Morgan continues magnificent form
Adam Morgan continued his excellent form in the second half of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship with a fourth podium finish for Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport from six races to cap off his weekend at Knockhill.
Morgan maintained the upswing in pace that began at Thruxton with a solid run in an interrupted qualifying session to bag eighth on the grid for the opening race.
“We’d planned to do two qualifying runs on new tyres, but then a red flag came and I thought we’d better have another go, just in case the others were able to find any extra speed, said Morgan. “It was a good job that I did do another lap as the rest went quicker, and I improved a little. I reckon that there might have been another tenth of a second in me, but eighth put us in a good position for the first race.”
An early safety car period in the opening race, for a second-lap crash, bunched up the field and Morgan attacked on the re-start. Tom Ingram’s Toyota Corolla was in equally determined form and at the Hairpin Morgan fell to ninth spot.
“We made some subtle changes to the car after qualifying and we were perhaps just one per cent too conservative,” continued Morgan. “That said, my pace was better at the end of the race than that of some of the others so we just need to get that balance of aggressive and conservative set-ups spot on. We are not far off.”
Race two saw Morgan line up ninth on the grid before fighting up to seventh place, where he would go on to cross the line, encouraged by the pace of his car once more.
“It is just so nice to be back at the sharp end of the grid,” beamed the Mercedes driver. “After such a difficult start to the season, I am so pleased to be racing at the front once more and away from all the midfield risks and damage.
“The car felt strong at the start of the race, but I may have pushed a bit too hard early on which hurt the rubber a little. I struggled a little at the end of the race so I had to defend from Jason Plato, but I managed to hang on. Another top ten is good though: it shows that we’re back.”
Morgan started the final, reverse grid, race from fourth and made a demon start to battle his way into contention. An early safety car period meant that little progress could be made, but Morgan was determined to round out his weekend with a podium and he soon set about attacking Plato’s Vauxhall Astra on the restart. Morgan gained the place on lap 14 and hung on to third until the finish to round out another strong weekend.
“I had a good fight with Jason and was able to get him going down Duffus Dip,” concluded Adam. “That was a bit hairy but I got away with it! Maybe if I had got ahead sooner, I could have taken second place but although I caught Josh Cook for second, I just didn’t quite have enough in the car to mount a proper attack. Third, though, is another really good result and an indication that the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is far from a spent force. The car has been great all weekend and we have hardly needed to change a thing. It’s a real credit to everyone in the team.”
The second Ciceley Motorsport car, run under the Cataclean Racing banner for Dan Rowbottom, bagged 17th in the opening race, but Rowbottom, racing at Knockhill for the first time in 11 years, was caught out at the chicane on lap 10 while running 14th and spun down the order. He regrouped to secure 23rd and moved up to 18th in race three, illustrating his racecraft and improved pace.
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess was in buoyant mood after the weekend: “Everyone in the team is delighted that the cars have run so well this weekend and that the pace shown at Thruxton wasn’t just a flash in the pan,” he said. “Knockhill and Thruxton couldn’t be more different so to have a car that worked well at both, demonstrates just how hard everyone is working and that we are still a top-line, front-running team.
“Adam had good pace and raced really well, while Dan’s car went better than ever and he showed really good speed. But for a spin, he may have been in the top 10 in race three, but there is no doubting how far he has come since the start of the season. As a team, we continue to be impressed by Dan’s determination and continual rapid improvement. We go to Silverstone next and look forward to more great results.”