Indies lead for mighty Morgan
Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan made a strong start to his 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign with a trio of top six finishes and an Independents’ win at Brands Hatch last weekend.
Morgan’s Mac Tools-sponsored Mercedes-Benz A-Class showed its promise early on in the weekend and duly qualified a creditable sixth fastest in a session punctuated by two red flags and changeable weather conditions.
“The car worked really well all day on Saturday,” said Morgan. “I was the first person to hit the rain when it came and I was on slicks so that was tricky but I was more than confident for Sunday.”
That confidence proved to be well placed as the Lancashire-based driver fired off the line to take fifth at Paddock before grabbing fourth on lap six with an incisive move at Graham Hill Bend. As early pace-setter Jeff Smith ran wide in his Honda Civic Type R, reigning champion Gordon Shedden pounced with Morgan following through behind the Halfords Yuasa Racing man to secure a potential place on the podium.
The Accrington flyer wasn’t finished there, however, wasting no time in charging up to Shedden’s rear bumper, looking to steal second. He missed out by just over 0.150s in the end as the cars took the chequered flag, but with an opening weekend podium in the bag.
“I was catching Gordon (Shedden) but I wasn’t convinced it was worth risking everything with two more races to go. I decided it was better to bank the points,” said Morgan.
That result meant Morgan would be placed third on the grid for race two with the regulation success ballast in his A-Class. With weight on board, a ding-dong between Rob Austin’s Handy Motorsport Toyota ensued, before a late-race clash between Andrew Jordan’s BMW and Austin’s Avensis, just ahead of Morgan – allowing the Ciceley racer to nip through past the 125i M Sport. With Austin’s post-race exclusion, this would yield a net fourth for Morgan, who added: “Carrying all that weight made it hard, but I had a go at Austin and there was a bit of a rub. He got his own back so I tried to stay with him and we then caught Jordan, so fourth became another good haul of points.”
Race three brought more reason for cheer for a packed garage full of the team’s Mac Tools, WIX Filters and Fuchs Lubricants guests as Morgan hustled the Mercedes to fifth overall and the Independents’ Trophy as well as the Independent Drivers’ Championship lead heading to Leicestershire’s Donington Park in just under a fortnight’s time.
“It was a brilliant opening weekend,” said Adam. “I should have let Colin Turkington past earlier in race three because defending him hurt my tyres, but to come home fifth and win the Independents’ Trophy is fantastic. We’ve never had as good a start to the season as this and it is a great way of saying thanks to all of our partners for the support. We go to Donington at Easter looking for overall wins.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Manager Norman Burgess said: “Adam has been fantastic this weekend and our sponsors couldn’t be happier. To come away with an Independents race win is great but Adam is leading the Independents Trophy for drivers and Ciceley Motorsport is leading the Independents’ Team Trophy. It has been the ideal way to welcome Mac Tools on board and to thank our many guests who cheered Adam all weekend. Now, we need to put the silverware away and look forward to Donington and maintain the great pace we have shown at Brands Hatch.”