Rotek Racing Press Release
Rotek Racing and Robb Holland continued down their encouraging development path in Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) free practice and qualifying at Corby’s Rockingham Motor Speedway on Saturday (6 September), positioning the new-for-2014 Audi S3 saloon 24th ahead of Rounds 22, 23 and 24.
Thick fog descended on the Corby circuit during the course of Saturday morning and visibility was very poor for the first of two BTCC free practice sessions, which Rotek Racing used to assess setup changes to the Oakley Motorsports-liveried Audi S3 saloon.
The Nürburgring and Sonoma-based outfit continued down a fruitful development path it discovered during the mid-season break by fettling the front-wheel-driven Audi’s suspension and differential after a troubled weekend at Knockhill a fortnight ago.
Holland headed into unchartered territory, having never experienced the banked Rockingham circuit before, and gradually upped his pace while learning the track’s intricacies to emerge from the gloom at the end of a red flag-affected FP1 session satisfied with his progress.
Free practice two yielded more pace for Holland, as the amiable American set a 1m25.076s to lap Rockingham’s International Super Sportscar circuit almost a full second quicker than in FP1.
However, the Rotek Racing driver was a frequent visitor to the pits following a prolonged stoppage while Jack Goff’s stricken Volkswagen CC was recovered from the Armco at Tarzan, opting not to chase laptimes and instead continue refining his car’s setup ahead of the critical qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
With progress being made throughout the day, Holland headed into the afternoon’s qualifying session positive that he could make a further advancement up the timesheets.
Immediately, the Denver-domiciled driver put in a time almost identical to his best from FP2, before going several tenths quicker midway through the session to run as high as 16th.
As qualifying continued to unfold and more rubber was laid down, Holland remained inside the top 20 but, with less than ten minutes to go, fell to 24th while he and Rotek Racing frantically searched for grip.
“The toughest part about this whole season for me has been learning these new tracks,” said Holland. “I try to do a track day prior to the race weekend, but doing one at Rockingham Motor Speedway was hard and it's tough to come to an unfamiliar circuit at such a high level and be on the pace straight away. If we had another day’s testing prior to the weekend, we may have been higher up, but we’ll take what we can get.
“I usually do quite well in the race, if people don’t hit me. We’re going to try something a little different and use the soft tyres in the first race, as opposed to the last. We’ve always been down on mechanical grip and, with the soft tyres on, the car seems to come alive. We’ve had no tyre degradation on the softs, so we have all the performance and won't fall off the ‘cliff’, and if that is the case tomorrow, we’ve got a very realistic chance of scoring points again.”
Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) are scheduled to get underway at 11.37, 13.52 and 16.40 respectively and will be beamed live and in high definition on ITV4 and ITV4HD.
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