MIGHTY MORGAN KICK-STARTS BTCC CAMPAIGN
Adam Morgan started his Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship assault with three top 12 finishes at Donington Park, including an impressive fourth place finish, as Britain’s premier motor sport championship roared into life.
Behind closed doors, but in front of ITV4’s cameras for day-long coverage, Adam’s Carlube TripleR Racing Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class, run by Ciceley Motorsport, ended the day in the top ten in the championship with a positive driver buoyed by the car’s pace.
Starting from tenth on the grid for the opener, Adam lost ground as a brace of cars flashed by and then contact with Sam Osborne’s Honda Civic at McLeans Corner cost him two more. As the race settled down, Adam upped his pace and was making progress into the top ten when he suffered another setback – having just overtaken Ollie Jackson (Ford Focus), there was contact at the Chicane as Jackson braked too late and Adam was forced wide, falling from tenth to 17th. In a gutsy fight-back, Adam dragged the Carlube Triple R Racing Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class into 12th place at the chequered flag.
“I was a bit disappointed in that. I lost places at the start and then contact with Sam didn’t help, but the real rub was Jackson taking me off. I never really got into a rhythm in that race, but it sure is good to be back racing!”
From 12th on the grid, the Accrington-based racer was in feisty mood in race two. He was part of a frenetic battle that raged on for much of the contest, with Adam charging up into eighth place, illustrating the pace of the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes. Just 6.5 seconds off the lead, Adam was delighted with his result.
“That felt a lot better. I was fully on it in that race and the car felt really good. I set the third fastest race lap and made progress up the order so a lot of boxes were ticked. I’m a happy chap!”
On the semi-reversed grid for the final race, Adam lined up fifth in what turned out to be an exciting race. Led initially by his race one nemesis Ollie Jackson, the race pace was electric as Jackson fended off Chris Smiley (Hyundai i30N) and Josh Cook (Honda Civic) with Adam slotting in behind in fourth. The fast pace forced Adam to drive as hard as he could and with 18 kilos of success ballast on board from his race two result, the speed and weight combined to affect Adam’s left front tyre.
“I pushed a bit too hard too early I think,” said Adam. “The pace was really quick and I just asked a bit too much of the left front, so as the race wore on I couldn’t quite have a go at Josh for third. It was close, but I just didn’t quite have the final tenth to attack him. Fourth was a good result to end the weekend, though, and the car feels so much better than last year that I am very positive about Brands Hatch next weekend. The Mercedes feels like a new car!”
The results put Adam ninth in the championship and fourth in the Independents’ Trophy. Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools is eighth in the BTCC Teams’ Championship and fourth in the Independent Teams’ Championship.
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess said: “It was a great way to end the weekend which had a very different feel to it. On-track, the racing was as exciting as ever and it was amazing to see Adam running up at the front and in a car that gave him so much confidence. Off-track, it felt strange not having our Carlube Triple R, Mac Tools guests and friends with us but we can’t wait to welcome them back to the circuits. I am sure that they enjoyed the ITV4 coverage and Adam’s results underline that our sponsors are with one of the top teams in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.”
The second Carlube TripleR Racing Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class was raced by Jack Butel, who signed a late deal to join the BTCC. Thrown in at the deep end, the weekend was all about track time for Jack in his first experience of a front-wheel drive racing car. Starting 24th for race one, Jack kept out of trouble and finished 22nd, before improving further in race two to bag 19th place. Sadly, in the final race, Jack was the victim of contact as he was fired into the gravel trap. Although Jack was able to re-join, he lost a chunk of time and suffered rear end damage that affected the pace of the car but he took 20th place as well as gaining more valuable track time.
“Jack has had a steep learning curve this weekend,” said Burgess, “but he has delivered what was required. He finished every race, gained experience of the car and the championship and has fitted into the Ciceley Motorsport family very quickly. We don’t think that there are many young lads in the country that could jump into the BTCC and achieve what he did this weekend, he’s ultra-impressive. We are confident that he will gain pace with more seat time and be fighting for points before long. Jack’s enthusiasm, determination, raw speed and natural talent will pay massive dividends with time, his confidence was growing with every single lap completed.”
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship moves on to Brands Hatch this weekend, 8/9 August. Qualifying on Saturday is shown live on itv.com and all the raceday action is live on ITV4 on Sunday.