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Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 adds to win tally to strengthen title challenge

Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 adds to win tally to strengthen title challenge

Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 will head into the final rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship next month amongst the main contenders for the coveted crown on the back of a race-winning performance in the penultimate weekend of the campaign at Silverstone.

The Suffolk-based team headed into the weekend with hopes high of a strong weekend on track, with the team’s Hyundai i30 Fastback N having performed well at the home of the British Grand Prix twelve months ago.

Running on the shorter National layout, things started well in first practice as title contender Tom Ingram topped the times, with Daniel Lloyd also running inside the top ten and Tom Chilton not far behind.

Come FP2, the trio would all lap within four-tenths of a second of the fastest time, with Jack Butel only a few tenths further back to leave the quartet confident going into the all-important qualifying session.

An impressive lap from Ingram despite limited hybrid power saw him secure fourth place on the grid, with Lloyd joining him in the top ten having set the ninth best time despite traffic affecting much of his session.

Chilton would be barely a tenth of a second slower but the close nature of the times meant he would start race one from 14th, with Butel taking 18th spot after his most competitive qualifying performance of the campaign.

Ingram would move up to third at the start of the opening race before being forced wide at Luffield after a tap from Ash Sutton a few laps in, which dropped him back to sixth. He would recover however to get ahead of the other Ford of Dan Cammish and grab fifth place and a solid haul of points with Chilton able to join him in the top ten having worked his way up as high as ninth before losing a spot to Stephen Jelley late on.

Lloyd would run behind Chilton for the majority of the race before contact in the latter stages dropped him back to twelfth, whilst Butel was showing strong race pace before contact from the BMW of Colin Turkington damaged the rear suspension and forced him to retire.

Although a slow start to race two saw Ingram slip to seventh on the opening lap, he fought back well to quickly regain fifth spot as he repeated his result from race one – the highlight being a fine move around the outside of Adam Morgan at Brooklands. Chilton would also recover well from a clash with Stephen Jelley on lap two that cost him places to fight his way back up to twelfth.

As in race one, Lloyd would spent a large part of the 25 lap encounter running behind Chilton on track before being knocked back to 15th on the final lap, with Butel fighting his way forwards from the very back of the grid to 22nd having shown he had the pace to challenge much higher.

With the top eight reversed on the grid for race three, Ingram lined up fourth on the grid and having quickly got ahead of Dan Cammish, he then hit the front when Adam Morgan and Josh Cook ran wide at Becketts.

Once ahead, Ingram controlled the race from the front despite two safety car periods to take a fourth win of the year and ensure he will go into the Brands Hatch finale just seven points off the championship lead.

Chilton’s strongest race of the season saw him climb four spots on the opening lap to lie eighth before he fought his way ahead of Morgan and Ollie Jackson to run in sixth spot. Demoted a place by the rapid BMW of Jake Hill, Chilton would then go wheel to wheel with the Honda of Gordon Shedden through the closing laps before emerging from the race in seventh place; his best result of the year so far.

Lloyd fought his way to eleventh place after stealing a spot from Turkington on the final lap of the race, whilst Butel’s pace was once again comparable with those higher up the order as he fought his way to 19th place – taking the flag little over a second away from the points.

Tom Chilton, #3 said:
“We ended the weekend on a massive high and I keep thinking ‘What if I didn’t get tangled up in race two?’ We could have got the reverse grid there and been on pole and we’d have been right in contention as we had one of the fastest front wheel drive cars in the final race. I had a great battle in that one with Shedden that was very exciting and it was great to have strong car underneath me.

“I know it takes me time to bed in with a car and get things moulded around me, and that is what I have now as the results have shown. I can’t wait to see what we can do at Brands Hatch in the finale.”

Tom Ingram, #80 said:
“It’s been stressful day with a lot going on and a lot to manage, but we’ve had some great results. The last race was fantastic because I knew how important it was, and I knew it was our chance to score some big points. It feels like the first time this season that we’ve gone forwards on the reverse grid draw, and we were able to maximise the opportunity to outscore our main rivals.

“We lost a little bit of ground in the first two races but have managed to gain it back in that final race, and I feel we have worked really well as a team. To only be seven points off top spot and to have the best of hybrid amongst the top three is good, and we’ve put ourselves in a fantastic position. The final round is another that tends to be very stressful for obvious reasons, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Jack Butel, #96 said:
“I feel this weekend sums up my season to an extent as I’ve just been unlucky. Qualifying was great and then contact in the first race did a load of damage to the rear of the car and put me to the back of the grid for race two – which made it really difficult.

“The lap times were really good but track position is key and when things are so tight, it’s tricky to make up ground. To get back into the top 20 was good even though I know we could have had more from the weekend, but I can take a lot of confidence from my performance into Brands Hatch for the final round.”

Daniel Lloyd, #123 said:
“There have been a few occasions today where we have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, which was unfortunate as I feel we had good pace. I said to my engineer after race three that if we’d been in a position to benefit from the reverse grid and had been up towards the front, we’d have been able to stay there but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

“Despite that, we’ve scored points in all three races and I’m happy with the way that I’ve driven well in myself so there are certainly positives that we can take away from the weekend as we look towards Brands Hatch and the final round.”

Justina Williams, Team Owner, said:
“The victory in race three was a great way to end the weekend and means we can now look ahead to Brands Hatch knowing we are right in contention for the championship title. All four drivers have shown strong pace on track this weekend as we knew they would, and it means we have put ourselves in a great position for the final rounds.

“We’ll work hard over the next two weeks to make sure we are in the best shape possible and can look ahead with confidence to what is to come.”

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