AmD with Cobra Exhausts targets strong points on landmark weekend
THE AmD with Cobra Exhausts team will hope to pick up a strong points haul when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumes this weekend with a landmark meeting for the series.
The sixth meeting of the campaign will feature a special ‘Diamond Double’ race as part of the series’ 60th anniversary celebrations, running to twice the length of a regular race and with double points being on offer.
That provides the West Thurrock-based team with the opportunity to make moves up the championship order, with drivers Ollie Jackson and Sam Smelt heading for the Norfolk circuit in optimistic mood.
Tamworth-based Ollie has already picked up six points finishes this season at the wheel of his Audi S3, with the highlight coming during the season opener at Brands Hatch where he finished on the overall podium for the first time.
The 34-year-old has however endured his fair share of misfortune that has prevented him from adding to his tally, despite the ever-improving pace of the Audi.
Ollie showed top ten potential during a two-day test at Snetterton earlier this month, where the team was able to try a number of improvements to the car ahead of the race weekend – leaving him confident of a strong performance on track.
Team-mate Sam has shown gradual improvement throughout the first half of his rookie campaign and heads for Snetterton seeking to push towards the points scoring positions for the first time.
Like Ollie, the Northampton-based driver enjoyed a strong performance during the Dunlop tyre test as he produced his most competitive showing on track – breaking into the top ten on the final afternoon and showing consistent pace on a series of longer runs.
It means the 21-year-old now returns to Snetterton with arguably his strongest chance yet of opening his BTCC account, with points very much the target for the series newcomer.
Ollie Jackson, #48 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:
“I think we’re in a good place at the moment. From the test we were able to get a better understanding of the car on different tyres and it will be interesting see where we end up. I’m feeling relatively confident and if we can get the balance of the car right, then I think we can be in a good place.
“As ever in testing, we were able to try a few things out and there were some that worked and some that didn’t, but it has left us feeling like we have a strong car for the weekend ahead – particularly in the longer race. We’ll have to see how that one pans out and make sure we are there for the finish, but I’m hopeful we can push for some good points this weekend.”
Sam Smelt, #23 AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3, said:
“This is probably the most positive I’ve felt going into a race weekend so far. I’ve done a lot of laps round Snetterton and had a really good test earlier this month that is leaving me confident about my chances on track.
“The extra track time has really helped and whilst I expected to get closer to the pace during the test, I think I went quicker than I thought I would do and felt I could really push more; particularly on new tyres.
“Hopefully I can carry that pace into the race weekend and I feel this is my best chance yet to score some points, particularly in the longer race which I think will suit me. I can’t wait to get started.”
Shaun Hollamby, AmD with Cobra Exhausts team principal, said:
“We had a successful test at Snetterton earlier in the month which leaves us feeling optimistic about the weekend ahead. Both Ollie and Sam performed well during the test and we were able to work through a solid programme with the Audis that leaves us in a good position as we prepare for racing to resume.
“I’m confident that Ollie will be able to push for some good points across the weekend whilst Sam’s pace in testing shows that he is now in a position to take his performance to the next level and hopefully he can put points on the board for the first time.”