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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Rowbottom beats Ingram to high observe

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Dan Rowbottom snatched the quickest time away from Tom Ingram because the British Touring Automotive Championship ready for battle for its newest spherical at Oulton Park.

The Midlander was on type in each classes, whisking his NAPA Racing-liveried Alliance Ford Focus ST to second quickest time in FP1, after which edging out Ingram by 0.110 seconds with 5 minutes remaining within the lunchtime session.

It seems to place Rowbottom in a great place on a circuit the place the hybrid discount for the highest seven runners within the championship is predicted to have an even bigger impact than at most different venues, owing to the traits of the Cheshire parkland venue.

He’s down in eleventh within the factors, and as such is entitled to the complete 15 seconds per lap of energy increase for qualifying.

Rowbottom instructed Autosport that there was a big effect with the arrival on the Alliance squad of veteran tin-top technician Paul Ridgway as his engineer.

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“Clearly we’ve had a couple of adjustments on the operational aspect for this weekend and the automobile is feeling nice,” he mentioned. “We’ve acquired a couple of little points however nothing we will’t kind out.”

Of Ridgway, whose most up-to-date BTCC function was with the Speedworks Toyota squad till the tip of the 2023 season, and who additionally works with the Lynk & Co operation within the TCR World Tour, Rowbottom added: “He’ll be with me for the remainder of the season, and hopefully past that so long as he doesn’t suppose I’m an entire bell finish!

“I’m feeling good. Whenever you really feel you’ve acquired the automobile, you simply have the arrogance to push.

Tom Ingram

Picture by: JEP

“Our season begins at spherical 5 – higher late than by no means.”

Ingram, the 2022 champion, spent lengthy intervals on the high of each classes in his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N Fastback.

The gentle Goodyear tyre is the usual rubber for this weekend, with the onerous compound as the choice, however rivals had been allowed to make use of some carryover mediums from earlier race weekends in free observe.

Ingram set a really early time in FP1 on mediums that remained quickest till it was eclipsed late on by Aron Taylor-Smith, Rowbottom and Ronan Pearson, all on softs.

Ingram’s first severe work on the gentle got here halfway via FP2, and he went quickest by a transparent half-second earlier than the others caught up.

A final-lap enchancment put Taylor-Smith again on the sharp finish once more in his Energy Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, giving the cheerful Dubliner third place in FP2.

That continued his good progress from FP1, the place he set two laps sooner than the most effective achieved by anybody else, the quickest of which was 0.036s away from second-placed Rowbottom.

Tom Chilton made it two Excelr8 Hyundais within the high 4, whereas championship chief Ash Sutton was fifth in his Alliance Ford – a few his fast laps regarded fairly sketchy, and his theoretical greatest on quickest sector instances would have put the four-time title winner on high of the instances.

One more Alliance Ford, that of Dan Cammish, was sixth forward of Adam Morgan in the most effective of the West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sports activities, and Mikey Doble within the second of the PMR Vauxhalls.

Pearson was one of many few to not enhance in FP2, however his FP1 greatest put the Scot’s Excelr8 Hyundai ninth on general instances, forward of Rob Huff in the most effective of the Speedworks-run Toyota Corollas.

The remaining BMWs of title contenders Jake Hill and Colin Turkington had been exterior the highest 10 within the faster FP2, though Hill was sixth on gentle tyres in FP1.

With the qualifying teams determined by alternate positions from FP2, that places Sutton and Turkington from the championship high 5 within the first batch, and Ingram, Cammish and Hill within the second.

BTCC Oulton Park – Follow outcomes

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