‘A DAY OF TWO HALVES’ FOR CAR GODS WITH CICELEY MOTORSPORT
Front-running Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship team Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport celebrated victory at Knockhill, Fife, last weekend (30/31 July) after rookie racer George Gamble scored his first BTCC success in the final race of the day.
Gamble started on pole position by virtue of the reverse-grid draw after taking seventh in race two and blasted his rear-wheel drive BMW 330e M Sport off the grid to dominate the third race of the day, fending off the chasing pack for an assured win in a style that belied his lack of experience in the world’s toughest touring car series. With Jake Hill’s BMW chasing after him, the 26-year-old didn’t put a wheel wrong to hang on for a win in his first season in the BTCC.
“What an amazing feeling! I knew that we had the pace to battle for podiums over the weekend, but a win is a brilliant result and one that I’m delighted with. It’s a credit to Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport as well, who gave me a great car and all the guys worked so hard to deliver a race-winning machine. It was up near the front all weekend so that is really rewarding to show that the pace was solid all weekend.”George Gamble, Car Gods with Cicley Motorsport
Earlier in the day, the Northamptonshire driver had taken fifth place in the opening race from sixth on the grid, part of a BMW train that included the WSR-run cars of Hill, Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley. Gamble pushed hard in the closing stages but was unable to wriggle past the traffic and finished fifth but won the Independents’ contest for the non-manufacturer entries.
In race two, Gamble held on to his fifth place to begin with, but, while trying to make progress, was shuffled back to ninth place. That resulted in a charge back to seventh which in turn was then converted into pole position, proving how a driver’s race-day fortunes can change.
Team-mate Adam Morgan also qualified well, bagging a P4 start for Sunday’s initial encounter. Race day, however, proved to be a different affair for the #33 driver, when technical gremlins brought his BMW to a halt on its way to the grid for Round 16. Morgan’s machine was recovered to the pit lane and fixed in record time to allow the Lancashire racer to join the back of the pack for the opener.
From 29th on the grid, an impressive drive from Morgan saw him fight his way into the points, and a late-race battle with Josh Cook rewarded him with a 14th-place finish for the 33-year-old.
“We had mega pace. I was delayed a bit at the start avoiding spins, but then I got going really well so had we started where we should in fourth, it could have been a fantastic result.”Adam Morgan, Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport
Race two was a frustrating one for Morgan, contact on the opening lap scuppered his chances of a good finish. In his now damaged BMW 330e M Sport, Morgan struggled to make progress, and a loss of power as he headed for 11th spot resulted in further disappointment, and he eventually crossed the line in 18th.
Morgan then made his way through the order once again in the final contest for another points haul, bagging 11th at the chequered flag.
“What a day of two halves,” said the squad’s Commercial Director, Ash Gallagher. “George drove brilliantly in race three and showed his class by taking a win on one of the toughest tracks that we go to. With Adam’s problems early in the day, the focus on his car shifted to reverse-engineering the day and trying to work towards a race three result, but despite having to overtake over twenty cars across the two races on the tightest circuit on the calendar, it just wasn’t to be.
“Overall though, we are delighted about the Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport taking a win in front of a massive audience and that all our trackside guests got to share in the emotion after race three.”
Gamble also took the honours in the Jack Sears Trophy in all three races, the competition for drivers who hadn’t scored a podium result before the start of the season, and was the best-placed Independent driver in every race as well, further adding to an outstanding day in his maiden BTCC season.
The championship heads next to Snetterton on 13/14 August with qualifying from the Norfolk venue shown on itv.com/btcc from 1515 on Saturday and the full race-day action across the main ITV channel and ITV4.