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 Championhip season when the second phase of the 2019 campaign kicks off this weekend at Snetterton.
The West Thurrock-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.”