12 months on from the fire that engulfed Dan Cammish’s 2022 title hopes, tables have well and truly turned for the now championship leader as he produced a race winning double at the opening rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship last weekend (22/23 April).
Making his debut for NAPA Racing UK, Dan Rowbottom sailed to pole position, edging out NAPA Racing UK driver, Ash Sutton by only 0.041s.
All drivers took part in the normal 30-minute qualifying session before the 10 fastest competitors took part in the new ten-minute pole position shoot out.
Rowbottom put in a stella lap to go P1, while Sutton’s initial lap time was removed for track limits, plunging him down the order. With a few minutes left of qualifying, Sutton had it all to do and after setting a purple sector, he eventually qualified in P2, making it a NAPA front row lock out for race 1, while Cammish qualified in 5th and Sam Osborne in 19th.
Treacherous conditions on Sunday saw all drivers take to the starting grid on wet tyres. With Rowbottom struggling to get the power down in the conditions, Sutton eyed up the opportunity to surge into the lead, however contact with Jake Hill resulted into his car getting fired off onto the grass subsequently having to retire.
After some great on-track battles with the leaders, Cammish pulled a late, sensational move, going side-by-side with Hill through the Craner Curves, ultimately coming out on top and taking over the lead of the race.
As the chequered flag fell, Cammish took his and NAPA’s first maiden win of the BTCC season, a fantastic come back from 5th on the grid.
Tyre choice proved to be vital during race 2, but Sam Osborne mastered the wet and tricky conditions after cleverly choosing to switch to wet tyres early. After starting down in P17, Osborne made his way through the field, eventually finishing with his first ever podium in BTCC, which awarded him with the Jack Sears trophy – his best career position to date.
With the third and final race approaching, NAPA Racing UK took their second front row lock out of the weekend. Cammish lined up in P1 with Rowbottom in second. NAPA Racing UK team-mate Sutton had it all to do from P15, but made an incredible come back to P4 going into the closing stages.
As pole sitter, Cammish drove off into the distance, leaving the final spots of the podium up for grabs. In the closing stages, Sutton squeezed past the BMW at Mcleans to gain P3, making it a third consecutive podium appearance and double podium for NAPA Racing UK
MINI CHALLENEGE JCW AND PORSCHE CARRERA CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
With the support races taking place, the JCW’s had a great first outing with Race 3 seeing Lewis Selby starting in P14 and Jamie Osborne lining up in P12. As the lights went green, both drivers had a fantastic start battling with others as they headed to the first corner. As the rain got heavier, conditions worsened, but it still didn’t hamper the two drivers and with the race coming to an early end, Osborne finished with an incredible P5 with team-mate Selby directly behind.
Over at the Porsche garage, Race 1 saw Hugo Ellis start down in P9, but after pulling off some great moves he eventually finished in P5.
DAN CAMMISH – NAPA RACING UK, NO.27:
“Big smile! Yesterday did not go exactly to plan – I was happy with P5, but also a bit conscious that maybe it wasn’t the best we could have had. I did have a gut feeling that the car would be better on the Sunday, as that’s what we’ve been working towards.
“Twelve months on from a bit of a shocker, to bounce back with two wins is brilliant. Race 2 was interesting with slicks in the rain – we had a chance, but we had to make a call and I realised I was in a bad place when people pitted under the Safety Car. I think I was so focused on that race win and should have switched to think about the reverse grid.
“We had a bit of luck with the draw in the end, but we also needed the performance to win it. Really proud of all the guys at NAPA and what a day! Over the moon. First weekend as a married man and two wins – it’s been great!”
ASH SUTTON – NAPA RACING UK, NO.116:
“A what could have been weekend that is for sure. Look, to come from 15,16 – whatever it was – to third on the podium, I couldn’t have asked for much more. Obviously Dan [Cammish] had a nice sensible run. I tried to get Tom in the last chicane but we still got some good points under our belt and that’s what we needed.
“I wanted to bring a first place home to him [my newborn son], but didn’t quite do that. I hope he is not too disappointed. A third will do to start with!”