The Lancashire-based team went into the weekend keen to impress in the first race meeting for its all-new Mercedes A-Class.
The Ciceley Motorsport-run WIX Racing team enjoyed a solid start to the new Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, taking three points finishes from the opening three races of the year at Brands Hatch.
The Lancashire-based team went into the weekend keen to impress in the first race meeting for its all-new Mercedes A-Class, with driver Adam Morgan seeking to try and replicate the impressive results he had secured in the corresponding event last year.
From the seventh row of the grid, Adam was hopeful of challenging for a place inside the top ten when the opening race kicked off, holding position through a busy opening lap.
As the race wore on, he became embroiled in a battle with the Ford of Dave Newsham and the Vauxhall of Jack Goff before bringing the Mercedes home to the flag in 13th place; giving the WIX Racing team points on its first race with the all-new car, despite a slow puncture in the final laps.
Starting race two from the same position, Adam made a storming start and avoided chaotic scenes ahead through the opening corners to emerge from lap one up in seventh place, with the Safety Car then being deployed to remove a stricken car from the Paddock Hill gravel trap.
When the race resumed, Adam was able to keep pace with the three eBay Motors BMWs ahead but came under increasing pressure from Aron Smith, who managed to find a way through on lap 17. Holding his position through to the finish, despite a further Safety Car period, Adam successfully picked up his first top ten result of the campaign with eighth.
A post race penalty for Smith promoted Adam to seventh, which is where he then lined up for the final race of the weekend. Making up a place when the lights went out, Adam ran with the train of cars ahead in sixth spot, before moving up to fifth when Nick Foster was handed a drive-through penalty for being out of position at the start.
Following a mid-race Safety Car period, Adam found himself under increasing pressure from the chasing pack and with the performance of his soft compound Dunlop tyre starting to drop away, he slipped back to tenth by the time the chequered flag dropped.
Despite that, Adam ends his first weekend at the wheel of the new Mercedes sitting seventh in the championship standings and fourth in the Independents’ Trophy, with WIX Racing in seventh in the HiQ Teams’ Championship.
Adam Morgan: “It’s been a good weekend for us, and to get three points finishes and be seventh in the championship with a brand new car is good going. We had work to do after qualifying, so to score in the first race was a solid start, especially as the slow puncture in the final laps meant it was a bit lairy going through Paddock Hill Bend!
“The team made some big changes to the car for race two to try and improve things and they did a great job; it was transformed. I got a mega start and jumped up the field, and then I was able to stay with the BMWs after the restart. I was quicker than them through part of the lap but they had an advantage on the straights, as straight-line speed is the one thing we’ve lacked.
“I got an excellent start in the final race and the car felt really good. I was keeping pace with the Hondas ahead but after the Safety Car period, the tyres just dropped off the cliff. I tried to hold the guys behind as well as I could, and just made sure I stayed out of trouble.
“We’ve got a lot of data from this weekend and now have experience of running the soft tyre, so we can head back to base and work on improvements in time for Donington Park.”
Paul Ridgeway – chief engineer: “There aren’t many teams that will roll out a new car and run without any real problems and score three points finishes in a series like this. It’s probably gone better than we expected, although it’s a shame that we didn’t quite find the sweet spot in qualifying, as we could have been a bit higher on the grid. With it being so tight on the times, an extra tenth of a second could have made a huge difference.
“We know where we need to improve and we’ll look through the data we’ve collected and then we can aim to make more progress when we get to Donington in a few weeks time.”