Tough weekend for George Gamble in the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park
There was a weekend to forget for George Gamble in the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park, writes Paul Horton.
The 25-year-old’s weekend was filled with car damage and mechanical issues that saw him leave the Cheshire circuit with no points after three rounds of the series.
It was Gamble’s first time out at Oulton Park since his winning ways in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB series back in 2019, where he finished third in the Pro class.
All was not lost though as Gamble, of Epperstone, showed great pace all weekend and is still second in the Jack Sears Trophy, fourth in the Independent Trophy and 13th in the championship.
Team-mate Adam Morgan encountered a similar weekend.
It was disappointment all round for their Car Gods With Ciceley Motorsport team, who made the most of the weekend in preparing their sponsored BMW 330e M Sports to pristine condition.
Both drivers knew they had their work cut out for the weekend as Oulton Park was a demanding circuit with limited space for overtaking and one slight mistake could result in disaster.
Saturday morning’s two free practice sessions went well for both drivers.
The first session saw Morgan finish third fastest with Gamble in 13th place, but still only 0.705 seconds off fastest man on the circuit — Josh Cook in his Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R.
Less than one second separated the first 22 cars on track in the second session of free practice.
Morgan finished in seventh while Gamble was faster than his first session and only 0.011 seconds off number one slot, which was taken by Dan Rowbottom in his Honda Civic Type R.
The afternoon’s qualifying session, which was live on the ITV Hub, saw Gamble complete 19 laps of the 2.2260-mile circuit to bring the BMW back to the pits in 13th spot, getting his best time of 1 minute 26:022 seconds on lap six and topping speeds of around 116 mph on parts of the track.
Both Gamble and Morgan put in some fast laps at the beginning of the session, setting the pace for the others.
Morgan finished in fourth place.
First race of the day on Sunday would be interesting for both drivers.
Morgan was on the second row in fourth, while Gamble lined up on row seven alongside Jason Plato in his Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R.
As the lights went out Gamble dropped back to 23rd after a start that he hadn’t anticipated, while Morgan dropped one place.
Towards the end of lap three, Morgan spun and ended up facing in the wrong direction, which ended his race.
With six laps left, Gamble was into 18th and trying his hardest to pass Jason Plato, Árón Taylor-Smith and Bobby Thompson who were bunched in front, but could not make headway.
Race two saw Gamble line up on the grid on 9th row (18th) and Morgan at the back in 29th spot.
After a tough race, Gamble crossed the line still in 18th, with his team-mate two places ahead of him.
The last race of the day saw Gamble again on the grid in 18th.
A heavy first-lap shunt saw Dan Lloyd, Colin Turkington and Michael Crees taken to the medical centre and Lloyd on to hospital.
As the lights on the safety car went out Gamble shot into 12th but on lap nine Gamble’s race was over, retiring the BMW at the side of the track with mechanical issues.
Morgan finished the weekend off in eighth place.
Gamble said: “ It was a very difficult weekend filled with a lot of damage to mine and Adam’s car.
“I had to retire from race three with a mechanical failure. The team did a great job keep both cars going. I’m looking forward to getting back out at Croft in two weeks where I’m sure we will bounce back.”