Month: June 2019

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing hope for return to form at Oulton Park

RCIB Ready for Oulton Park

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will hope for an upturn in fortunes when the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championhip heads for Oulton Park this weekend for the fifth round of the year.

Having been regular contenders at the sharp end of the grid in the opening three rounds of the year, the West Thrurrock-based team endured a more challenging weekend last time out at Croft, where both Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff found themselves in the wars.

Fife racer Rory had gone into round four in a share of the championship lead, but a qualifying accident that left him at the back of the grid for race day meant his weekend became a case of damage limitation.

Fighting through to finish inside the top ten by the end of race three allowed Rory to remain inside the top six in the overall championship and second in the Independents’ Trophy heading towards the half-way stage of the season.

Eager to return to the kind of form that has seen him secure his maiden win in the series already this year, Rory goes into the weekend confident about running at the sharp end of the grid with his focus on pushing for strong points in all three races.

For Leeds-based team-mate Sam, the Croft weekend would also be largely decided by qualifying, with the former series runner-up one of a number of drivers who were unable to set a representative time thanks to a number of red flags.

That prevented Sam from being able to build on the pace he had shown in practice at the wheel of the #600 Honda, with the 30-year-old being left frustrated with a best finish of 13th.

Oulton Park however is a circuit where Sam has gone well in the past, taking two race wins and three further podium finishes during his BTCC career to date.

With the Honda having been a strong package at Oulton Park in the past – and free of success ballast – Sam goes into the weekend keen to try and fight for his second pole position of the year, with a trouble-free race day and a strong haul of points being vital for his championship challenge.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“Croft was our most challenging weekend of the year but we always expected that to be the case. Hopefully this weekend at Oulton Park will be more straightforward, and we can replicate the kind of results we secured in the opening three rounds.

“Despite his accident at Croft, Rory remains well placed in the standings and it would be good if he could at least maintain his front-running position going into the summer break.

“For Sam, hopefully this weekend will be the one where his luck changes. His speed isn’t in doubt, and it would be good if he could pick up the kind of results that his pace deserves.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I’m confident that the Honda is going to be a strong package when we get to Oulton Park.  At Croft, I paid the price for the first real mistake I’ve made this season so this weekend, the first aim is to stay out of trouble. The BTCC is a series where you have ups and downs – hopefully I’ve now got the down out of the way!

“Last season we saw Matt Simpson put his FK2 Honda on pole position before winning race one at Oulton Park, so I think we can be optimistic about a good weekend on track this time around.

“We lost a little bit of ground in the standings at Croft, and I’ll be pushing hard to try and make some of that ground back up this weekend.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“There is no doubt that the car is fast, and we’ve seen that it has been quick at Oulton Park in the past. However, aside from the podium at Thruxton, luck hasn’t been on my side and I’m not where I expect to be in the standings as a result.

“That does mean I go to Oulton Park running without any ballast which means we have to be aiming to qualify at the front so we can fight for some strong results. On paper, Oulton should be one of our better tracks and we have to try and make the most of it.”

Image thanks to Dickon Siddall.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing battles hard for Croft points

RCIB at Croft

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team battled back from a tough qualifying session to score more solid points from the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season.

The West Thurrock-based team headed for North Yorkshire in confident mood after Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff both took to the podium at Thruxton in the previous round, with hopes high of more success on track.

Despite showing well in practice with additional ballast on his car, Rory was left with work to do on race day after a heavy accident in qualifying before he’d been able to set a timed lap.

Fine work from the team to repair his damaged Honda Civic Type R allowed the Fife racer to start the opening race from 29th place, and he fought hard on track despite being on the less favourable hard tyre to work his way up to 18th place.

Battling towards the top ten in race two, Rory was well placed to get into a position to potentially benefit from the reverse grid draw before contact from the Subaru of Senna Proctor forced him wide at the hairpin.

The end result was a 14th place finish, but a storming drive in a wet final race saw Rory fight hard with the rapid BMWs of Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan to eventually cross the line in seventh.

It leaves the Scot sixth in the championship standings at the end of the weekend and second in the Independents’ Trophy.

Team-mate Sam was also left with work to do on race day after a number of red flags and traffic prevented him from setting a representative time.

From  26th on the grid, Sam showed the pace in the Honda to race forwards into the points before contact from Proctor at the hairpin dropped him back down the pack; with a further trip across the grass leading to a pit stop that saw him cross the line 23rd.

Fighting back to 15th place in race two, Sam would end the weekend with 13th in race three to secure two points finishes, although the Leeds racer was left to wonder what might have been.

Sam ends the weekend 17th in the overall standings and seventh in the Independents’ Trophy.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“Croft was always going to be a case of damage limitation and that definitely proved to be the case!

“Qualifying was hampered by multiple red flags and the rain and it didn’t go our way, with the accident for Rory and Sam being delayed in getting out for his final chance to set a lap-time.

“The real highlight for me from the weekend was the way in which the whole team worked hard in challenging conditions, and also the way that Rory took on the BMWs of Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington in race three.

“To see both drivers score points rewarded the team for their hard work and we’re looking forward to Oulton Park where we’re confident that the Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Hondas will shine!”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I have to say a huge thank you to the team for getting the car fixed for race day after what happened in qualifying as it was a big hit.

“To be honest, I hoped we could have taken more from race day but the tyre selections worked against us and when we got rid of the weight after race one, there wasn’t really anyone on the hard tyre in race two. Getting punted off the road also didn’t help….

“Had the final race been dry then I think we could have really pushed up the order because most of the grid would have been on the hard tyre, but we still did well on the wets and to make up seven spots and fight with Turkington and Jordan shows how competitive we are.

“It’s nice to pushing guys like that as a circuit where the BMW is so strong and hopefully at Oulton Park we’ll have a bit more luck.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“When you don’t qualify well, it can be hard to come back from it and sadly that proved to be the case for us this weekend.

“Despite that, I think we were on for a decent result in race one before I got forced off, which undid all of the good work that we had done to that point.

“It meant race two was another recovery drive and then we missed out on the one bit of luck we could have had in race three when everyone else was going to run the hard tyre and it rained.

“It’s been difficult again for me this weekend and hopefully my luck will turn at Oulton Park.”

 

Thanks to Dickon Siddall for the photography.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing target strong Croft display

RCIB Ready for Croft

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will look to enjoy another strong weekend on track when the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads for Croft for the fourth round of the season.

The West Thurrock-based outfit has been one of the real success stories of the 2019 campaign so far, with the decision to switch to a pair of Honda Civic Type Rs seeing the team vault up the order to become genuine front-runners.

The team makes the long trip to North Yorkshire – the home circuit of Sheffield-based title sponsor Cobra Sports Exhausts – having already secured three podium finishes this year, including a breakthrough win at Brands Hatch during the opening meeting of the season.

That win came thanks to Scottish star Rory Butcher, who sits in a share of the championship lead with nine of the 30 scheduled races now complete – and also heads both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy standings.

The 32-year-old is one of only two drivers on the grid to have scored points in every race so far this season and has already surpassed the total he secured across the entire 2018 campaign.

Twelve months ago, Rory secured a hat-trick of points finishes at Croft at the wheel of an MG6 GT, and has fond memories of the circuit having taken his maiden pole and race win in the Porsche Carrera Cup back in 2012.

Whilst the Croft circuit has traditionally favoured rear-wheel drive cars, resurfacing work across the winter could help bring front-wheel drive machines like the Honda closer to the outright pace, with Rory targeting a score of at least 30 points to maintain his challenge against the rapid BMW of defending champion Colin Turkington.

Leeds-based team-mate Sam Tordoff picked up his first podium finish of the season last time out at Thruxton, although there were mixed emotions for the 30-year-old – who saw victory slip through his fingers due to an electrical issue whilst leading race one.

Sam’s pace in the Honda has been clear to see from the moment he stepped into the car for pre-season testing, although bad luck in the opening two meetings of the year at Brands Hatch and Donington Park sees him trying to make up ground in the title race.

The 30-year-old has a strong record at his home circuit, taking pole position and a race win back in 2015 and two further podium finishes.

Currently sitting just outside the top ten in the standings, Sam heads for Croft without any additional success ballast on his car and will hope to replicate the strong qualifying performance he put in at Thruxton – where he snared pole position – before fighting for a big haul of points on race day.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“You only have to look at the results from recent seasons to see how strong rear-wheel drive cars are at Croft and in that respect, this weekend could well be a case of damage limitation for us.

“Whilst the new track surface should help, it’s still going to be a huge challenge to try and take the fight to the BMWs when you consider how fast they have been – and that this will probably be their strongest track so far.

“However, Rory and Sam have picked up strong results at Croft in the past, and we know that both drivers will go out and give it their all from the moment they hit the track. We just have to focus on ourselves and do the best job possible to maintain our strong start to the year.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“Croft is a circuit that I really enjoy, and one that has good memories after taking my first pole and wins in the Carrera Cup there with Celtic Speed, who are still supporting my racing to this day.

“We go into the weekend in a fantastic position after a strong start to the season, although that provides us with a fresh challenge because of the extra weight we’ll have to carry when we get to Croft. That’s going to have an impact in qualifying and race one – particularly when it comes to getting the car stopped at the complex – but hopefully as we lose the extra ballast across the weekend, we can challenge for some good results.

“In the first three rounds, my target was to try and get at least 30 points on the board and I’m taking the same approach at Croft, although I don’t think it will be as easy to achieve.

“I’m hoping that the resurfacing work at the circuit will help us and provide more grip, but at the same time, I think the rear-wheel drive cars will still have the edge on us. We’ve just got to stay focused and get as much from the weekend as we can.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It was unfortunate to miss out on a win last time out at Thruxton but we showed really strong pace and hopefully we can carry that into this weekend.

“Croft is a circuit that has traditionally favoured rear-wheel drive cars like the BMW and the Subaru because the track was so abrasive, but the fact it has been resurfaced over the winter means there will be a bit of a step into the unknown for everyone. Looking at the lap times some of the support series have done in testing, it definitely looks like it will be a lot quicker, and hopefully tyre wear for the front-wheel drive cars will be less of an issue.

“I still think rear-wheel drive cars will have an advantage over us but I’m going into the weekend without any extra success ballast and hopefully I can make the most of that.

“The target has to be to qualify towards the front, and then push for some strong points on race day. The weather could also have an impact but wet or dry, I think we’ll be okay.”

Rachel Abbott, Cobra Sport Exhausts managing director, said:
“It’s been a fantastic season so far for the team and to see the Cobra Sport-backed Hondas fighting at the front of the grid in the first three rounds of the year has been brilliant.

“As our home event, Croft is a weekend that we always look forward to and hopefully Rory and Sam will be able to replicate the strong pace they have shown so far and can challenge for some strong results on track.”

Photo credit to Dickon Siddall (thanks!)