Front running Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship team Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport is celebrating victory North of the Border at Knockhill, Fife, after rookie racer George Gamble scored his first BTCC success in the day’s final race in front of a huge live ITV audience.
George started on pole position after taking seventh place in race two and scooped the reverse grid pole. The Nottingham racer blasted his rear-wheel drive BMW 330e M Sport away from pole position to dominate the third race of the day and fended 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, George didn’t put a wheel wrong to hang on for a win in his first season in the BTCC.
George Said “What an amazing feeling! I knew that we had the pace to battle for podiums this 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.”
Earlier in the day, George had taken fifth place in the opening race, part of a BMW train that included the WSR-run cars of Jake Hill, Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley. George 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, George held on to his fifth place to begin with, but, while trying to make progress, was shuffled back by Gordon Shedden (Honda Civic) and Rory Butcher (Toyota Corolla), which dropped him to ninth place. That resulted in a charge back to seventh place which in turn was then converted into pole position, proving how a driver’s race day fortunes can change!
Both Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport cars had been really strong in qualifying too, with Adam Morgan netting the fourth fastest time and George sixth. However, Race Day was difficult for Adam, his opening race being affected by a throttle body problem on the warming up lap. The car was recovered to the pit lane and the technical issue fixed in double-quick time to allow Adam to start from the pit lane. Around the narrow and twisty circuit, The Morganator turned in an truly epic effort to battle up from 29th and a pit lane start to 14th after a superb late-race battle with Josh Cook’s Honda Civic that was resolved in Adam’s favour on the penultimate lap.
“We had mega pace,” said Adam. “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.”
Race two was a frustrating one for Adam, as despite, “The best start I have ever made in a rear-wheel drive car,” he was involved in contact on the opening lap, scuppering his chances of a good finish. With a car that was damaged in the collision, it was always going to be hard for Adam to make progress, but worse was to come. Adam was heading for 11th and a chance in the reverse grid draw when he lost power. “A trip light was flashing on the dash, so I reset it and the car started up like nothing had happened. Again it’s frustrating as it is a part that we can’t touch, but we have two really good cars and should have had better results out of mine today..” Poor Adam battled home 18th.
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Ash Gallagher said: “What a day of two halves! 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 ITV audience and delighting all our trackside guests got to share in the emotion after race three.”
George also won 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 each race as well making it an outstanding day in his maiden BTCC season.
George now moves up to 12th in the championship with Adam ninth, whilst Adam is second and George third in the Independent Drivers’ standings. Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport is sixth in the Teams’ Championship and second in the Independent Teams’ competition while George lies second in the Jack Sears Trophy.
The championship heads next to Snetterton on August 13/14 with qualifying from the Norfolk venue shown on itv.com on Saturday and the full race day action on the main ITV Channel.