After an excellent morning in which Adam topped the Free Practice 2 times, third in qualifying was his reward in his BMW 330e M Sport which set him up ideally for a good day on Sunday, running unlimited laps of hybrid power in race one. Teammate George Gamble in contrast struggled after his car mysteriously shut down mid-session causing a stoppage and preventing him from return to the track to improve is time. He would start 17th.
Adam was part of a three-way fight for the race one lead, his Bowker BMW-backed car latching on to the tail of the similar car of Jake Hill who in turn chased race leader Rory Butcher (Toyota Corolla). With the cars so evenly matched, Adam couldn’t quite make a move against Hill and elected to bank points for third place, taking the Independents’ win, while George had to pit for repairs after an aggressive charge in the early stages. With the front splitter dislodged, race officials ordered the car to be attended to on safety grounds and hence George fell to 24th place.
In race two, with only 11 laps of hybrid usage out of the 22-lap distance, third-placed Adam was elbowed wide at Brooklands on the opening lap by Gordon Shedden’s Honda which dropped him back in the leading pack and progress was tough to make although he did enjoy a fierce battle with Tom Ingram for fifth place, which eventually went Ingram’s way. Adam was hurt by his hybrid system failing during a safety car period that left him frustrated in the final laps as the extra power he had save from his allocation couldn’t be used. Adam did, however, take a second Independent’s win of the day. George battled his way to 20th place after an early lock-up flat-spotted a tyre and made it hard to get the car to turn in as he wanted.
Race three looked good for Adam as he was third on the reverse grid, but after contact at Becketts on the opening lap when in second place after a good start, he fell to third as he sorted out the drama. Worse was to come however, as he was struggling with a gear-cut issue and then on lap five he was whacked in the back at the Becketts hairpin by Stephen Jelley’s BMW and Adam was turned around facing the traffic. He was collected by two other cars and the damage put him out of the race, while George turned in another determined drive to finish 16th, just outside the points.
Said Adam: “The car felt better than ever in race one. It’s never felt so good because 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 the hybrid failed which meant that 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!”
George summed up his weekend: “The car was fast, looked mega but 29 touring cars on a track with three corners was carnage! I’ve saved good tyres for Brands Hatch and I go there feeling positive, but it has been frustrating in terms of results.”
Ash Gallagher, Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Said: “It’s another weekend that shows the highs and lows of touring car racing. 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.”
Adam now lies ninth in the championship and second in the Independent title fight, while George 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 races in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship are at Brands Hatch, Kent, on October 8/9 with qualifying shown live on itv.com and all the raceday action on ITV4 on Sunday.