Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher celebrated a superb trio of top ten results and Independent race win during an action-packed sixth meeting of Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season on Norfolk’s Snetterton 300 racing circuit (August 3-4).
It was a weekend of mixed emotions for the Motorbase-run squad, with Ollie Jackson collecting his maiden Independent race win, and best-ever BTCC points haul as the second half of the season got underway. Sadly, it was a case of what might have been for his team-mate Tom Chilton, whose early potential was derailed by a puncture in race 1.
Coming off the back of a successful two-day tyre test at on the Norfolk circuit, both Chilton and Jackson put their learnings to good use on Saturday, securing P4 and P12 spots respectively in the afternoon qualifying session.
Sunday’s opening race held much promise early on. Charging off the line, Chilton pulled off an outstanding switchback move on Tordoff as the race leaders headed through the first corner, storming past the Honda to steal into third. Sitting in strong podium contention, a devastating puncture fired Chilton off track at high speed as he raced through Coram, pitching him into the barriers and ending his race after just 5 tours of the circuit.
Running on the prime-tyre for the weekend opener, Ollie Jackson was on career-best form at the Norfolk track. Scything the #48 Focus RS through the field, he made his way up through the order, holding off robust challenges from Matt Neal and a fast-charging Simpson to eventually cross the line in 8th.
A lightning start in race 2 saw Jackson take 6th by the first corner. Duelling with Tordoff as they raced down the straight, a bold lunge was rewarded with a step-up P5. A challenge for the race lead on lap 7 delivered the perfect opportunity for the Motorbase-man to strike. As Ingram, Turkington, Cammish, and Jordan all jostled for position, Jackson kept a cool head before making his move to steal into 4th. Securing his best finish of the season so far, Jackson’s superb drive also netted him the Independent race win and his first podium of the year.
Chilton’s weekend looked to be on the up, with the 34-year-old making attacking straight off the start line. Working his way up into the mid-pack in the early laps, the #3 Focus looked set for a points finish and possible reversed grid draw spot before getting caught up in an on-track incident between Jelley and Cook which regrettably dropped him down the order. A commendable fight-back saw him eventually cross the line in P17, having made up an impressive 12 places.
The final race of the weekend delivered plenty of drama with tyre strategies all coming into play for the final 12 lap challenge. With the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher duo both running the less-favourable hard-compound as track temperatures cooled, both racers faced a hard battle on track against the faster-charging machines running on softs.
Jackson led the way once more with an excellent defensive drive. Carrying 30kg of success ballast on-board the #48 Focus, his tenacity was repaid with a P7 finish, ending the day with a third top-ten finish and his best-ever BTCC weekend.
Racing in heavy traffic, Chilton did well to stay out of trouble as he raced wheel to wheel with Neal and Goff. Pushing hard in the closing laps, he showed his true class once more to break into the points-scoring zone, bringing the #3 Ford home unscathed in P12.
Although a mixed bag of results for the two drivers over the weekend, the Motorbase-run team has made huge strides forward with the Ford Focus RS machines and heads to Thruxton full of confidence ahead of the Kwik British Touring Car Championship’s return in two weeks.
Team Manager Oly Collins: “I’m absolutely thrilled for Ollie and his side of the garage. He put in an outstanding performance all day today and got the results he has been promising all season. Unfortunately, Tom’s day was pretty much over from lap 5. He was so unlucky to get the puncture so early in the race. He was in such control and on for a guaranteed podium which would have set the tone for a great weekend and a decent haul of points. Unfortunately a result like that in race 1 spoils the whole weekend. There was absolutely nothing he could do.
“On the plus side we had pace all day today and Ollie got his first Independent win. Great teamwork from all involved and we go to Thruxton in a buoyant mood. And what an awesome race 3 it was too. A true, classic BTCC race! “
#48 Ollie Jackson: “Really successful weekend, the car has been fantastic, the team have done an awesome job and I’m delighted. It feels like a watershed weekend! There are still a few little bits of the puzzle that I still need to fill in, but I feel like now it’s rocking and rolling.
“I’ve finally managed to pull it all together to get us all the results that I’ve been threatening to get all year. All we need to do now is make that next step and to build from here and make that next step onto the podium. It’s definitely a huge confidence booster for me now heading to Thruxton in a couple of weeks.”