Rotek Racing back on track at Snetterton
After a six-week break and two days of in-season testing, positive signs began to show for Robb ‘Hollywood’ Holland and the Rotek Racing team ahead of Rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Snetterton (2 August).
Holland headed into the first practice session at the Norfolk track – which contains corners modelled on Monza’s Parabolica and Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Hairpin – with renewed hope that his Rotek Racing outfit would see a change of fortune in the second half of the season.
It was a bumpy start to Saturday (2 August) when a low grip track and locked differential saw Holland end up in the gravel at Riches corner.
After being rescued by Snetterton’s marshals, the American returned to the pits to check for damage but continued on his way until a second red flag truncated the session and removed any chance of improving on 18th fastest.
Despite the drama, it was clear to both driver and team that the Oakley Motorsports-backed Audi S3 Saloon’s handling had improved.
The second practice session was once again positive for the Nürburgring and Silverstone-based squad and spirits were high as it headed into the afternoon qualifying session.
As temperatures rose and times dropped, there was no doubt that, for Holland, the second sector was where the car came alive and he ended the day’s running on a high.
“Qualifying went as well as expected,” said Holland, “The car was much better, we are now P22, we are closer to the guys at the front than we are to the back, so it’s really good in that way. I think there is more in me. I haven’t quite gotten up to the pace of the car through the high-speed stuff. We have got to be happy, we are definitely making progress and to be fighting mid-pack is encouraging.
“Testing made a huge difference. Before the Pembrey test we had a really inconsistent car and we never knew what we would have from one session to the next. Here, the Audi S3 saloon is very consistent and I can work with it and move forward. For tomorrow’s races, we want to continue to progress and score points. We are now in the mix, I think there are a few guys who have to be moved to the back of the grid, leaving only five or so for me to pass and score points. That would be a really good way to start the second half of the season.”
Round 16 takes place at 12.02, Round 17 at 14.35 and Round 18 at 17.06 tomorrow (Sunday 2 August) and all three races will be beamed live and in high definition on ITV4 and ITV4HD.