CICELEY MOTORSPORT AIMING TO MOVE ON FROM CROFT FRUSTRATION
A frustrating weekend for Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools saw Adam Morgan bag a best result of ninth place at Croft in North Yorkshire just over a week ago, as team-mate Jack Butel registered the first DNF of his BTCC career.
Despite heading into the seventh event of the campaign in optimistic mood, a bout of rain prior to qualifying would derail the squad’s plans and resulted in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class not being as sharp as it had been on a dry track.
By the completion of the 30-minute session, Morgan had sealed 12th spot for Sunday’s opening encounter, with his rookie team-mate achieving 23rd.
Eager to make progress early in round 19, Morgan soon found himself in traffic and had to settle for an unscathed ninth at the chequered flag.
“We’d gone for a set-up that was perhaps a bit too racy,” he explained. “I should have gone a bit safer on the rear end, as the car felt a bit loose in places. That meant that I couldn’t quite hang onto everyone. Ninth was ok, though.”
Jersey racer Butel, by contrast, suffered his first DNF of the campaign, when a steering issue forced the rookie to retire with just four laps remaining.
Beginning race two from ninth on the grid, Morgan made a good start before a concertina effect at the hairpin caused damage to the #33 machine, hampering its pace and resulting in a 13th-place finish.
A solid drive from Butel saw the 24-year-old climb to 17th spot at the chequered flag, making up six places throughout the 16-lap contest.
Missing out on any benefit of the reverse grid draw, Morgan started the final race of the day in 13th. Following an early safety car period due to a sizeable accident for Bobby Thompson, the Lancastrian found good pace in his car at the re-start but after struggling to get past the Infiniti of Aiden Moffat, he would ultimately cross the line a frustrated 13th, despite briefly running inside the top ten.
“Race three was really disappointing,” reflected Morgan. “Moffat was so defensive that I just couldn’t find a way by anywhere so, although we had good speed at the end, I couldn’t do much with it because I was stuck in traffic again.
“The positives are that, on a dry track, the car felt really good and was quick, but it was a bit of an average weekend really and part of that was because of the rain before qualifying which derailed us. Had it not been for that, I think we would have been higher up the grid and had a different race one, which therefore improves the whole run of race day for you. I was hoping to break my duck at Croft, but the duck won again..!”
Race three proved to be equally frustrating for Butel as, despite starting from P17, he found himself running in 21st at the conclusion of the opening lap and could only make up one place by the chequered flag, bringing the sister Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class home in 20th.
“There is just something about Croft that doesn’t like us,” added Commercial Director Norman Burgess. “It’s the only track in the UK where Adam hasn’t had a podium. Every year we come here thinking we will rid ourselves of our bad luck, but something always strikes us!
“The weather didn’t help in qualifying, but when you consider Adam had to do most of race two with a worn tyre and got stuck behind a rear-wheel drive car in race three at a circuit regarded as favouring rear-wheel drive machinery, he drove as hard as he could to salvage points for the team. We saw plenty of people have their fortunes change over the weekend, and that is part of the BTCC’s three-race format, but Adam never gave up and will bounce back at Snetterton eager for more success for Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools.
“Jack was unlucky with his steering issue in the opening race, but he fought back, kept out of trouble, continued to learn and did a really solid job in the other two races.”
As the series approaches Snetterton, Morgan sits ninth in the standings, with Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools eighth in the Teams’ Championship and Butel currently fifth in the Jack Sears Trophy.
All of the BTCC action from the penultimate event of the 2020 season at Snetterton this coming weekend can be watched live, with qualifying streamed on Saturday, 24 October from 14:15 at itv.com/btcc, and race day broadcast on ITV4 on Sunday, 25 October from 10:05.