KNOCKHILL FRUSTRATION FOLLOWING OULTON SUCCESS FOR CARLUBE TRIPLER RACING WITH MAC TOOLS
Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race winner Adam Morgan had a tough time north of the border, while team-mate Jack Butel added another trio of race finishes to his BTCC résumé, as the championship made its annual visit to Knockhill at the end of August (29/30).
Qualifying saw Morgan set a strong time prior to a red flag stopping the session. On the restart, the squad elected to save rubber for race day, which would unfortunately see the #33 car drop down the order as the last gaggle of cars crossed the timing line, resulting in a 14th place start for the opening encounter.
“That was just one of those things,” reflected Morgan. “We thought we had read the session just right and no-one was improving so we elected to save rubber, but suddenly the session came alive at the end and we just weren’t in the right place to respond.”
Morgan found himself in a battle with Josh Cook during the opening laps of race one. Cook’s BTC Racing team-mate Tom Chilton squeezed past before a puncture for the #66 BTC Racing Honda resulted in Morgan moving into 12th at the chequered flag.
“We lacked pace in that race,” said a frustrated Morgan afterwards. “We made adjustments after qualifying but just couldn’t seem to find a way of finding a greater amount of speed, which meant that progress was really hard to make on a track at which overtaking is difficult.”
Despite pushing as hard as he could to make progress from 12th on the grid for race two, Morgan fell victim to contact which saw the Mercedes driver off the road, costing him places in the race and a chance at a reverse grid benefit for race three.
Morgan would start the final contest from 14th and once again found himself in traffic, as a concertina effect at the Hairpin delayed him, before being caught by the BMW of Stephen Jelley.
“I was quicker than him in some places,” said Morgan. “But I had to defend in others, which meant that I dropped away from the pack ahead – 14th again in race three isn’t what we expected after Oulton Park.
“Knockhill is often hard to get a sweet spot on the set-up. It’s easy here to go down some blind alleys in the set-up which compromises your weekend, but we got through without damage and we know what to do at Thruxton to try to maximise our weekend.”
“That was one of the toughest weekends I can remember,” added Commercial Director Norman Burgess. “After the highs of Oulton Park, it is tempting to count this as a low weekend, but we were in the points in all three races and left Scotland with both of our cars intact.
“It was frustrating for everyone at Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools to not replicate what we did at Oulton, but you can’t fault Adam for trying to wring every last tenth of a second out of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
“Next stop is Thruxton, which is where we turned a corner last year to unlock some pace so we head to Hampshire with optimism.”
Butel’s made his maiden BTCC race weekend at the Scottish circuit in the sister Mercedes.
Crossing the line in 20th, 21st and 22nd Butel maintained his 100% finishing record, as the Jersey driver increased his experience in the BTCC.
“I learned a lot that weekend,” said Butel. “I’ve only raced here in single-seaters before, in British F4, so I had a lot to get to grips with, but I definitely felt that I made progress over the three races.
“The one sector of the lap in which I lost time was the middle one which includes the Chicane and I put that down to lack of time at the circuit, but I have to be happy with my pace at the end of the weekend compared to where I was at the start.”
Morgan lies eighth in the overall standings and fourth in the Independents’ Championship, while Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools is fifth in the Independent Teams’ Championship.
The next stop for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship is at Thruxton, Hampshire, on September 19/20. Qualifying can be seen live on itv.com/btcc on Saturday, 19 September with the raceday action live on ITV4 on Sunday, 20 September.