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Cobra Passes the Test with Flying Colours

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BTCC: SNETTERTON

Well, if a summer break is supposed to leave you feeling relaxed it didn’t work for the drivers of BTCC!

Two of the three races at Snetterton were scenes of carnage – not the kind of dramatic action you want to associate with the BTCC and the only reason that we can write about it with a degree of levity is the fact that no one was seriously hurt…and that includes one very lucky cameraman and a driver who thanks his Cobra seat for surviving a crash in a car which BTCC officials have said sustained the worst damage they have ever seen.

The driver in question is Dan Welch whose Chevrolet Cruze was T-boned by Ashley Sutton’s Triple Eight MG6 which was travelling at about 140mph at the time. Both drivers were in a COBRA 129 seat – a seat designed to surpass the stringent demands of the FIA 8862-2009 Advanced Racing Seat standard.

In addition to the traditional side mounts, the COBRA 129 is fixed at shoulder level directly to the roll cage which keeps the seat more rigid and offers much greater protection that standard seats – especially in the event of a side impact.

Unfortunately for Dan he put that claim to the ultimate test, but on the bright side the COBRA 129 passed with flying colours. Dan said the only parts of the car not bent were the parts the seat was bolted to, which, he thinks, contributed to keeping the shell straight in that area.

Dan is convinced that the the COBRA 129 saved him from serious injury – and possibly worse!

Unfortunately the same can’t be said of Dan’s team’s bank balance – the car was totalled and, as an independent, it has put his future in this year’s BTCC in some doubt. We wish him well!

Compared to that drama, the results seem almost inconsequential – but here’s an update:

On the Saturday Gordon Shedden grabbed the first Yuasa Honda pole in more than three years (if you don’t believe it, check it out!)

Flash was hauled in, in the first race, to take a creditable second.

In the second race – following the re-start – Matt Neal grabbed a third and Rob Collard a fourth.

The third race was marred by another horrific looking accident with a car barrel rolling along the start and finish straight’s crash barrier and demolishing a camera tower (the cameraman having what can only be described as a very lucky escape). The inevitable re-start saw a 1 – 2 – 3 for drivers in Cobra seats with Gordon Shedden leading home the WSR BMW of Rob Collard and the Handy Motorsport Toyota of Rob Austin – the team’s best ever finish.

That leaves the Championship standings with “Cobra” drivers in the top four positions: Rob Collard has edged to the top of the driver rankings just three points ahead of team mate Sam Tordoff, with Matt Neal a close third and Gordon Shedden in fourth.

Knockhill is just two weeks away – there are going to be some very busy garages leading up to that visit to Gordon Shedden’s home circuit!

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