is a real achievement from where we qualified.

    “I knew early on there was a problem in race three as there was a vibration under braking that got worse as we went on, but I think we can come away from this weekend feeling confident about the races to come as we’ve taken a massive step forwards.”

    BTCC Grid - AmDTuning Cobra Exhausts GridTeam boss Shaun Hollamby was pleased to see both drivers score points, admitting it had been one of the best weekends to date for the Audi squad.

    “Both drivers have done a brilliant job this weekend,” he said. “It’s probably been the most competitive weekend we’ve had in terms of our pace, particularly in the second race where Ant got well earned points and Ollie could also have scored. Ollie also did really well in tough conditions in race three and for both to score points this weekend is promising.

    “The improvement in the car is clear to see, and hopefully when we get to Thruxton we can produce an even better performance on track.”

    Images courtesy of Marc Waller Photography

    AmDTuning with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 BTCC Cars

  • AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts put points on the board in BTCC season opener

    AmDTuning with Cobra Exhausts BTCC 2017 Brands HatchThe AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team enjoyed a points scoring start to the new Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season as the 2017 campaign kicked off at Brands Hatch.

    The West Thurrock-based team made the short trip to the Kent circuit hoping to impress with its updated Audi S3s, with returning driver Ollie Jackson being joined by series debutant Ant Whorton-Eales as part of an expanded two-car team.

    Tamworth-based Ollie would be left with work to do on race day having been caught out by difficult conditions on track in qualifying, with rain showers and traffic contributing to him being down in 29th place on the times.

    Running the softer compound Dunlop tyre in race one, Ollie worked his way forwards to 22nd place and then set about further progress when the lights went out in race two – lapping quickly and consistently to fight his way through to 14th and a first points scoring result of the season.

    Ollie Jackson - BTCC Brands Hatch 2017More points looked assured in race three as Ollie moved up to twelfth place on the opening lap, with a top ten finish looking to be a realistic goal until contact from behind knocked the rear tracking out on the Audi.

    It meant Ollie would slip back down to 16th by the time the chequered flag flew, although there was still plenty to be encouraged by at the end of the weekend.

    “I’m ecstatic with the progress we have made across the weekend with the car,” he said. “It was quite difficult to drive at the start of practice but we made a series of changes that really improved things and I head away from Brands Hatch confident that we have the Audi in a good place but with plenty more still to come.

    “The points in race two were good, and I think we can take a lot of encouragement from race three as it showed we have the pace to run at the head of the midfield pack and to challenge for the top ten.

    “That’s something we could certainly have achieved without the contact that damaged the rear of the car, but we can head for Donington Park next time out in confident mood.”

    Ant Whorton-Eales - BTCC Brands Hatch 2017For Lichfield racer Ant, qualifying would also prove to be a challenge, which left him 26th on the grid for the opening race.

    Any hope he had of a strong result were ended by the need to pit early on when a warning light appeared on the dash, with the reigning Clio Cup champion then able to rejoin the race but a lap down on the rest of the field.

    Encouragingly, Ant was able to run with the midfield pack despite being a lap behind and posted a number of quick laps before the chequered flag dropped with him in 25th spot.

    Having run inside the top 20 early in race two, Ant would unfortunately retire after being caught up by a clash between three rival drivers ahead with the team repairing his damaged Audi in time for race three.

    A 23rd place finish left him with two Independents points scores from the weekend, with the 22-year-old optimistic that better results lie ahead when the series heads to Donington Park.

    “The results on paper this weekend don’t really show what we are capable of, which is a shame,” he said. “I think I was a bit too reserved in the conditions in qualifying as I didn’t want to be the new boy who threw it off in the wet and it meant we were out of position for race one.

    “Although the need to pit meant I wasn’t able to get the result, the pace when running with the pack was really good and I think it showed we could have been in the mix if I’d qualified higher up the grid.

    “Race two was just unfortunate and one of those things that happens, which meant we were at the back for race three and had to get what we could from it. I’ve learned a lot this weekend and from working more with the team, and I’m confident that we have a good car that we can push on with at Donington.”

    Team boss Shaun Hollamby was pleased to see the Audi show its pace during the opening meeting of the year after a hectic winter, and expressed confidence that points scoring finishes can now be a regular aim.

    “I think it’s been an encouraging and positive start,” he said. “When you consider that we only got the new engine fitted to Ant’s car on Friday night and have only done limited testing, we knew this weekend wasn’t going to be easy but we’ve come away from it with a points finish and knowing we could have had more.

    “We’ve ended the weekend with a car that is both quick and reliable, and that has shown it is more than capable of scoring points. It’s now down to us to build on the potential we have seen and push our way up towards the top ten, and the performances out of the box here will spur us on to bigger and better things.”

     

    Images courtesy of Marc Waller Photography

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