Jackson pace and potential a high point for Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher
Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher produced a strong performance during the fifth Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship meeting of the season, taking five points finishes from a challenging weekend at Oulton Park.
Saturday’s qualifying session delivered mixed results for the Kent-based squad. Ollie Jackson secured the team’s highest-placed grid spot in P12. Unfortunately, Tom Chilton struggled to hook up the perfect lap and was left frustrated in P14.
With a big task ahead of the Motorbase duo in the opening race, both Chilton and Jackson jumped up the order on the opening lap. Regrettably, Chilton’s charge was cut short as an incident caused suspension damage to the Ford, hampering his pace for the remaining laps until he eventually crossed the line in 12th.
A solid drive for Jackson on the Cheshire circuit saw the 35-year-old work his way up to 12th by the fifth lap, before making the most of a safety car appearance to push his way further up the order, achieving a top ten finish – the highest-placed finish of the season so far.
Contact ended Chilton’s seemingly strong start in race two, as he was forced to retire after just six laps.
After running as high as eighth for much of the race, Jackson struggled to hold his position in the closing laps and dropped back the order to place 13th at the flag.
Starting from the back of the grid, Chilton made a storming charge off the line in the final contest of the day. Climbing five places on the opening lap, the Reigate-racer strategically played the long-game before launching his assault. Making up an incredible 15 places on track, Chilton weaved his way up through the order to secure P13 as the flag dropped.
Jackson’s steadiness continued to pay-off, taking his third haul of championship points from the weekend. Coming under unswerving pressure for the entire 15-lap challenge, the Motorbase-man battled hard to remain in the mix, with the #48 Focus RS eventually securing 14th.
A post-race penalty and subsequent result amendment saw both positions promoted to 12th and 13th respectively.
The weekend’s results left Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher and Tom Chilton sitting third in the Independents’ standings, and eighth overall as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship enters its mid-season break. The team is next on-track for the official Dunlop tyre test in just over two weeks’ time, before returning to Snetterton circuit for rounds 16, 17 and 18 on August 3/4.
“Ultimately a really frustrating weekend,” said Team Manager Oly Collins. “Both drivers had the pace for better results, but it wasn’t to be. One very minor mistake in qualifying proved costly for Ollie and Tom and we ended up just on the wrong side of everything on Sunday it seemed. Tom had minor but costly contact in both race 1 and 2 and Ollie was running really well in race 2 but got caught out late in the race. Could have been a very different Sunday! All very small margins but we’ll come back at Snetterton stronger.”
“It was nice to be able to race in race 3 and go forward and not pick up any contact that was going to hurt me,” said Chilton. “I got a good start and then I settled in and waited for my tyres to come to me. My plan was to do my overtaking in the second half of the race. But then I gave it full beans at the end.
“I’m gutted that we didn’t manage a double podium like we did last year. I don’t like to go into rounds and drop down in the championship standings but the contact in the first two races ruined our weekend. I’m happy we turned it around, and we learned a lot with the car. We’ve got some good ideas for our two-day test at Snetterton. We still need to figure out a little bit more on the car, but we’ve made a big jump forward.
“We’re leaving Oulton Park with a much stronger package than we arrived with.”
“It’s been a funny day, to be honest,” said Jackson. “We’ve shown the potential, but unfortunately, I made a few choice decisions that were not conducive to success. I took a few risks in race 3 and none of them paid off. It was a shame as the car was really strong. I think we could have had three top ten’s today. Three points-finishes are great, but it should have been a lot better and I’m disappointed.
“I’m gradually pulling things together and it bodes well for the second half of the season. We’re developing the car and I’m gradually eliminating some of my mistakes. Hopefully it will all materialise into something excellent very soon.
“We know where we need to fill in the gaps to the competition, and that’s what we’ll focus on during the Snetterton test and summer break.”