Mighty Morgan moves into BTCC championship lead

category - touring car

Adam’s Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class came into the weekend lying second in the title race and so had to carry the regulation 66 kilos of success ballast for qualifying and the opening race. The extra weight certainly made its presence felt in qualifying as Adam battled to 12thfastest time around the ultra-fast Hampshire speed bowl.

“The weight certainly hurt us, but we’re happy,” said Adam after the 30-minute session. “I was aiming for the top 15 so the outcome is good and the lap I did was a committed one: I was hanging on for dear life on the fast bits! We have strong race pace and want to work forward in race one and lose the success weight.”

In sweltering temperatures, Adam bogged down at the start and lost ground to the pack, but soon battled his way back into contention, diving past the sister Fuchs Lubricants backed Mercedes-Benz A-Class of Tom Oliphant at the ultra-fast Church Corner before setting off in pursuit of the pack ahead.

“I completely messed up the start,” admitted The Morganator. “By the time I had worked through the traffic, the gaps had opened up ahead of me and with the weight I was carrying, I just couldn’t catch them.” Adam finished a frustrated 14thbut lost all the weight from the car in readiness for race two.

From 14thon the grid, Adam charged his way up to seventh place in a much lighter car. That resulted not only gave Adam vital championship points, but also put him in to the 12 which are eligible for the reverse grid draw. When the magic number was revealed, it was seven, meaning that Adam would start the final race on pole position.

Now carrying 27 kilos of success ballast after taking seventh place in race two, Adam drove the race of his life as he built a gap on the opening lap and preserved his advantage and protected his tyres on the abrasive track surface. Behind him, a charging Jack Goff brought his Honda Civic into second place with a couple of laps ago, but Adam stretched the margin to score a sixth career win and his second of the 2018 campaign. With it, Adam assumed the championship lead.

“I’d gone through the race in my head,” said a delighted Adam post-race. “My plan was to get a good start and try to lead to the Complex and then just go! I pushed hard for the first six or seven laps but I had Senna Proctor (Vauxhall Astra) pushing hard behind me. I panicked a bit when I saw Jack Goff closing when he got past Proctor but when I realised he wasn’t going to catch me, I actually enjoyed the last lap and am really chuffed for the team.

“We made some adjustments for race three with the hotter temperatures today and although this has never been our best track we were good for straightline speed today.

“Now we go to Oulton Park, which has never been that kind to us, with the full 75 kilos on board as championship leaders so that will be a challenge….”

Commercial Director Norman Burgess said: To be the championship leader in a series as competitive as this is just awesome. Adam’s performance in that last race was exemplary: he never looked under pressure and never put a wheel out of line. It was a brilliant drive and one richly enjoyed by our Mac Tools, Lunar Caravans and Pallex guests who enjoyed the sweltering conditions and has the perfect end to their BTCC experience. Oulton Park will be a challenge for us but we go there more optimistic than ever and hope to avenge last year’s bad luck.”