4 August 2019
At Cobra we are proud that half of the drivers in the British Touring Car Championships use our products – and even more pleased that the top three drivers in the standings after another thrilling day of racing at Snetterton use Cobra seats: In fact, if you take a look at the standings, you’ll see that in addition to Colin Turkington, Andrew Jordan and Rory Butcher who hold first, second and third places in the rankings at the moment, Dan Cammish, Tom Ingram and Matt Neal mean that drivers using Cobra seats currently claim six of the top eight places in the Drivers’ Championship as we head towards the next meeting at Thruxton.
Over the last eight seasons, no fewer than seven BTCC Driver’s Champions have used Cobra seats: It’s a success story that all began when Matt Neal at Yuasa Honda Racing put his faith in Cobra and was rewarded with his first British Touring Car Drivers Championship for five years (it was Matt’s third BTCC Championship in all, to add to the four Independent Drivers Championships that he also had to his name).
We are pleased to say that Matt is still pushing for honours – and has been joined at Halfords Yuasa Racing by Dan Cammish who capped his first season in the BTCC by lifting the Jack Sears Trophy and now, in his second season, is only 34 points behind Andrew Jordan who holds second place in the Drivers Championship.
With apologies to Tom Ingram, Colin Turkington and Rory Butcher – three drivers using Cobra seats who each won a race at Snetterton and who would normally be featured in our BTCC report - we thought that we would ring the changes by looking at the Snetterton weekend through the eyes of the team that introduced us to the BTCC: It proved to be a good weekend for Dan Cammish who scored a brace of second-place finishes to maintain his challenge in the series points table.
The weekend started well for Dan, his Honda Civic Type R topping both practice sessions at the Norfolk track and securing a front-row start in qualifying, just two thousandths of a second behind pole sitter Tom Ingram. Cammish's Halfords Yuasa Racing team-mate Matt Neal also enjoyed a strong qualifying, finishing eighth fastest of the 30-strong field. The Snetterton meeting served up a new challenge, drivers required to use a different compound tyre in each of the three races. Cammish chose the soft tyre for race one, Neal the hard, but Matt's race lasted little more than a lap before a clash with rival Ollie Jackson damaged the Civic Type R and put it out of the race. Cammish, meanwhile made an excellent start, matching pole-sitter Tom Ingram and slotting into second spot. The pair remained in close proximity for the whole of the 12 laps, the Honda always in touch with the leader. Cammish took second at the flag, banking a good haul of points. The two Hondas lined up at opposite ends of the grid for race two, both now on the medium-compound tyre. Cammish, his car weighed down by the ballast resulting from his first race success, was beaten off the line by both Ingram and championship leader Colin Turkington, and then forced to drop to fourth behind Andrew Jordan. However Ingram then hit a problem and as he slowed an opportunistic Cammish rounded his rival and retook Jordan in the same move, the Civic Type R then holding onto second spot to the chequered flag. Starting 30th, Neal was looking to charge through the field as he had in the previous BTCC meeting, but his task was made no easier one lap in when his Civic Type R was forced across the grass to avoid a spinning competitor. The frustrated Halfords Yuasa Racing driver progressed to 16th at the flag, still too far back to benefit from the reverse grid draw for race three. The draw placed Cammish seventh on the grid for the final encounter, his Honda now on the hardest tyre. Unfortunately, the car's pace was held back by some braking issues and he slipped back to an eventual 15th-place finish, grabbing a single championship point. Neal made the most of the soft-compound tyre to again charge up the grid from 16th, only to again be badly delayed by another car's spin. Resuming he fought back to finish 11th and also earn some possibly vital championship points for the Halfords Yuasa Racing team. The BTCC now moves to Thruxton in Hampshire for its second visit of the season - both Hondas were on the pace at the meeting in May – Neal will be hoping to find some luck to go with his speed, and Cammish will be looking to continue his strong run and make one further step to the top of the podium.
After race three, Dan Cammish summed up his Snetterton experience: “We were fast all weekend – our pace during the test converted into a great qualifying performance, and a great race 1 and 2. In the second I really punched above the weight of the success ballast to take second place. It was a shame race 3 didn’t go to plan but I struggled with some brake problems which we hadn’t seen before. Brake problems are not good in a Touring Car race! But, lots of positives! I'm looking forward to going back to Thruxton, we know we go well there and I’m sure we will be at the front”.
Meanwhile Matt Neal (who is Team Dynamic’s Director as well as multi-championship winner) was philosophical about the bad luck that has dogged him for much of the season: “The car felt good all weekend. We took a gamble on the hard tyre in race 1 which proved a good move but then I was speared off the track. When you are coming from the back it's a lottery and I lost out to other people's problems. The positive is that the car was good and strong all through. Thruxton has always been a bit of a happy hunting ground for us, so we are looking forward to going back there.”