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Strong weekend for Motorbase
Strong weekend for Motorbase

Kent team Motorbase Performance moved into the lead of the BTCC Manufacturers/Constructors Championship at Oulton Park Island Circuit on Sunday after a consistently strong weekend for NAPA Racing UK team-mates Ash Sutton and Dan Cammish.

Reigning BTCC Champion Sutton continued his terrific podium momentum from the previous event at Thruxton, racing to the runner-up spot in rounds 10 and 11 for the Wrotham team. He departed Oulton third in the driver standings with NAPA Racing UK second in the Teams Championship.

Qualifying fifth fastest for round 10, even with only 1.5 seconds of hybrid boost available due to his championship placing, the Ford Focus ST driver duly converted it into his fifth podium. Moving into fourth at Island Bend on lap one, an even more impressive pass there on lap nine sealed third place. On lap 15, a simply stunning move on the outside of Cascades and into Island ensured second.

From the front row in round 11, Sutton pushed hard over the opening laps to pressure pole-starter Tom Ingram. In the end settling for second, Sutton also took the bonus point for fastest lap with a time of 1m26.132s (93.03mph). Unfortunately, round 12 didn’t go to plan when he had to avoid a multi-car incident on the first lap. After an enforced pit-stop, he carved through to 16th position.

Cammish began race one, his landmark 100th BTCC start, seventh after having a top three time in qualifying disallowed for track limits – not that he could do anything about the clumps of mud which had been dragged onto the circuit by another car at Old Hall before he arrived for his final flying lap!

Moving into sixth at the end of lap four, he took fifth on lap 11 but was then edged back to sixth on lap 15. Post-race, though, a penalty for Gordon Shedden moved Cammish back up to fifth. Starting round 11 from the head of the third row, he maintained position until lap 10 when a forceful move and resultant contact from Shedden at Island Bend elbowed Cammish to sixth where he stayed.

Lining-up seventh on the partially reversed grid for round 12, the NAPA Racing UK driver started well and controlled his car impressively after taking a significant knock when competitors sought to avoid the lap one accident at Hill Top. Remaining seventh to the flag on lap 18, he was elevated into sixth due to a penalty for Ricky Collard.

Osborne started off his weekend strongly by only just missing his target top 15 in qualifying, and from 16th on the grid in round 10 he climbed into 14th – despite some robust action – before the early Safety Car period. Set for another outright points finish, contact on lap 13 led to a drop to 19th position where he concluded the race.

In round 11 Osborne made progress during the early exchanges, climbing into 18th position, but he ultimately finished in 21st place after more questionable driving from rivals – just pipping Ash Hand on the line after they traded paint out of Lodge for the final time. Round 12 had an even more vexing conclusion when his Ford was put into the barriers at the exit of Island on lap six, instant retirement.

Team-mate Jackson shared similar fortunes to Osborne across the first two races, starting well from 18th on the grid in round 10 – only 0.8 seconds shy of pole in qualifying – and moving into the top 15 ahead of the Safety Car period. With the two Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan cars running together in the thick of the action, Jackson was then bundled down the order on lap 10 and finished 20th.

Putting together a great opening lap in race two, Jackson gained four places to move into 16th spot but things unraveled and he ended a tough contest in 24th place. After making some changes to the set-up, the car was much improved for round 12 and he delivered a fantastic drive from 24th on the grid into 14th position – racing hard against the likes of title contenders Sutton and Jake Hill.

Speaking after the weekend, Oly Collins – Motorbase Performance Team Manager, said: “Leading Manufacturer/Constructor, leading the Teams Championship, third overall and we came away with the Teams’ trophy for the weekend – I would say that’s a pretty good weekend! Dan took a great, solid trio of top sixes which was a nice reward after just missing out on his P3 pace in qualifying. It also shows how important qualifying results are, especially around Oulton.

“Mega for Ash getting two P2 finishes and pulling off some great moves in race one, only tarnished with a chunk of bad luck in race three avoiding the incident. That said, it could have been a lot worse, like everyone in the paddock we’re just glad to see all the drivers involved walk away relatively unscathed from a pretty big shunt.

“Once again, I just don’t know what both Ollie and Sam need to do to catch a break, they both had the pace for some great results this weekend but for various reasons the potential wasn’t reflected in the results. It was great to see Ollie in the thick of the action in race three, it looked like he enjoyed that one!”

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