Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher, sponsored by Beavis Morgan, produced a battling performance during the fifth Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship meeting of the season, taking four hard-fought points finishes from a challenging weekend at Oulton Park (June 29/30).
Saturday’s qualifying session delivered mixed results for the Kent-based squad. Ollie Jackson secured the team’s highest-placed grid spot in P12. Unfortunately, Tom Chilton struggled to hook up the perfect lap and was left frustrated in P14.
With a big task ahead of the Motorbase duo in the opening race, both Tom and Ollie jumped up the order on the opening lap. Regrettably, Tom’s charge was cut short as he challenged Jake Hill through Lodge corner. Forced into taking evasive action to save the #3 Focus, the impact resulted in suspension damage to the Ford, hampering his pace for the remaining laps and he eventually crossed the line in P12.
A superb drive for Ollie on the Cheshire circuit was finally rewarded with a representative race result for his efforts. Working his way up to 12th by the 5th lap, the Beavis Morgan-backed driver made the most of a safety car appearance to push his way further up the order, taking a top ten finish in the #48 Focus RS – his highest-placed finish of the season so far.
A strong start to race 2 sadly failed to deliver the results it promised for the Independent challengers. Contact once more with Hill’s Audi as the duo battled for position ended Tom’s race early, with steering damage on the #3 Focus RS forcing him into early retirement after just 6 laps.
After running as high as 8th for much of the race, Ollie struggled to hold his position in the closing laps and dropped back the order to take P13 at the flag, adding more spoils to the squad’s championship campaign.
Starting from the back of the grid, Tom made a storming charge off the line in the final contest of the day. Taking 5 places on the opening lap, the Reigate-racer strategically played the long-game preserving his tyres before launching his assault. Making up an incredible fifteen places on track, Tom weaved his way up through the order to take P13 as the flag dropped.
Ollie’s consistency continued to pay-off with the 35-year-old taking his third haul of championship points from the weekend. Coming under consistent pressure for the entire 15-lap challenge, the Motorbase-man battled hard to remain in the mix, with the #48 Focus RS eventually taking 14th.
A post-race penalty and subsequent result amendment saw both positions promoted to 12th and 13th respectively.
The weekend’s results leave Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher and Tom Tom sitting third in the Independent standings, and eighth overall as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship enters its mid-season break. The Motorbase-run team is next on-track for the official Dunlop tyre test in just over two weeks’ time, before returning to Snetterton circuit for rounds 16, 17 and 18 on August 3/4.
#3 Tom Chilton: “It was nice to be able to race in race 3 and go forward and not pick up any contact that was going to hurt me. I got a good start and then I settled in and waited for my tyres to come to me. My plan was to do my overtaking in the second half of the race. But then I get it full beans at the end.
“I’m gutted that we didn’t manage a double podium like we did last year. I don’t like to go into rounds and drop down in the championship standings but the contact in the first two races ruined our weekend. I’m happy we turned it around, and we learned a lot with the car. We’ve got some good ideas for our two-day test at Snetterton. We still need to figure out a little bit more on the car, but we’ve made a big jump forward.
“We’re leaving Oulton Park with a much stronger package than we arrived with.”
#48 Ollie Jackson: “It’s been a funny day, to be honest. We’ve shown the potential, but unfortunately, I made a few choice decisions that were not conducive to success. I took a few risks in race 3 and none of them paid off. It was a shame as the car was really strong. I think we could have had three top ten’s today. Three points-finishes are great, but it should have been a lot better and I’m disappointed.
“I’m gradually pulling things together and it bodes well for the second half of the season. We’re developing the car and I’m gradually eliminating some of my mistakes. Hopefully it will all materialise into something excellent very soon.
“We know where we need to fill in the gaps to the competition, and that’s what we’ll focus on during the Snetterton test and summer break.”
Photography: Jakob Ebrey