Heading into the British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch confidence was high in the AmDTuning garage with the Cobra Sport sponsored Audi S3 having shown great pace and scoring points at the 2 previous rounds at Rockingham and Silverstone.
It has been a season of high and lows for the AmDTuning team. We are very proud to have been part of the journey this season and have witnessed up close how far the team have progressed particularly in the last three rounds. The Audi BTCC car will be on our stand at the upcoming VAG Tuner EXPO at Donington on Sunday 23rd October if you want to see the car up close for one final time this year.
The pace continued during the 2 practice rounds with driver Ollie Jackson setting laps quick enough for 4th and 11th position at the end of the free practice rounds. Moving into qualifying the order changed changed quickly on a drying track. Lap times quickened and pole position swapped hands a number of times towards the end of the session.
Ollie was running in 10th on the grid moving into the final minutes of the session but unfortunately got caught behind a rival on a final quick lap meaning a slip down to 16th on the grid.
The AmDTuning Audi finished the first race of the day in 18th position slipping down 2 places with Ollie struggling to get the necessary heat into the Dunlop tyres. A change in set up before race two improved this considerably allowing Ollie to battle up through the field towards a top ten position. During this progress, contact from the Toyota of Jake Hill affected the handling of the S3 leading to a slight drop in pace with Ollie slipping down to a points finish of 15th place by the end of the second race.
Running the soft tyres in race three allowed the Audi to quickly make up places off the line. A finish in the top ten was firmly on the cards until a tag from behind by the Volkswagen of Aron Smith (for which Smith received a verbal warning after the race) put the S3 off the track and into the barriers. Extensive damage to the Audi meant another forced retirement and the chance of a best finished of the season scuppered.
The weekend once again provided the competitiveness of the car with the Cobra Sport sponsored Audi S3 running in with the front runners and title contenders.
The progress made with the car towards the end of the season has seen the team end on a high with driver Ollie Jackson firmly looking forward to next year in the BTCC.
"It's a case of what might have been in the final race, but it's good that we have ended the year showing strong pace in the Audi again," he said. “We struggled to get the tyres switched on in the first race but made some changes for race two that really improved things and it was good to get into the points, although we could have had more without the contact."
“In race three on the soft tyre, the car felt absolutely mega and I really think we were robbed of our best result of the year. Overall though, recent events have allowed us to show the potential of our package and I think it bodes well for the future."
“I would love to stay with the team next season, and hopefully we can sit down and do a deal early so that we can get the RML components onto the car and then embark on a proper testing programme for 2017. We've shown that we can match the pace of the front pack, and we need to make sure we are ready to hit the ground running next year."
Team boss Shaun Hollamby was also pleased with the performance on track even with the misfortune of race three, and shared in Ollie's desire to extend the partnership into 2017 as part of an expanded BTCC programme.
“The pace in the car has been really strong again this weekend and it's a shame that we didn't get the result in race three, but it happens," he said.
“Despite that, I feel we have ended the year on a high with the pace we have shown throughout race day and it has maintained the performance that we have seen in the Audi in the second half of the year."
“After a tough start to the campaign, Ollie has driven really well this season and hopefully we can sit down and do a deal to continue our relationship into 2017. We're also exploring the possibility of expanding to run a second Audi as we have the shell ready to build up, and have already spoken to some interested parties about what might be possible if we can secure the necessary licence."
Photographs courtesy of Marc Waller Photography