The AmDTuning.com with Cobra Exhausts team showed impressive pace as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship headed to Oulton Park for the fourth meeting of the year.
Drivers Ollie Jackson and Ant Whorton-Eales both showcased the speed of the West Thurrock-based teams Audi S3, although misfortune for both drivers on race day meant the team came away from the weekend with just a single points finish to its name.
Looking to score for the third time this season, Tamworth-based Ollie qualified little more than a second away from pole position in 22nd place but a fine opening lap in race one saw him move up seven positions into the points.
Ollie would spend the entire race running inside the top 15, moving up a position three laps from home to secure 14th spot and two championship points.
Hopes of a second points finish in race two were ended early on when Ollie was punted into a spin at Knickerbrook and dropped to the rear of the field.
Undeterred however, Ollie would produce a series of storming laps that saw him regularly amongst the quickest drivers on track as he recovered to 26th place at the finish.
The pace in the Audi was evident again in race three, with Ollie showing the speed to match the top six as he battled his way through to 18th spot.
“This weekend I think the car has been the best it has ever been,” he said, “and it’s unfortunate that the results don’t reflect that. We’ve made a lot of progress and a gamble we took with the set-up of the car has really paid off.
“I think we’ve taken a step forwards compared to some of the other Swindon-engined cars but this weekend, there are other cars that have been given a bit more boost that has perhaps masked the steps forward we’ve made.
“It’s good that we got some more points on the board in the first race and clearly we could have had more in races two and three had it not been for the contact. However, to have been as quick as we were across the three races is extremely encouraging for the remainder of the season.”
Team-mate Ant qualified inside the top 20 for the second meeting in succession in the sister car, but the Lichfield racer found himself in the wars on the opening lap of race one when contact from Senna Proctor’s Vauxhall saw him spin off at Island.
Dropping to the back of the field, Ant recovered to 27th at the finish and then suffered more misfortune in race two when a puncture on lap one forced saw him drop off the lead lap having pitted for a replacement tyre.
Restricted to 28th spot, Ant then pushed hard in race three to make up seven places to 21st; capping a weekend where the results didn’t reflect his pace on track.
“It’s been a frustrating weekend for me,” he said. “We’ve just had a lot of bad luck, and the incident in race one followed by the puncture in race two has prevented us from showing what we can do again.
“Race three was all about making up whatever we places we could, but we deserved more than a 21st place finish this weekend. I feel I need a good result for both the team and also for myself in the Jack Sears Trophy, so hopefully our luck will turn soon.”
Team manager Shaun Hollamby expressed delight at the pace shown by the Audi during the course of race day, even if he shared in his driver’s frustration that the speed on track hadn’t been matched in the results.
“There’s no doubting that this weekend we showed the pace that we have with the Audi, and in both race two and three, Ollie was right up there in the top six quickest drivers on track,” he said. “Unfortunately, Oulton Park is a circuit where track position is very much key and thanks to the driving of others, both Ollie and Ant found themselves out of position and unable to make the most of the speed we had.
“There are certainly positives to take away from the weekend, including a more improved performance in qualifying, and hopefully we can enjoy a more profitable weekend in terms of points next time out at Croft before the summer break.”
Image credit to Marc Waller.
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