Adam Morgan rounded out his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship weekend at Croft with points in race three after a tough weekend at the North Yorkshire circuit.
Adam’s Mac Tools-backed Mercedes-Benz A-Class came into the weekend placed second equal in the championship and carrying 57 kilos of success ballast, which affected the car in the all-important qualifying session. “I’m not sure whether it is set-up or the weight or a combination of the two but I struggled with the car. We worked on the diff and seemed to go the wrong way and another tenth of a second would have gained me six places on the grid. As it is, we are starting 22nd which is OK but we are a bit deflated.”
Adam, though is nothing if not a fighter and was all geared up to make progress in the opening 15-lap race, but luck was not with him. “I made a good start and gained places and then was hit by Chris Smiley’s Honda at the Hairpin which turned me sideways and I lost three places. I was on a mission to recover and then I got hit by another Honda, Brett Smith’s car this time. He went wide at the Hairpin and as he came back on to the line, he hit me in the rear which broke the right rear suspension.”
That meant that Adam retired form the race and started the second 15-lap dash from 29th on the grid. Adam made a blistering start and was 14th after just three laps showing great race craft as well as much improved car speed. Then, came bad news from race control: Adam’s getaway was deemed to have been too good and he was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.
“That was a real kick in the teeth,” said The Morgantor. “I was so far back I was round the last corner and couldn’t see the lights so I just went when everyone else did. The drive-through meant that I fell to last place.”
Adam wasn’t done yet though as he put his head down and, now weight-free, carved his way up to 19th place, out of the points but mid-grid for the final race.
“The car felt really good and I think without the drive-through a top six would have been possible. Frustrating, really frustrating…”
Adam lined up 19th for the final race, eager to gain points and he made a fantastic start gaining three places off the line Adam then got boxed in behind more traffic and lost the places back again meaning that a recovery drive was on the cards, Adam picking off cars as rapidly as he could. By the end of the race, Adam was up to 12th which meant that he scored a handful of points but lost ground in the championship race.
“Again, it seems Croft is our bogey circuit for set-up. We often struggle here for set-up and had we nailed it for qualifying I would have been further up the grid and away from the danger zone where the contact often is. But looking positively, we are now lighter going to Snetterton and we have proved that we can get on top of the car over a race weekend. So, overall, I am frustrated but that seems to be our Croft luck. We will fight back at Snetterton.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant had another solid showing at Croft scoring points in 2 of the days 3 races. Tom also fell foul to a dubious steward’s judgment during the day which cost him points but he continues to impress all around him with in his Phillips sponsored Mercedes-Benz.
Ciceley Motorsport Commercial Director Norman Burgess said: “That was a weekend that promised so much at our second local track, but we just never got a decent rub of the green. Adam and the engineers struggled to find the optimum set-up for qualifying but got on top of it for race day and again he showed amazing race craft in his Fuchs backed Mercedes and pulled some excellent overtakes to get the places he did. All of our Mac Tools, Ciceley Commercial Vehicles, Lunar Caravans and Fuchs Lubricant’s guests enjoyed the sunshine at Croft and really got behind Adam as he pushed hard, but we have dropped some ground in the championship and go to Snetterton for the tyre test eager for data and to start to the second half of the season with more podium finishes.”
Norman Continued “Tom made fantastic progress this weekend, he qualified 18th in his first visit to Croft in a front wheel drive car. He finished 16th in race 1 and scored points in races 2 and 3 on a track that is dominated by rear wheel drive cars, that was a great effort. Both of the rear wheel drive tracks are behind him now and he is really looking forward to the second half of the season. Tom’s a class act and his raw pace and ability is sure to shine through after the summer break”.
The teams now get a break until July 28/29, but there will be the two-day tyre test at Snetterton in mid-July allowing the teams a chance to gain data ahead of race weekend. The next races will be at Snetterton, Norfolk, with a special 60-mile anniversary race to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the BTCC and all the action will be shown live on ITV4.