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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.”

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