Mighty Morgan motors to stunning season-opening results
Lancastrian race ace Adam Morgan started his Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign with three stunning drives in damp and slippery conditions at Brands Hatch, Kent, at the weekend.
Adam’s Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class secured a weekend-best finish of third place in race two and Adam ended the weekend fifth in the championship standings.
After a qualifying session held in near arctic conditions on Saturday, in which cold track conditions were compounded by steady drizzle, Adam was a frustrated 22ndfastest, perturbed that the set-up of the Fuchs Lubricated Mercedes wasn’t as he wanted it after impressive winter testing times.
“We worked on the set-up and the geometry over the winter but that was the first time that we ran the new Dunlop wet tyre and I struggled for lateral grip. We think we know what we need to do for tomorrow.”
Race day dawned foggy and then the drizzle returned just before the first race. As the teams at the front of the grid elected to run wet tyres, Adam gambled on the rain getting no heavier and, on a slick tyre, he went into battle for the 24-lap opener. It took a couple of laps for the tyres to come up to temperature, after which Adam carved his way through the pack to finish an astonishing fifth! As the wet-shod cars struggled for tyre life, Adam picked them off easily using his superior grip and race craft to carve through the pack.
“That was a great result, especially after qualifying. I gambled on slicks based on the data from last year when we had a wet/dry race and I thought more drivers would have done the same. I was cautious at the start but the set-up was much better and it was a quick car. That’s a great start to the season.”
From fifth on the grid for race two, Adam stormed into the leading battle, the order shuffling as those on the softer option tyre started to lose pace late in the race. As Andrew Jordan’s BMW pulled clear in the lead, Adam forged on to the tail of early race leader Ash Sutton (Subaru Levorg). Having crawled all over the back of the boxy estate car, Adam made a last-gasp effort to displace the Subaru on the drag to the line, but lost out by just 22-thousandths of a second in a photo-finish! From 22ndon the grid at the start of the day, it was a mighty effort.
“Those last couple of laps were really hard,” said Adam. “The tyres were going off for others so I was able to attack but got stuck and had to defend so it was really tough. We’ve learnt a lot about the set-up in these conditions and I reckon there is more to come in race three.”
The third race was a typically frantic affair, with battles raging on throughout the grid. From the reverse grid of the top 11, Adam started ninth and was involved in another race-long slugfest! Adam ended the race 11th, after being roughed up in a pack of cars that ran nose-to-tail for much of the race.
“That was the most physical BTCC race I’ve ever been in,” reckoned Adam. “I couldn’t get past some very defensive drivers and I got bottled up behind Tom Ingram (Toyota Corolla) and everyone fired into me! I got hit so hard, I was pushed into Tom and that did some damage, I think to the radiator because the temperatures went up on the last lap - I was lucky to get to the end of the race.”
The weekend’s results put Adam fifth in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, and third in the Independents championship. Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport ended the weekend sixth in the BTCC Teams Championship and third in the Independents Teams’ Championship.
“That was an amazing turnaround for us,” remarked Ciceley Motorsport’s Commercial Director Norman Burgess. “We were disappointed after Saturday but The Morganator rose to the challenge and shone all day. The conditions were really tricky but Adam didn’t make a single mistake, scored points in all three races and did an outstanding job. All our Mac Tools and Lunar Caravan guests cheered him to the echo and were treated to a tremendous day of BTCC action at its best. We can’t wait for Donington now and more points.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s second car, run under the Cataclean Racing banner for series newcomer Dan Rowbottom, enjoyed a steady start to its season. Clio Cup graduate Dan was the fastest Mercedes driver in qualifying but elected to run the wet tyre in the opening race in order to gain confidence. The BTCC rookie soon lost tyre life and battled home to 23rdplace, but was involved in an early-race tangle in the second stanza that caused damage to the radiator. A Herculean effort by the Ciceley Motorsport engineers let Dan join race three from the pit lane and he fought from 30thto 23rdat flag fall, important seat-time standing him in good stead for Donington next time out.
The second event in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be at Donington Park, Derbyshire, on April 27/28 with qualifying on Saturday covered live on itv.com and all the raceday action live on ITV4
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For more information on Adam Morgan and Ciceley Motorsport, visit www.adammorganracing.co.uk
Contact the teams Commercial & Marketing Director Norman Burgess at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Ciceley Motorsport , visit www.adammorganracing.co.uk