Magnificent Morgan takes second place in Rockingham thriller
Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan took a superb second place in the third race in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship weekend at Rockingham yesterday, Sunday.
The Morganator took his MAC Tools-sponsored Mercedes-Benz A-Class to second place in race three to back up two further top 10 finishes with an eighth and a sixth earlier in the day.
The Fuchs Lubricants-supported Mercedes was on the money in both free practice sessions with Adam recapturing his early season form when qualifying came. The Accrington-based team made a few mid-session adjustments, to make the front of the Mercedes harder, and Adam stormed to sixth fastest time to start on the outside of row three having been 17th earlier in the session. It was a mighty recovery from the Lancashire driver.
In the opening race, Adam made a good start to run in the leading gaggle towards the first hairpin but was delayed by other drivers running wide ahead of him and, to avoid contact, Adam was delayed. He battled as far as turn three when he suffered contact from Mat Jackson’s Ford Focus, and then ended up on the outside of Matt Neal’s Honda Civic at turn five, forcing him wide and off the ideal line, dropping him down the pack. Morgan, repaying the hard work by the Ciceley Motorsport crew, forced his Mercedes-Benz A-Class back into contention and then looked after his tyres to consolidate an eighth-placed finish in the opening 16-lap race.
Adam started the second race from eighth on the grid and made a good start once more to make sure he kept ahead of the quick-starting rear-wheel drive Subarus of Jason Plato and Josh Price behind him. Adam’s racecraft enabled him to gain places coming out of the Deene Hairpin and he was running fifth before a charging Plato wriggled past him. After that, Adam had a fierce fight between BMW drivers Andrew Jordan and Rob Collard bearing down on him, but the red and black Mercedes was able to mount a stern defence and Adam hung on to sixth place despite huge pressure the two BMWs behind him.
Adam lined up second on the grid for the final race with its semi-reversed grid and catapulted away from the grid to chase pole-sitter Andrew Jordan to the first corner. The WIX Filters backed Mercedes ran on the tail of the BMW as Adam tried to capitalise on the time the BMW took to warm up its tyres, but Jordan defended stoically and backed Adam into the traffic meaning that The Morganator had to defend from Jack Goff as well as attack for the race lead. As Goff in turn had to defend from the traffic behind, Adam was able to close on leader Jordan once again and started to mount an attack, but as the race neared its end, the safety car was deployed after an accident that stranded Rob Collard’s BMW in the gravel. After that, for a two-lap restart, Adam felt the car go off. “The tyres went away behind the safety car,” he explained, “and I struggled for grip at the restart. I had Jason Plato all over me but I was able to hang on and keep second place.”
Adam’s performance underlined the pace that the Mercedes has had, despite a run of bad luck in the mid-part of the season. “The season starts here! I honestly believe that this is the pace that we have had all season but we have just had this really bad run of poor luck. Our pace has always been good enough to put us in the top 10 in races but we really have been unlucky. Now, we have proved again what the car is capable of and with the reliability sorted, we should be able to fight for more podiums before the end of the season.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess was also in buoyant mood: “Yesss! Adam did a great job this weekend as did all the engineers that have made sure that our Mercedes-Benz A-Class was quick and reliable. A run of disappointing results can knock the confidence of everyone in the team, but Adam has turned it around this weekend and reminded everyone just what he is capable of. The BTCC is a tough championship and you have to get everything just right. Today, we proved that we are fighters and Adam did a great job of taking second place, cheered on by our enthusiastic MAC Tools, Fuchs Lubricants and WIX guests in the sunshine. With a bit more luck we would have been higher up in the championship, but Adam isn’t here to make up the numbers and will be after podiums next time out at Silverstone.”
Norman continued “I must give Max Coates a mention from the Ciceley Motorsport Clio team that Adam and I run. Max secured pole for both races and had a win and a third place this weekend. Max has enjoyed another brilliant year and is again at the sharp end of the championship”.
Adam lies 11th in the championship standings and fourth in the Independents’ championship, with the next rounds being at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on September 16/17.