Mixed fortunes for Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport at Silverstone
Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan celebrated another podium finish with third in the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race at Silverstone at the weekend (24/25 September) also taking Independents’ victories in two of the three rounds, despite a rollercoaster weekend for the squad.
After topping Saturday’s second free practice session, Morgan secured third in qualifying, setting himself up ideally for a good day on Sunday with unlimited laps of hybrid power in race one. Team-mate George Gamble in contrast struggled after technical troubles brought his session to an early conclusion and, having caused a mid-session red-flag stoppage for the recovery of his BMW 330e M Sport, he was unable to rejoin to improve upon his time and was forced to settle for 17th.
Quickly embroiled in a three-way battle for the lead in the opener, Morgan struggled to make a move against the BMW of Jake Hill ahead, electing to bank points for third place, taking the Independents’ victory in the process.
Gamble meanwhile, was forced into the pit lane due to damage from a particularly aggressive charge in the early stages. Having run as high as 13th place, the #42 car would rejoin the contest at the back of the pack, taking 24th at the chequered flag.
In race two, with only 11 laps of hybrid for the 22-lap contest, third-placed Morgan moved into second off the line but the attacking pair of Gordon Shedden and Hill were able to squeeze the #33 machine back before the end of the opening tour. With Ash Sutton also capitalising on the move, Morgan found himself tussling with Tom Ingram for fifth place, which eventually went Ingram’s way.
From 24th on the grid, Gamble made up five places in the initial lap, eventually crossing the line 20th after fighting to stay in the top 20.
The final encounter looked promising for Morgan as the reverse-grid draw placed him third on the grid, but early contact curtailed his strong start. Further contact on lap five saw the 33-year-old collected by two other cars and the resulting damage forced Morgan to retire, while Gamble turned in another determined drive to finish 16th, just outside the points-paying positions.
“The car felt better than ever in race one,” said Morgan. “It’s never felt so good; we made some changes to the front and rear and I had a load more confidence on the brakes. In race two, I just felt that we were lacking a little bit of pace against the others and then I couldn’t really attack. In race three I had a gear-cut problem so when I went up a gear it wouldn’t engage properly and if it did go in it then instigated another cut and then I just got smashed into from behind. Game over!”
“The car was fast and looked mega,” added Gamble. “I’ve saved good tyres for Brands Hatch and I go there feeling positive, but it has been frustrating in terms of results.”
“It’s another weekend that shows the highs and lows of touring car racing,” concluded Commercial Director Ash Gallagher. “We have two fast cars but were at the mercy of external factors, both mechanical and human with other drivers affecting our results. Two Independent wins are great for the team, as is an outright podium so there is plenty to celebrate. The guys are so positive about the set-up of the cars that we are really pumped for Brands Hatch and are determined to end the season on a high.”
Morgan now lies ninth in the overall championship and second in the Independents’ title fight, while Gamble is 13th in the standings, fourth in the Independents’ contest and second in the Jack Sears Trophy, for drivers who hadn’t scored a top three finish at the start of the season.
The final rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship are set to take place at Brands Hatch, Kent, on 8/9 October with qualifying shown live on itv.com/btcc and all the race-day action on ITV4 on Sunday.