Tuesday, September 9, 2014

BTCC: Robb Holland adds to BTCC points tally at Rockingham

Rotek Racing Press Release

Rotek Racing and Robb Holland continue to take strides forwards in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) after securing more points in a frantic raceday at Corby’s Rockingham Motor Speedway (7 September).

Despite having never raced on the Corby circuit prior to this weekend, Rotek Racing’s Holland was quick to pick up from where he left off at Knockhill, as the BTCC crossed back over the border into England for the eighth meeting of Britain’s premier motor racing championship.

Having scored the team’s first point at Snetterton last month, Holland’s sole objective was to add to that tally as he lined-up 24th for the first of the weekend’s three races.

As the vast array of touring cars lined-up on the grid for the first time, the four red lights went out and Holland, who was one of seven drivers that opted to start on the softer, but less durable Dunlop tyres, wrestled his Audi’s wheelspin and fell into the clutches of the faster-starting Glynn Geddie as the 31-car field sprinted towards the banked Turn 1.

Holland latched onto the rear wing of his United Autosports rival throughout much of the 18-lap contest, which was interrupted by the Safety Car following a heavy collision between Lea Wood and Warren Scott at the Deene hairpin.

The Oakley Motorsports-backed Holland became embroiled in several bumper-to-bumper battles with the more experienced drivers on the grid, before making an opportunistic dive up the inside of Marc Hynes at the Brook chicane to snatch 21st on the final lap.

With six places separating him and the points, Holland lined-up on the grid for the second race full of determination, aiming to propel his new-for-2014 Audi S3 saloon up the leaderboard.

The Denver-domiciled driver was able to negotiate his way around the 1.94mile circuit and avoid the many frantic battles to bring his car home in an impressive 19th place after using some muscle to defend his position from several established drivers, despite lacking mechanical grip on the harder compound Dunlop tyres.

As engine notes rose and exhausts popped and banged for the final time at Rockingham, Holland once again negotiated his way through the ensuing contact to sit on the cusp of a points-paying position by the close of the opening two tours.

As the race reached the halfway point, Holland was overtaken by the Crabbies-liveried Ford Focus ST of Jack Clarke, which looked to have denied the Silverstone and Nürburgring team of yet more points. But, in the dying laps, Holland threw caution to the wind and slipped passed the United Autosports Toyota Avensis of Glynn Geddie to move back into the 15th for another point.

“We learn something new every weekend, so we’re constantly improving the setup on the car,” said Holland. “The surface here at Rockingham is really abrasive and, as we haven’t put a lot of pressure on the tyres in the last couple of races, we weren’t aggressive on the setup. This worked for the beginning of the races, but we noticed some considerable drop-off towards the end. We were hoping that we’d go with the soft tyres early and then everyone else would be using them in race three and fall off, which they did, but as we saw them drop-off as well, we weren’t able to capitalise.

“It always feels good to pick up points in this series, considering how tough it is, and shows that we are taking the necessary steps forward. Rotek Racing works really hard in between races to put a car together that is going to be an improvement over the last race, which I think this car was. I feel we are now midfield and challenging for points and the teams around us are aware of that. Now we’ll look to Silverstone, where hopefully we will continue moving upwards.”

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) will resume at The Home of British Motorsport, Silverstone, in three weeks’ time (27-28 September).

For more on Rotek Racing, visit the official www.rotekracing.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow @rotekracing on Twitter.

Photo credit: Rotek Racing