Halfords Racing with Cataclean scored a fantastic one-two in the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race at Oulton Park as Dan Rowbottom claim a first career victory ahead of team-mate Gordon Shedden.
The contest came down to a six-lap shootout after the initial bout was red-flagged following heavy contact in an incident involving Tom Oliphant (Team BMW), Chris Smiley (Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com) and Rick Parfitt (EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com).
Much of Team Dynamics’ progress was completed in the first segment as Shedden nipped by the BTC Racing Honda of pole-sitter Senna Proctor, whilst Rowbottom nearly flew from fourth to first with his own brilliant start.
The hard work could have been undone, however, when they were made to do it all again following a sizeable shunt on lap seven.
The PMR-run Vauxhall of Jason Plato and Oliphant’s BMW made contact at Lodge corner, which left the latter sprawled across the race track. The Hyundais of both Smiley and Parfitt unfortunately collected the stricken 3 Series and stewards were left with no option but to red flag the race.
Rowbottom made it stick on the restart as he blasted his #32 Honda Civic Type R around the outside of Shedden on the run down to turn one, and he subsequently went on to claim an outstanding maiden BTCC victory.
“It’s a little bit surreal to be honest!” enthused Rowbottom. “I shed a couple of tears, as I’m sure you can see from the in-car camera. It’s fantastic. For Halfords Racing with Cataclean to get a one-two is great, I kind of wanted to get the first as it’s Cataclean’s home circuit and they’ve got a lot of people here today. It’s one ticked off the list, but the list goes on and the work never stops.
“[Shedden] is a bit of a hunter. We had a couple of nips in the rear corner of the car, and I thought ‘oh no he’s here’ but I just managed to collect it all together, pull a bit of a gap and it was just enough at the end. To be honest in the first part of the race before the red flag I couldn’t keep with him. He was too far gone, so that worked out great.
“I think perhaps we were unfairly criticised due to my 2019 performance, so the aim this year was to come in and get top tens and make people realise what we could be here. But to come in and start winning here is fantastic and great for the championship too!”
“The red flag was falling at the wrong time for me but thank goodness everyone’s okay,” responded Shedden. “A one-two for the team is great, Dan’s first win is just fantastic. Now we’ve got to try and keep scoring for the next two races today, so fingers crossed.
“My start felt okay. Starting on the soft tyres but with so much temperature in them was a little bit hit and miss with what it would be. My green flag warmup lap start was terrible, but I thought my start was okay. Dan just made a lightening start like he did in the other one, and that was really race done. It’s just very difficult to overtake especially in the same car around here.
“We have history here, so I was thinking about that. I think obviously your priority is to get both cars home, but you both want to win and are going to make moves. But that was good!”
Adam Morgan got the better of Rory Butcher (Toyota Gazoo Racing UK) and Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) in an eye-catching battle between the trio for the final place on the podium, and the Ciceley Motorsport man will have been further encouraged that he was running of the harder of the two Goodyear tyre compounds.
Morgan’s podium follows his win at Brands Hatch last time out as the Lancastrian team continue to make progress with its BMW 330i M Sports.
“I heard [Rowbottom and Shedden] were on the soft tyre and I thought they’d just disappear,” said Morgan. “But I think we kept them honest and were sort of on the pace. Matt Neal will hate it, but I was hoping we were going to have a repeat at the last corner and they’d take each other off. But a mega result for the team. Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport on the podium two races in a row!
“We’ve still got the soft tyre to use, but the BMW carries weight really well, so it makes sense to use it in race two. We’ll get ourselves up at the front again with hopefully another podium and then just take the reverse grid draw as it comes.”
Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat was lively throughout as he claimed sixth, ahead of Plato and MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Jake Hill.
Proctor eventually finished ninth, whilst Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct’s Jack Goff completed the top ten.
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Oulton Park
1 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean 6 laps
2 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.384s
3 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +2.104s
4 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +5.885s
5 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +6.170s
6 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +7.053s
7 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +7.469s
8 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +7.829s
9 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) BTC Racing +8.082s
10 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +8.444s
11 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +9.405s
12 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +10.629s
13 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +10.897s
14 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +10.955s
15 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +11.690s
16 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +14.195s
17 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +14.373s
18 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +14.593s
19 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +15.331
20 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +15.580s
21 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +16.384s
22 Jack MITCHELL (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +17.203s
23 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +17.530s
24 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +3 laps
25 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +6 laps
26 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +6 laps
27 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +6 laps