Author: Russell Hogg

Win a road-going replica of Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing’s BTCC challenger

BTCC Honda Prize

For the second successive season, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team can today announce the launch of a money can’t buy competition to win a road-going version of the car being used in this season’s Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.

Following on from a highly successful competition last year that saw one lucky winner walk away with an MG6 GT, the team will give away a road-going replica of the Honda Civic being raced in 2019 by Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff.

The prize will be provided by joint title sponsors AutoAid and RCIB Insurance, whilst West Thurrock-based AmD Tuning will add a range of special upgrades before the car goes to its new home, including a new set of tyres provided by long-time BTCC supplier Dunlop.

A number of competitions will take place through AutoAid and RCIB Insurance’s social media channels from the next round of the season at Thruxton, with the competition winners all securing a pair of VIP Hospitality tickets to join the team at Brands Hatch for the final race of the season.

Over the course of the Brands Hatch weekend, a special Scalextric shootout will take place at the circuit to determine which of the competition winners secures the ultimate prize and wins the car.

To be in with a chance of winning the Honda Civic, potential entrants will need to follow both AutoAid and RCIB Insurance Racing on Facebook and Twitter using the accounts below, where the various qualifying competitions will take place.

AutoAid:
www.facebook.com/autoaidbreakdown
www.twitter.com/autoaidbreakd

RCIB:
www.facebook.com/RCIBInsuranceRacing
www.twitter.com/RCIBRacing

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“When the idea was created to give away the MG last year, the reaction from race fans was fantastic and it proved to be a hugely successful campaign for everyone involved.

“When AutoAid and RCIB Insurance suggested running a similar competition this season as part of our on-going partnership, it really was a no-brainer and we’re excited to now launch the 2019 version to win a road-going version of the Honda Civic.

“The Civic is a fantastic base car to work with, and it will undergo a number of upgrades at our workshop before going to its new owner.

“We’re sure that fans will embrace the competition in the same way they did twelve months ago, and we look forward to meeting the various winners when we get to Brands Hatch to see who gets to drive away with the main prize.”

Mike Joseph, AutoAid & RCIB Insurance managing director, said:

“We are very excited to be able to launch the 2019 version of the competition we ran with such success twelve months ago, and would like to thank AmD and Scalextric for once again helping to pull it all together.

“I’m sure that fans will get behind the competition and will embrace the opportunity to win a truly one-off prize. Hopefully the competition will prove to be as exciting for fans off-track as the action we have seen on-track this season, and would like to wish everyone who enters the very best of luck.”

Thanks to LAP – Laborne Action Photography  for the photo! 

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing seeks to maintain title challenge on Thruxton return

Butcher wins at Snetterton

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will look to maintain its bid for title honours when the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returns to Thruxton this weekend for the seventh meeting of the campaign.

The West Thurrock-based team makes its second trip to the high-speed Hampshire circuit on the back of a stunning weekend last time out at Snetterton, where a race win for Rory Butcher and a third podium of the year for Sam Tordoff saw the Honda squad secure more points than any other team on the grid.

Rory’s second victory of the campaign saw him move back into the top three in the championship standings, and also strengthened his lead in both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy standings.

The Fife racer enjoyed a strong weekend at Thruxton during the third round of the year back in May, with a podium finish being the highlight of a meeting that ended with him in a share of the overall championship lead.

The 32-year-old will once again have to carry additional success ballast on his Honda Civic Type R but goes into the weekend confident of trying to replicate the results he enjoyed earlier in the season to keep his championship challenge firmly on track.

Leeds-based team-mate Sam endured a frustrating weekend during his first trip to Thruxton earlier in the season, when a battery issue in the closing stages of race one robbed him of a certain victory after an impressive drive from pole position.

Although he was still able to secure a podium finish from the weekend, it was very much a case of what might have been for the 30-year-old, who heads into round seven of the year looking to build on a strong run of form in recent events.

After a tough start to the year, Sam has bounced back with a six straight top six finishes – including two podiums – and will look to try and replicate the pace he showed back in May as he seeks to climb into the top ten in the overall championship standings.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“We head for Thruxton with confidence high on the back of a fantastic showing for the whole team last time out at Snetterton, and hopefully we can build on our results from there during the weekend ahead.

“We know that the Honda is going to be a good package from the pace we showed when we raced at Thruxton earlier in the year, and we now have the added benefit of more time with the car which can only help us.

“I’m confident that both Rory and Sam can get the job done during the weekend ahead and it would be great if we can challenge for some more silverware to maintain our good form.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“We were able to learn quite a lot when we raced at Thruxton earlier in the year, and I know there are places where I can improve when we return this weekend. I know other drivers will say the same, but I’ve spent time looking back at the May event and I know exactly where I can gain time and improve when we return; it’s just a case of putting it into practice.

“It’s looking like the weather might not be too good, which could really mix things up as Thruxton is a challenging circuit at the best of times. On the back of my victory at Snetterton, I’m in a good place in the standings and I know what I need to do in the remaining rounds.

“If I’m being honest, I’m not going to worry about the two BMW drivers ahead of me in the standings as it really is their championship to lose. My focus is on doing the best job I can and beating the drivers around me in the standings because it’s so close between us all and I want to make sure I stay ahead.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I showed really good pace at Thruxton earlier in the season to secure pole and would have won race one had it not been for a mechanical issue we could do nothing about. We go into the weekend with no ballast again so have to focus on qualifying and hopefully that will set us up for a strong showing across the remainder of the weekend.

“Of all the circuits we could go back to for a second go, Thruxton is ideal and the fact we have been there this season is hugely important. It’s the same for everyone in terms of the data they have, but we were quick there in May and hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”

Thanks to Dickon Siddall for the Photo!

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing takes stunning Snetterton victory

Snetterton BTCC Victory

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team enjoyed a stunning weekend on track as the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season resumed at Snetterton.

The West Thurrock-based squad was hoping to build on a strong opening half to the campaign, with drivers Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff having secured multiple podium finishes with the team’s new Honda Civic Type Rs.

Qualifying saw Leeds racer Sam leading the team’s challenge as he secured third on the grid, with Rory just missing out on a place in the top ten despite the additional success ballast he was forced to carry into the weekend.

With drivers forced to run all three compound of Dunlop tyre on race day, strategy would be key heading into Sunday, with Sam electing to run the most favourable soft tyre at the first opportunity.

Although he would lose a place to the Ford Focus of Tom Chilton at the start, Sam reclaimed the position when Chilton went off at Coram with a puncture and kept it to the finish for his third podium result of the campaign.

Running on the medium compound tyre in race two, Sam would go under the radar somewhat with a solid drive to fifth place, which left him on the second row of the grid for the final race of the weekend thanks to the reverse grid draw.

With the hard tyre fitted for the final race, Sam duly wrapped up another solid weekend on track with sixth place, with his results across the Snetterton meeting leaving him on the fringes of the top ten in the standings.

Fife ace Rory elected to run the hard tyre in race one, taking the decision to get rid of the least favourable rubber and the additional weight at the first opportunity.

Although he would slip back to 14th during the hustle and bustle of lap one, the Scottish racer was able to work his way back to eleventh by the finish for a solid points score.

Rory would also elect to run the medium compound tyre in the second race, but contact from Tom Oliphant’s BMW at Coram saw him lose places having battled into the top ten, with twelfth place being his end result.

Running on the soft tyre in race three, Rory would produce one of the drives of the season to battle his way through the pack into third place, where he became embroiled in a three-way battle for the lead with Jason Plato and Ash Sutton.

Going three-wide with the pair into Brundle, Rory was able to get ahead into the lead and went on to secure his second victory of the campaign, and his first ‘on the road’.

The combined points across the weekend also saw Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing secure the teams’ trophy for the first time, having picked up more points than any other team.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“Race three was what touring car racing is all about and for us to get that win is fantastic. It’s also brilliant to have won the teams’ trophy and to be honest, I didn’t even know that existed as it isn’t something we have ever been in contention for!

“There is a massive amount of team work that has gone into this weekend. Sam picked up two great results in the first two races and then Rory has done a brilliant job in race three.

“Credit has to go to Sam, because he let Rory through in that final race when he knew he was quicker, and it is great to have two drivers who are mature enough to work together in that way. Rory’s move for the lead was then one of the best overtaking moves I’ve seen; how exciting was that race!

“We made some big changes to the car this weekend and it all paid off. We’ve learned a lot about the Honda that will help us going forwards and a huge thank you to everyone involved.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I’m absolutely buzzing at the end of the weekend. It was nice to get the win at Brands Hatch at the start of the season, but that was given to us because of a penalty for someone else, and to now win on the road means so much to me and the team.

“We had a tough time in qualifying and the opening two races didn’t quite go to plan for us. The engineers made some pretty radical changes to the car, and it really came alive in the final race. I had to take a few risks and make some hard moves, and when I got up towards Ash and Jason, I knew a podium was on.

“Mike [Bushell – engineer] was on the radio and told me to play it smart and when we were going down the back straight, I got a run on them both and had to go for the inside. It was a big risk to go three-wide, but it was a risk I had to take and we got the reward.

“It’s an incredible feeling to secure the win and to be able to stand on the top step of the podium. I’m grinning from ear-to-ear and this is the perfect way to kick off the second half of the season.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“We’ve had another good weekend, put some good points on the board and have been able to make up more ground in the standings as a result. The car has been tricky this weekend as the circuit was different to when we came here for the test, but we qualified well and it set up race day.

“It shows that if you qualify at the front, it’s easier to stay out of trouble and that is what we’ve been able to do. It’s all about being consistent and that is what we have done with our results. Three top ten finishes is a good return.

“Rory did a great job to secure the victory in race three, and as a team this has been a brilliant weekend. To get the teams’ trophy at the end of it is a fantastic reward for the work everyone has put in.”

Photo thanks to: LAP – Laborne Action Photography.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing ready to kick on as BTCC battle resumes

RCIB at Snetterton

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team will look to build on a strong opening half to the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season when the second phase of the 2019 campaign kicks off this weekend at Snetterton.

The West Thrurrock-based team has proven to be one of the surprise packages of the season to date, and has firmly established itself as one of the series front-runners after switching to a pair of Honda Civic Type Rs over the winter.

Already this season, drivers Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff have taken the team to four podium finishes – double the tally it had secured previously in the series – with Rory taking a maiden victory at Brands Hatch and Sam securing the team’s first pole position at Thruxton.

Fife racer Rory was unlucky to miss out on a second victory of the season last time out at Oulton Park after a rare error whilst dicing for the lead in the final race of the weekend.

However, the Scottish star still headed into the summer break sitting an impressive fourth in the championship, and at the head of both the Independent and Jack Sears Trophy standings.

Although he only took part in a single day of the two-day test that was held at Snetterton during the summer break, Rory heads into the sixth round of the campaign confident about his chances as he seeks to maintain the strong form he has shown so far this season.

Leeds-based team-mate Sam headed into the summer break on the back of a strong weekend on track at Oulton Park, with his second podium finish of the season amongst three top six finishes.

A solid performance in the two-day Dunlop tyre test saw Sam top the times on the opening afternoon, with his best time being good enough for fourth on the combined timesheets – despite the team not focusing on chasing an outright quick lap.

Sam – who is one of four drivers that will carry an onboard camera for ITV – has fond memories of Snetterton having taken his maiden victory in the series at the Norfolk circuit back in 2013 when part of the factory MG team.

He heads into the weekend seeking to put a strong haul of points on the board as he bids to move into the top ten in the championship standings.

In a change to the norm this weekend, Rory and Sam will both have to use all three compounds of Dunlop dry tyre on race day – weather permitting – adding a fresh element to the strategy that will employed on track.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“It’s been a fantastic season for us so far since switching to the Honda, and hopefully we can build on the results we have enjoyed so far when we get to Snetterton this weekend.

“We got through a good amount of work over the course of the recent test that has validated a few things we discovered in previous rounds, and that will help us to maintain our title challenge in the second half of the season.

“Both Rory and Sam are raring to go after the summer break and we head to Snetterton with our focus firmly on running at the sharp end of the grid as we have so far.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“The car is in a good place at the moment and considering how well the Civic has performed around Snetterton in the past, I think we can look ahead to a good weekend on track.

“Personally speaking, I didn’t do as many laps as I hoped to do during the test as we had a few little niggles on my car, but we were still able to learn quite a lot that is going to benefit us through the second half of the season.

“I’m expecting this weekend weekend to be an interesting one because of the different tyre rules, and I think we’ll see a lot of overtaking and activity because of the different strategies people will adopt.

“For me, the approach has to be the same as it has been in the five rounds so far, and that is to try and maximise the points that are available. That is what will be key at the business end of the season and it’s all about taking calculated risks when required and not doing anything stupid.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I’m feeling really positive about Snetterton as we had a good test during the summer break where we were able to try out quite a few different things we found with the car during the first half of the season.

“It’s important to remember that the Honda is still a relatively new car for the team, so the test was all about gaining as much extra knowledge as we could rather than chasing a time – and we were able to do that.

“After a good weekend at Oulton Park before the break, it’s important for me to try and build on those results and put more solid points on the board. Snetterton is a circuit I enjoy and where the Honda has gone well previously so if we can qualify well, there is no reason why we can’t do that.

“Despite a difficult start to the year personally, we can still secure a solid result in the championship if we end the season strongly and that is what I’m working towards.”

 

Thanks to Dickon Siddall for the photo!

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing adds to podium tally at Oulton Park

RCIB at Oulton Park

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team was able to celebrate a fourth podium finish of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season on a strong weekend on track at Oulton Park.

The West Thurrock-based team made the long trip to Cheshire ready to fight back from a tough weekend at Croft, where qualifying issues had hampered both Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff in their quest for points.

Having topped the times across the two free practice sessions, Leeds racer Sam led the team’s challenge in qualifying as he put his Honda Civic Type R second on the grid, lapping just 0.027s down on the pole sitting BMW of Colin Turkington.

Although he would lose places off the line when the lights went out, Sam quickly slotted into fifth place and maintained his position through to the finish despite close attention from Tom Oliphant behind.

Race two would follow a similar theme for the former series runner-up as he held station throughout the 18 lap encounter, defending well in the closing stages to keep the rapid BMW of Stephen Jelley at bay.

Seventh on the reverse grid for race three, Sam found himself up in the top four having avoided a chaotic incident ahead of the third lap and would dice with Oliphant’s BMW before crossing the line in fourth spot.

However, a post race penalty for Jake Hill meant he inherited third for a second podium finish of the season, leaving Sam 13th in the overall standings going into the summer break and fourth in the Independents’ title race.

Fife racer Rory was eager to get his title challenge back on track and qualified in fifth place on the grid for the opening race of the weekend.

A strong start saw him move up into fourth place when the lights went out after battling ahead of Sam and the Scottish racer would hold his place to the finish despite a mid-race Safety Car period having been unable to match the pace of the three cars ahead.

A seventh place finish in race two saw Rory put more solid points on the board and he headed into the final race of the weekend hoping to impress from fifth on the grid.

Having held station through the opening laps, Rory was lucky to avoid the incident at the start of lap three that caught out a number of the front-runners and emerged in second place – but nearly six seconds down on leader Hill.

Hunting down the Audi ahead, Rory closed the gap until he was in a position to attack for the lead, which he did at Island on the penultimate lap. Unfortunately, the Honda would slide wide on coolant dropped earlier in the race and Rory slipped back to sixth spot where he would remain to the flag – then inheriting fifth when Hill was handed a time penalty.

At the half way stage of the season, he sits fourth in the overall standings and leads both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy.

A strong haul of points for the team, second only to the works BMW outfit, means Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing holds third in the Teams’ Championship and is second in the Independent Teams’ standings.

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“It’s been a really strong weekend for us as a team, and to come away from Oulton Park second only to West Surrey Racing in terms of points scored is fantastic when you consider how strong the BTCC grid is at the moment.

“Both drivers have done a great job on track, and it was good to see Sam pick up three solid finishes from the weekend and take another podium. He hasn’t had the rub of the green so far this season, and hopefully this weekend will lead into more strong results in the second half of the year.

“Rory’s pace in the last race was fantastic and that showed in the way he chased down Jake for the lead. Of course it’s a shame that he missed out on what would have been a victory but to come away from the weekend a point away from the top three in the championship is great for him and we need to work hard to maintain that.

“We knew that expectations would rise this season with the Honda and to be where we are in the Teams’ Championship at the half-way stage is a brilliant achievement for us as we aren’t a big team and we’ve shown that we can really take the fight to the more established front-runners.

“With a two-day test coming up to work on the cars, we’re confident of keeping our strong form going in the second half of the year.”

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It was important to get some good points after Croft and to beat 30 across the weekend is another solid haul. The car was strong all weekend and we were able to make some good progress in making improvements, which was reflected in the pace in race three.

“Of course there is frustration at what happened in the final race and I’m a bit disappointed for the team as I feel I let them down a bit with an error on my part. They had given me a great car and I was making the most of it until that penultimate lap when I had the moment at Island.

“In hindsight, I could have just settled for the position but these things happen in racing and we have to just put it behind us and look ahead to the upcoming test at Snetterton and then the second half of the season.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“I’m really pleased with how the weekend has gone. To qualify on the front row of the grid and get so close to the BMW was great and that really set us up for race day as Oulton Park is one of the hardest circuits on the calendar to overtake.

“It provided a real platform for us to pick up a decent haul of points and while we didn’t quite have the pace I would have liked on race day, I can’t complain with three top five finishes.

“I had to drive with an eye on my mirrors more than looking ahead throughout race day and it certainly wasn’t easy, but hopefully the results we’ve secured this weekend can help kick-start us for the rest of the year.

“As a team, we’ve scored a load of points this weekend to go into the summer break in a strong position and given how the Honda has performed at Snetterton in the past, I think we can look forward to heading there for the next round in a months time.”

Thanks to Dickon Siddall for the photography!

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!)

More silverware for Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing at Thruxton

Thruxton Success

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team enjoyed another strong weekend on track with a maiden pole position and two podium finishes from the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton.

The West Thurrock-based team headed for the fastest circuit on the calendar in confident mood on the back of a solid test at the venue last month, with drivers Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff both confident of challenging towards the sharp end of the field.

Having qualified on pole with a record-breaking lap, Leeds racer Sam made the ideal start to race one to lead the way into Allard for the first time and controlled the race from the front through the early stages.

Maintaining a lead of just over half a second over the chasing pack, Sam’s victory charge was ended by a battery problem that affected the power steering on his car, slowing him through the high-speed Church corner on lap 13 and allowing Andrew Jordan to get ahead on the run up Woodham Hill.

Fighting around the problem, Sam was able to fend off the newer FK8 Honda of Dan Cammish through the closing laps to secure second spot and his first podium finish of the year.

>From the front row of the grid for race two, Sam lost a place to a quick-starting Colin Turkington but held third in the opening laps before a clash with Cammish at the chicane saw him slip out of the podium places.

Dropping behind Jason Plato and Mat Neal as the additional ballast on his car took its toll, Sam would take the flag in sixth to add more points to his championship tally.

Heading into the final race of the weekend, Sam looked well set to fight for another podium finish as he ran fourth in the early stages but a further, unrelated, issue with the power steering instead forced him into the pits to retire.

Fife racer Rory qualified fifth on the grid despite carrying additional weight on his car, and came through the opening race unscathed to add more solid points to his tally – maintaining his position from start to finish.

Race two would once again prove to be a relatively quiet affair for Rory, who would post the fastest lap of the race before taking the flag in seventh to maintain his points scoring run.

With the team having resolved a damper issue on his car, Rory lined up fifth on the grid for race three, and a strong start saw to jump up into third place on the opening lap.

Battling ahead of Ash Sutton at Goodwood after an early safety car period, Rory would run in second place all the way to the finish and heads away from Thruxton in a share of the overall points lead, whilst also heading both the Independents’ and Jack Sears Trophy standings.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing sit third in the Teams’ Championship and second in the Independents Team Championship.

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It’s been a fantastic weekend after a tough Saturday where we lost a lap that would have given us pole. We didn’t quite have the pace to run at the front in race one or two but then found an issue with a damper ahead of race three. With that sorted, the car really came alive and it gave me the confidence I needed in the high-speed stuff.

“I was able to get ahead of Ash [Sutton] with a solid move out of Goodwood and hoped to push Josh [Cook] but he kept it nice and tidy and didn’t put a foot wrong. When Ash got a second wind, I focused on bringing the car home and we have ended up with some cracking points and a share of the points lead.

“It isn’t where I expected to be at this stage although I did think we could compete. I’ve kept the same mentality I had in the MG of racing hard, keeping it clean and bringing it home. When I have a fast car like we did in race three, we’ve got to push for those big points and some silverware.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“It’s been a bit of a frustrating weekend for me but at least I’ve been able to put some points on the board after the troubles we faced in the opening rounds. To qualify on pole in the way that we did was amazing and I was controlling the opening race before we had the issue with the battery.

“That robbed us of a certain victory and had the race been a few laps longer, I doubt we’d have finished – so to salvage second was still a good start to race day. With the weight onboard in race two, we picked up more solid points and I was happy with how things were going at that stage.

“With the pace in the car, I think we could have pushed for another podium in race three and the fact we were unable to finish that one has spoiled the weekend a bit. Whilst I’m pleased to have got two solid finishes, I’m disappointed with how things ended.”

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“To come away from Thruxton with pole and two podium finishes is great for us as a team and it’s just a shame that a mechanical issue robbed us of what would have been a first win on the road. Both Rory and Sam have driven well this weekend, and we have once again shown that we are capable of taking the fight to the big boys at the front of the grid.

“With three rounds done, we’re in a great position in the championship standings but it’s important that we continue to work hard on our weak areas as a team because – despite enjoying another fantastic weekend – we can always improve.

“We need to keep our collective heads down and remember that it is a long season, and there are plenty more twists and turns still to come.”

Photo credit to: Dickon Siddall.

Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing maintains strong start at Donington Park

RCIB at Donington Park

The Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team maintained its strong start to the new Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season after showing front-running pace across the weekend at Donington Park.

The West Thurrock-based team headed to the East Midlands circuit on a high after a breakthrough victory at Brands Hatch earlier in the month, with drivers Sam Tordoff and Rory Butcher confident about fighting at the sharp end of the field.

Leeds racer Sam had endured a weekend to forget at Brands Hatch on his first outing in the team’s Honda Civic Type R, but looked well set to get his championship challenge underway after qualifying in a solid fifth place.

Running fourth in the early stages of the race, Sam battled his way up into the podium places after an early safety car period, but damage sustained in a clash with Josh Cook would then lead to him suffering a spin going into the final chicane.

Dropping down outside the points, Sam nursed the car to the finish to take 13th place and then went into race two focused on pushing back into the top ten.

Up into ninth within three laps of the start, Sam’s race was going to plan early on but a hit from behind going into the Craner Curves on lap seven resulted in a high speed spin across the grass that dropped him down towards the rear of the field. From there, Sam drove well to recover to 14th, although it was very much a case of what might have been.

Running the hard compound tyre in race three, Sam’s weekend ended with a 15th place finish.

Fife ace Rory was keen to build on his Brands Hatch victory but was left on the back foot in qualifying when he was unable to get a clear lap in the changeable conditions and was left down in 19th place on the grid.

The Scot fought his way forwards to eleventh in the opening race of the weekend and then set what would prove the be the fastest race lap of the weekend in race two with a storming run through to fifth.

Sixth on the grid for race three thanks to the reverse grid draw, Rory produced a battling drive on the less favourable hard tyre to secure fourth place and heads away from the weekend sitting just six points off the championship lead.

As at Brands Hatch, Rory also secured Jack Sears Trophy honours for the weekend.

Rory Butcher, #6 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“Qualifying was so disappointing as we didn’t get a decent lap in the conditions and it made race day tough. But I tried to make progress in each race and it worked. We got the fastest lap on the medium tyre and had the quickest car on the hard tyre in race three, which is really good.

“Before race three I thought it would be nice to try and get my tally for the day up to 30 points and that’s what we did. That is the goal for each race meeting and I’m always looking at the bigger picture and the season as a whole.

“The car was strong in the Thruxton test we did recently and whilst a little bit of ballast will hit us going there, we’ll be in the mix. It isn’t about fighting for pole, it’s about challenging for the points on race day that will be key later in the year.”

Sam Tordoff, #600 Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing Honda Civic Type R, said:
“Unfortunately this weekend has been yet another disaster for me. We had another strong qualifying performance to take P5 on Saturday, and I thought our luck had finally turned. However, the contact in race one eventually broke the car and spat me off, and it set the tone for race two. We were coming through nicely and then got turfed off again, which ruined my race.

“Being on the hard tyre in race three, we tried a few radical things thinking ahead to Thruxton. It seemed like a good time to experiment given that the rest of the day hadn’t gone to plan but sadly it didn’t work out, although we did set the fastest lap on the hard tyre.

“We just have to keep trying and keep plugging away because our time will come.”

Shaun Hollamby, Cobra Sport AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing team principal, said:
“It’s been a bit of a mixed bag again this weekend. Rory has done a great job and has driven really well and it means he is right up there in the points after two rounds – and there on merit because he’s picked up some strong results and been right on the pace.

“Sam has been unfortunate with contact in two of the races and it means that he hasn’t picked up the results that he deserves once again this weekend.

“Clearly we have a fast race car and we can go to Thruxton feeling positive that both drivers will be able to push for the podium.”

 

Photo credits with thanks to LAP – Laborne Action Photography