Month: July 2018

AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing takes top ten from tough Snetterton weekend

ant whorton eales rcib debut

he AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team salvaged a top ten finish from a tough weekend on track as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumed at Snetterton.

The West Thurrock-based team headed for the Norfolk circuit keen to push for strong points, with regular racer Rory Butcher being joined by Ant Whorton-Eales for the special Diamond Double meeting – which featured an extended third race offering double points.

Qualifying saw Fife racer Rory leading the team’s challenge as he put his MG6 GT in 18th place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend before setting the 21st best time in a shorter second session used to determine the grid for race three.

A strong opening lap in a wet first race saw Rory rocket up into eleventh spot and it appeared that a good result was on the cards only for alternator failure to suddenly slow the car and force him into retirement.

That left Rory near the rear of the field for race two, but he fought hard to make his way through to the fringes of the points before contact on track forced him into an unscheduled pitstop – dropping him off the lead lap and leaving him to finish in 23rd.

Eager to try and recover points in race three, Rory’s weekend would unfortunately end in disappointing fashion when he was forced off track on the opening lap of the Diamond Double race and once again failed to make the finish.

Team-mate Ant went into the weekend with no prior time at the wheel of the MG6 and carrying 45kg of ballast as a new entry, which played a part in him qualifying 30th for race one.  Without ballast in second qualifying, he posted the 29th best time on the grid for race three.

A solid opening race saw the Lichfield racer battle his way into the top 20 before late contact caused a puncture that dropped him back down to 23rd place.

Race two however in changeable conditions allowed Ant to showcase his talents with a fine drive through the field to take tenth spot and a well-earned points finish.

The revised weekend schedule meant no opportunity to benefit from the reverse grid for race three, with Ant instead left to try and carve his way through the field again in the double length finale and having climbed as high as 13th as part of a huge midfield battle, he would end the race just half a second outside the points in 16th place.

Rory Butcher, #6 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“It’s been a frustrating weekend for me that promised a lot. In both the wet and mixed conditions we clearly had a quick car but we haven’t been able to bring home the results. In race one, I had a mega start and I’m sure that without the issue that developed, I could have picked off the guys ahead and finished well inside the top ten.

“Race two was one of those where there was a lot of contact in the pack and I got caught out by the two cars ahead suddenly braking early into one of the corners and I couldn’t avoid a front-to-rear impact. They happen all the time but unfortunately it dislodged the air intake so I had to pit.

“As for race three, my whole aim was to stay out of trouble in the early stages and instead I found myself being fired off on the opening lap, which is difficult to take when the race is such a long one. We just have to put this one behind us, stay positive and make sure we come out fighting at Rockingham.”

Ant Whorton-Eales, #10 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“It’s been a really good weekend and I’m really pleased to come away from Snetterton with a points finish. The start of the weekend was a bit of a struggle because of the weight we had to carry and the lack of time in the car, but we kept making improvements and then the conditions worked in our favour on race day.

“We had a decent car in the wet in race one but couldn’t get the result because of contact, and in the changing conditions in race two it was great to fight our way through to tenth – it’s just a shame there was no reverse grid this time!

“In race three I tried to take it easy on the tyres early on so that I could push in the later stages but the performance dropped away and it became quite frustrating because of the way that affected the handling. It’s a shame to miss out on the points but it was a good weekend as a whole and thanks to Shaun and the team for trusting me to come in and do a job.”

Shaun Hollamby, AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“It’s been a weekend of ups and downs for the MGs this weekend. Rory has been extremely unlucky because he had the pace to pick up three strong results on race day and instead has come away with nothing to show for his efforts.

“Ant has done a fantastic job for us as a late substitute this weekend and to bring home a top ten finish when he hadn’t even driven the car before was brilliant. He picked up where he left off when he finished last season with the Audi and based on how he performed on track, I’m sure he would do a great job if he was to return to the BTCC full-time in 2019.”

Picture thanks to Marc Waller.

New look AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing line-up readies for Snetterton challenge

Ant Whorton-Eales

The AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will debut a new look driver line-up when the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumes this weekend at Snetterton.

The West Thurrock-based outfit will welcome Lichfield-based racer Ant Whorton-Eales back into the fold for the sixth meeting of the campaign after he agreed a deal to rejoin the team as partner to Fife racer Rory Butcher.

Ant raced for the team last season in an Audi S3, taking a best finish of sixth having graduated into the BTCC as winner of the Renault Clio Cup UK.

This season, the 24-year-old has switched to the MINI Challenge, where he currently heads the championship standings following a third win of the year in the most recent event at Oulton Park.

As a new entry to the championship, Ant will run with 45kg of success ballast on his car.

Team-mate Rory has been one of the most impressive performers on track this year having regularly challenged for points in his first full season in the series.

Rory currently sits inside the top ten in the Independents’ championship and lies second in the Jack Sears Trophy for drivers who have yet to score an outright podium.

The Scottish star will look to build on the progress made during the recent Snetterton test to push towards the top ten, with three strong results being the target across the weekend.

In a change to the norm, the final race of the weekend this weekend will take on a new format as part of the BTCC’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Race three will run to double the normal length and will all cars will run as base weight without any additional success ballast in place.

A separate qualifying session on Saturday will determine the starting positions, with double points being awarded.

Rory Butcher, #6 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“It’s been a hectic summer break for me and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel this weekend at Snetterton. I’m feeling really good and I feel we go into the second half of the season in a good position after the two-day test earlier this month gave us the chance to try out a few things with the car.

“We now have a better understanding of a few things that we need to fine tune when we get to the circuit ahead of what promises to be an exciting weekend with the special Diamond Double race. It’s certainly going to make things interesting on track with the additional points on offer, and I think it will come down to who can get their car set-up best for the conditions to maximise the performance of the tyres.

“From a team perspective, it’s great to welcome Ant into the fold and hopefully we can work together to pick up some good results during the weekend ahead.”

Ant Whorton-Eales, #10 AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing MG6 GT, said:
“I was really interested in taking part in the Snetterton weekend with the special Diamond Double race, and it’s great that we’ve been able to do a deal with Shaun to race the MG. It’s a bit of a last minute thing and I know that it will be a huge challenge, but I’m really looking forward to it and I have to say thanks to Shaun and to both AutoAid and RCIB Insurance for the opportunity.

“I’ve never even sat in the MG and having got used to racing the MINI this season, it will take me a bit of time to get back up to speed in a touring car but I’m hopeful we can have a decent weekend on track.

“It’s hard to make any predictions in terms of what to expect results wise, so I’m just going to go out there, enjoy myself and see what happens. If I can get somewhere close to Rory then I think it’ll be a job well done.”

Shaun Hollamby, AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“We’ve had a busy summer period after the changes we decided to make to the MG programme and we’re delighted to be able to welcome Ant back into the AmD fold this weekend. We know what he is capable of from our time working together last season and even though he will be driving the MG for the first time, we are confident he can do a good job on track.

“We’re sure that Ant and Rory will work well together as a team and we head back to Snetterton after the recent test in confident mood.  The double points race means there is a good opportunity to put a big score on the board this weekend and there is no reason why both drivers can’t be right in the mix for a points finish.”

Photo Credit: Marc Waller.