Rotek Racing off the mark
Robb Holland and his Rotek Racing squad enjoyed their best BTCC weekend to date last time out at Snetterton, as the American driver scored his first point of the season.
Having built the world’s first ever racing Audi A3 Saloon on the eve of the new campaign, the Oakley Motorsports-backed team has effectively been carrying out its testing programme in the heat of battle over BTCC race weekends.
Progress was further dampened when a high-speed accident at Donington Park back in April forced the team to miss the following meeting at Thruxton.
Momentous efforts over the summer break and a vital test at Pembrey in the week leading up to Snetterton saw the A3 in the form of its short existence in Norfolk. Modifications to the car had helped with the balance of the machine in particular while the ongoing development plan continues to give Holland and his men a better understanding of the car overall.
A season’s best qualifying followed for the #67 around the 2.99-miles of tarmac, before Holland produced a sensational drive in the opening race.
The American successfully negotiated his way through the frenetic first corner action, emerging from the dust cloud in 15th position. He gradually lost touch with Team BMR’s Warren Scott ahead of him as he was forced to defend his position from a gaggle of cars behind.
Eventually Holland held on to the last point paying position, just three-tenths of a second ahead of reigning champion Andrew Jordan, who also had his Pirtek Racing team-mate Martin Depper and former F3 champion Marc Hynes immediately behind him.
“I’ve become wise to the starts here at Snetterton, because you can guarantee that something will kick off at Riches,” said Holland. “There’s no margin for slides and contact because it only takes a touch here and there to ruin your race, but I tried to be smart about it, look for opportunities and I managed to sneak past. To score a point is fantastic and I’m so delighted with it, having fought for every place.”
Despite avoiding incident in race one he was unfortunately caught up in contact later in the day. Holland hauled his way from 28th to 18th in race three before a collision with James Cole’s United Autosports Toyota Avensis led to his second consecutive retirement. The Rotek Racing driver remained positive about the way his weekend had panned out, however, and in particular the speed in which both he and the car had shown.
“We finally have a car we can race and, psychologically, it was important to do this straight after the summer break,” he concluded. “It felt really great to fight on an even keel with champions like Fabrizio Giovanardi and Andrew Jordan.
“While I would have preferred to finish all three races, I can’t be displeased. In fact, I’m thrilled and feel the team has really turned a corner and by surging from 28th to 18th on merit shows we have the ability to fight for points on a regular basis.”