Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BTCC: Holland's fortunes undulate in another dramatic BTCC clash at Knockhill

Rotek Racin Press Release

There was some frustration for Robb Holland as Rotek Racing was prevented from unleashing its full potential during yet another dramatic and incident-packed Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) raceday at Scotland’s picturesque Knockhill circuit on Sunday (24 August).

It was a clean start to Round 19 and, despite losing one place to the fast-starting rear-wheel-driven eBay Motors BMW of Rob Collard, Holland maintained 26th position when James Cole exited stage-left on the formation lap.

Holland latched on to Collard’s tailgate and followed him through to 24th, but an over-exuberant lunge by Power Maxed Racing’s Chris Stockton resulted in contact at McIntyre, moments before a pummelling by Daniel Welch’s airborne ProtonGen-2 caused terminal damage to both cars.

The highly-skilled Rotek Racing team did an efficient, yet thorough job to repair the battered Audi S3 saloon’s war wounds during the short interval between Rounds 19 and 20 and Holland re-entered the fray keen to keep his nose clean while making progress up the order.

The usual first-corner bumping and barging at the sharp end of the field relegated home hero and championship contender Gordon Shedden to the back of the grid, but it was a clean getaway for Holland who was up to 25th and on terms with race one foe Stockton by the completion of the first lap.

Picking his battles and realising a defence against Shedden’s works Honda Civic Tourer would be futile, Holland opened the door for the Scotsman and opted to focus his energy on pursuing and passing Stockton, which he did with ease.

Thereafter, his race was centred around catching the Toyota Avensis of Glynn Geddie. The American had a sizeable five-second gap to bridge, but was consistently three tenths of a second per lap quicker and got to within half a second of the United Autosports driver in 20th position at the chequered flag.

Battle between Holland and Geddie was resumed under sunny skies in Round 21. Holland, on the quicker, but less durable Dunlop soft compound tyres, initially maintained position behind the Toyota racer, but lost some ground while brawling with Marc Hynes’ MG6 and Martin Depper’s Pirtek Racing Honda Civic.

Hynes, Holland and Depper steadily moved up the leaderboard as others came to grief, but Holland’s laptimes were quick and consistent and he was soon back on terms with Geddie, snatching 18th position with an opportunistic last-gasp move on the final racing lap at Knockhill.

“We had the reverse weekend of Snetterton because there we looked good in free practice, did well in qualifying and moved forward very quickly in race one, only to have problems in the next two,” said Holland. “At Knockhill we didn’t get the most out of the car in free practice and qualifying and that hurt a lot. I was unlucky in race one, when Daniel Welch launched himself over a kerb and took me out, and then made progress in races two and three, where we were competitive with most of the mid-pack. All we need is one incident-free weekend without people hitting us and we will be in the mix fighting hard for some serious points and that’s what I’m hoping for before the end of the season.”

Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, Northamptonshire is the next halt for the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in two weeks’ time (6-7 September).

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Photo credit: Rotek Racing