Morgan rounds out BTCC season with overtaking master-class
Lancastrian race ace Adam Morgan rounded out his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season with a stirring drive in race three to take ninth place having suffered damage earlier in the day.
Adam’s Mac Tools-sponsored Mercedes-Benz A-Class started its weekend with the fastest time in the opening free practice session, and the fourth best time in the second session. On a wet-then-dry road for qualifying, Adam was ninth fastest, frustrated by traffic and that he never quite got into a rhythm with two red flags punctuating the session. “It was very critical as to when you put slicks on and when you started a run because you needed to get the rubber up to temperature,” explained Adam. “I tried to get a tow at one stage but that didn’t work out, but on the whole we had a good balance in the car and it looked good for the races.”
Adam started the opening race from ninth on the grid but a downpour shortly before the race started left drivers in a quandary over which tyres to use: Dunlop’s wet or dry-weather rubber. As the rain stopped and the road began to dry, Adam went on to slick tyres and coped admirably with the greasy conditions, until contact with Dave Newsham’s Chevrolet on lap two put Adam on the wet line on the outside of Surtees corner and he skidded head-first into the tyre barrier. That damaged the car’s bodywork but more significantly, it punctured the car’s radiator meaning that he had to retire from the race. “That was really frustrating because I think we had the pace to make progress but it was so slippery that the slicks couldn’t work and I had no chance to save it. That ruined races one and two for us.”
Adam started race two from 30th on the grid and in a great display, carved his way up to 19th place by the end of the 15-lap race. “That was important to move forward for race three but it was hard to overtake because it is so close around here with the cars so evenly-matched. That was a good result and moved us up the order for race three.”
Adam’s Ciceley Motorsport-run, WIX Filters backed Mercedes-Benz A-Class blasted through from 19th to ninth in race three, again underlining the speed of the car and the potential of the car on a track like Brands Hatch at which The Morganator has always gone well. As Adam charged through the field, picking off cars in the final race on a track that started wet, then dried and then became wet again, his Mercedes shone as he gained place after place.
“We ran wets in race three which were good at the start and then went off as the track dried. The car isn’t always great in the wet but it felt good today so we are clearly improving in terms of set-up and to charge up from 19th to ninth was a good way to finish the season. It shows the pace of the car and while it is disappointing not to have had a win this season, our sister car has taken two wins and that shows what the car is capable of. We’ve had some bad luck in mid-season but these last few events have underlined the potential of the package and we go into next season knowing where we need to develop and improve.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess said: “This weekend almost encapsulates our season: good pace, excellent driving by Adam but unfortunate circumstances affected our results. We have shown we have a good car, with good pace in it and Adam has driven excellently all season, but we have been unlucky with some mechanical dramas and the victim of other people’s wayward driving on occasions. We will regroup and come back next year stronger and even more competitive.
“This has been our first season with our new sponsor Mac Tools and the relationship has been superb. The company has been a very proactive sponsor and the partnership between Mac Tools and Ciceley Motorsport has been very rewarding with we look forward to building on that next year. Certainly, the enthusiasm shown by all our VIP guests watching Adam charge through the field at Brands Hatch shows that they love the involvement in the BTCC. WIX Filters who continue to support us have again been instrumental in our commercial success along with Fuchs Lubricants, who’s support and assistance with special lubricants is priceless. We must have one of, if not the best and most enjoyable sponsorship packages in the entire Championship”
“The Ciceley Motorsport Clio Team have been brilliant this year and Max Coates has been defending our honour, fighting at the front all year long. Jade Edwards has been a fantastic addition and a breath of fresh air. Jade has endured some terrible luck cumulating in a terrible start line accident on Saturday in which she wrote off her car but, thankfully walked away with only a few bruises. Jade, Max and their Engineers and Mechanics have been a real credit to Ciceley Motorsport”
“Adam, Russell and I must express our enormous gratitude to our Engineers, Mechanics and Hospitality staff, we just wouldn’t be Ciceley Motorsport without them. The countless hours, dedication and commitment they put into the team often leaves us humbled and very proud. Thank you so much.”
Adam ended the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship 10th in the championship and fourth in the Independents’ Trophy, with Ciceley Motorsport ninth overall in the Teams Championship and fifth in the Independent teams’ Trophy.
Ciceley Motorsport now looks forward to an even better and more successful 2018 season.