A tough weekend – but drivers and cars using Cobra seats still head all the standings
It wasn’t the best start for Cobra drivers at Rockingham: Dan Cammish had a promising qualifying session, starting third on the grid, but after contact between Dan and Sam Tordoff’s Ford at a fiercely contested first hairpin ironically it was Dan’s team mate (and Championship hopeful) Matt Neal who paid the price after he (and a number of others)ploughed in to the stationary Focus.The melee left Cammish running third until, after a brief safety car period to clear up the mess and a sharp shower of rain, he dropped back to fourth and then got into a desperate scrap for the last podium position.
Cammish briefly dropped down to fifth behind Smiley’s Honda Civic, but a touch between the pair gifted fourth back to the Team Dynamics man. However, a superior exit from the final corner gave Smiley a run to leap into fourth by a narrow margin at the flag.
“Cobra’s” Mike Bushell took a good sixth spot in his Team Hard VW CC ahead of Colin Turkington in the WSR BMW 125i M Sport, which was carrying 66kg of success ballast.
It was a seventh place that moved Colin back to the head of the points standings after his main rival Tom Ingram, who had been running seventh in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis, pulled off the track on the final lap with a fly-by-wire throttle system failure.
Ingram’s misfortune in race one provided the platform for Tom to put in the performance of the day in race 2: Starting 27th on the grid he picked his way through the field to claim a sensational third position by the end of a race that saw two safety car periods.
With Colin Turkington finishing fifth, the competition for top spot in the driver’s championship is closer than ever.
Behind Colin, Mike Bushell, whose Team Hard VW had run in third earlier in the race finally finished a credible seventh, while Matt Simpson’s Eurotech Honda came in ninth.
On to race three, and a pre-race shower promised an “interesting” race: Sure enough the first hairpin witnessed the Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R of Matt Simpson and the Team Hard Volkswagen CC Mike Bushell taking a route over the grass.
Second place was only decided at the very last corner when Matt Simpson who had recovered brilliantly from his rallying exploits on lap one, ran wide at Brook Chicane allowing Colin Turkington to launch his BMW up the inside and beat Simpson off the corner.
Behind Turkington in second and Simpson in third, Tom Ingram grabbed an unchallenged fifth. One of the drives of the race came from Bobby Thompson whose Team Hard VW CC finished seventh having started 28th on the grid.
Not the easiest day for drivers using Cobra seats, but at the end of a showery day at “Europe’s fastest circuit”, Colin Turkington leads the standings by four points from Tom Ingram with Matt Neal licking his wounds after a disappointing day, but still very much in contention 44 points off the lead.
BMW and Honda are still 1 – 2 in the Manufacturers championship; Team BMW and Halfords Yuasa Racing are separated by just two points at the top of the Team standings, Tom Ingram leads the Independent Drivers Championship by 37 points, Speedworks leads the Independent Teams Championship, Dan Cammish heads the race for the Jack Sears Trophy while Tom Ingram shares a lead in the Dunlop Foreverforward standings.