Adam Morgan once again saw his race weekend marred by bad luck, as reliability issues cost the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) star at Snetterton.
Adam headed into the race weekend at the Norfolk circuit in good spirits, having enjoyed a successful month away from the BTCC as the series enjoyed its annual summer lull.
Having won in China and at the Silverstone Classic, racing a retro Mini, his form and confidence were on a high.
This was evident from the way the Pall-Ex supported racer guided his Cicely Motorsport Mercedes Benz A-Class around the 2.96-mile track during qualifying on Saturday.
He ended the session with a time good enough for ninth position, his best qualifying result of the season.
Following the session, Adam commented: “We tried a set-up that was mid-way between what we ran in 2018 and what we had at the start of this year and it seemed to be a step forward so I’m confident that we can carry that race pace into tomorrow.”
Sunday morning came, and the whole team was excited to see what Adam and the car could achieve.
From ninth on the grid, Adam made a solid start on the soft tyre, and settled into running, sitting comfortably in the top 10.
However, as has been the story for the whole season, misfortune lay ahead for Adam’s Mercedes A-Class.
Changing down into second gear at turn two, the gearbox let out an unhealthy noise that spelt disaster for the Lancastrian’s race.
After returning to the paddock, Adam reflected on what could have been: “I placed the car down into second gear at turn two, I heard a bang and then a rattle and then my race was over. It has done every gear so we need a new gearbox for race two but that puts us at the back of the grid.
I’m really disappointed because the pace we had was looking good and we were running in the leading pack without concerns for pace.”
Second gear, just half-way through its projected lifespan, managed to destroy the other gears as it shattered, meaning a new gearbox was needed.
This considerable change meant that the whole Ciceley Motorsport team had to work non-stop for the two hours, to ensure the car was ready for Race Two.
After a great effort by the team, Adam was able to line up in 28th position on the grid for Race Two, opting for the more durable medium compound Dunlop tyres, meaning he would have longer-lasting grip for the race ahead.
From his starting position, Adam displayed the determination, race-craft and car control that has earned him his position as one of the top drivers in the BTCC, and he scythed through the field into 18th position.
The only delay to Adam’s progress came when he tangled with Stephen Jelley’s BMW, which resulted in front end damage that broke the radiator and cooling system and bent the steering mechanism.
Despite this, he battled with the bruised car and brought it home in 18th place.
After the race, Adam commented: “I made a good start but then there was a bit of contact on the way to the first corner when four of us went side-by-side and that was a bit tight! I caught up to a battle with Stephen Jelley, Josh Cook and Senna Proctor all involved and it was hard to get through that quickly and then there was more contact which turned around Stephen.
I had to try to avoid him and picked up some damage, which bent the steering, but also it damaged the radiator and the cooling system so that meant that I needed to finish rather than look at any heroics after that.
It was frustrating because the car went really well early on but it’s a legacy of being at the back: you are in jeopardy with all the traffic around you."
Once again, running repairs were needed to ensure the car was fit for Race Three, as the team had to fit a replacement radiator and cooling pack to the Mac Tools sponsored A-Class.
Lining up in 18th position for the final race of the day, and hoping to salvage something from the weekend, Adam was ready to fight through the pack.
Unfortunately, disaster lay ahead once again!
The replacement radiator pack struggled to keep temperatures down, and the car was running too hot.
The temperature rise caused the power steering to trip and Adam was left to wrestle the car around the track unaided.
Despite Adam’s best efforts and him straining every sinew to keep the car on the road, the loss of power steering made it almost impossible to drive, and for safety, Adam had to pull over and retire from the race.
Visibly gutted by what had been another weekend tarnished by bad luck, Adam explained how he was feeling: “It’s just not been our weekend – again. That final race was affected by the damage in race two, really. The spare radiator pack wasn’t cooling as well as it needed and then it tripped the power steering and I just couldn’t risk not being able to turn the car, especially in the high-speed corners.
The positives are that we worked hard on set-up, learnt a few things and made steps forward, so I can take that to Thruxton in two weeks’ time, especially as we have raced there already this season and have data to measure against.
There are reasons to be buoyed by Snetterton but it is so frustrating for all of us in the team to come away with damage and little tangible to show for it. We'll fight on, though!”
Adam has now slipped to 15th in the overall Championship and sits in 10th place in the Independents Championship.
In what has been their most difficult season to date, the whole team are hoping that the final four rounds hold better fortunes.
The next round of the BTCC takes place at Thruxton in Hampshire, on the weekend of the 17-18th August.
As always you can watch all of the races live on ITV4 Sunday 18th August, with the programme start time yet to be announced. You can keep up to date with this here.
In the meantime, you can keep up to date with all the news from the BTCC here.