CAR GODS WITH CICELEY MOTORSPORT BAGS THREE TOP EIGHT FINISHES IN SNETTERTON SCORCHER
Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport left Snetterton celebrating another positive weekend in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship as Adam Morgan and Tom Chilton once again proved the pace of the BMW 330i M Sport, with the former taking three top eight finishes.
In hot conditions on Saturday, the main focus for the squad was the two-part qualifying session – with the top ten progressing to a final shootout. The initial 25-minute session saw Chilton qualify 13th, while his team-mate would take tenth and proceed to the Top Ten Showdown.
Battling to sixth spot during the session, the #33 driver was then promoted to fifth following a rival’s disqualification, while Chilton’s 13th place became 12th for Sunday’s opener.
“I’m pleased with that,” said Morgan. “The car has really good pace and should be suited to Snetterton, so I’m optimistic for race day.”
In sweltering conditions, Morgan made a good start from fifth on the grid and was soon in a battle with Ollie Jackson, Dan Lloyd and Stephen Jelley. On the softer, grippier option tyre, the 32-year-old was fighting hard when he snagged a brake into the Esses and locked up a wheel.
“That really hurt us,” explained Morgan. “I dropped to seventh but even when I was braking earlier to look after the tyres I still overtook Dan Lloyd for sixth place, so I’m really pleased. I’m not sure it would have lasted another lap, though.”
Morgan’s hard-earned sixth place contrasted Chilton’s opening race, when a spin on the final lap dropped his Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW to 21st place.
From 21st on the grid and with work to do in race two, Chilton charged his BMW into the first hairpin on the opening lap but became a victim of the traffic ahead of him and subsequent contact resulted in the retirement of the #3 machine.
“There is always a concertina effect,” Chilton explained. “I was about one car length back from the car ahead at turn two but suddenly the field seemed to stop, and I just couldn’t stop in time. Then it happened again into turn four which broke my bonnet, so I was then staring at bodywork!”
Morgan, from sixth on the grid, struggled with understeer early in the race which then became oversteer as the laps ticked by. Having dropped back after the opening tour, he recovered to take eighth in the results.
“It was difficult to get traction and pick up power,” said Morgan. “It was very difficult for everyone in the heat, and in terms of pace we weren’t far away, but it was just so hot! I locked up in a couple of corners and we made a few adjustments after race one, but they weren’t quite what we needed. I’m happy with eighth though because it is more points and shows that we can run up near the front.”
Having missed out on the reverse grid, as seventh became the place that would translate to pole, Morgan started eighth and Chilton 28th for the final race. Again, both rear-wheel drive cars made good starts, with Morgan’s machine having undergone some more set-up changes between outings.
“We made the rear of the car more settled, but we had a bit more understeer in the high-speed sections,” said Morgan. “It was quite a tough race, but my goal was a top ten and I finished eighth, so overall I’m pretty happy.
“I need to manage the tyres a bit better but I am still learning about rear-wheel drive cars after seasons in front-wheel drive machinery, so each time we go out I am making steps forward.”
“I was a bit Cautious Charlie after not finishing race two, but we made some tweaks that made the car really fast and I got through from 28th to 19th,” said Chilton. “I reckon that could have been higher but I was held up in traffic early on and I really didn’t want to risk it too much for fear of not finishing. By the end of the race, the car was working really well and the whole grid was coming to me. I wish we could have had a race four…!”
“Everyone was talking about the weather, but we were focussed on the pace of our Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMWs,” concluded Commercial Director Norman Burgess. “The cars showed really good speed and three top eight finishes for Adam shows that we are in the mix and our first win of 2021 isn’t far away.
“Adam raced hard as usual and did an amazing job of bringing home his car in race one, it really was phenomenal tyre management in that heat. Tom was unlucky in race two being in the wrong place at the wrong time in traffic but showed what he is capable of in race three after a mega charge. As soon as Tom’s luck changes, he’ll be the man to beat. We head to the next races full of optimism.”
The results from Snetterton put Morgan and Chilton 11th and 20th respectively in the Drivers’ Standings, with Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport ninth in the Teams’ Championship. The next rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship are set to take place at Brands Hatch, Kent, on 26/27 June, with qualifying due to be streamed live at itv.com/btcc on Saturday 26 June, and all the race day action live on ITV4 on Sunday 27 June.