Cammish moves into​ title contention after strong Knockhill weekend

by Vince Pettit
Dan Cammish - BTCC Knockhill

Dan Cammish collected two more podium finishes to reduce the gap to the top of the championship to eleven points after both Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan faltered at Knockhill.

After a steady start in practice, Cammish took the Honda Civic Type R around the 1.3-mile circuit in a time of 50.694 seconds to secure a front-row start alongside pole-sitter Rory Butcher while team-mate Matt Neal finished in tenth place, despite only being 0.175 seconds off of the pace of the first Halfords Yuasa Racing car.

The start of the first race of the weekend saw Cammish miss out as Andrew Jordan got the jump on him off of the grid and then lost another position to Tom Chilton, both of his rivals on soft compound tyres while he had chosen to use the medium tyre.

It wasn’t long before he was passed Chilton again, setting his sights on championship leader Colin Turkington in a race-long battle; As the chequered flag dropped Cammish took his tenth podium finish of the year with a third-place behind Butcher and Jordan, and more importantly ahead of Turkington.

Team-mate Neal was forced to retire from the opening race of the weekend after Ashley Sutton tried to pass, making contact into McIntyres corner. The damage from the collision would mean both drivers were forced to retire from the race with terminal suspension damage, leaving Neal on the back of the grid for the second race.

Dan Cammish - BTCC
Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

For the second race, Cammish switched to the soft compound tyres and managed to hold off Turkington at the start of the race, despite the advantage of the rear-wheel-drive BMW.

Six laps into the race and Cammish was on the move, passing race one winner Butcher into the hairpin, setting his sights on the rear of Jordan’s BMW. As the laps counted down, Jordan extended his lead, leaving Cammish to settle for second place and a solid points finish to add to his championship title hopes.

Team-mate Neal made steady progress through the field as he started from twenty-sixth on the grid; By the time the chequered flag had fallen, he had managed to make ten passes, narrowly missing out on a point finish.

For the third and final race of the weekend, Cammish would start from eighth place, just ahead of championship rival Jordan. It was almost all over on the first lap, as Cammish managed to avoid an accident that took Jordan out of the race. 

Following a safety car period to clear the circuit Cammish got back to the action as entered a multi-car battle, ultimately finishing the race in sixth place, maximising on the non-points finish for Jordan and tenth place for Turkington.

Neal would consolidate his weekend with a hard-fought eleventh place to help the Honda team in their championship battle.

“A very positive weekend – if you had told me we were going to come to Knockhill and cut the point deficit to our rivals by two thirds I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Cammish.

“Qualifying second with the success weight we were carrying showed the performance we had. It was the right decision to use the medium tyre in race one and taking second in race two set us up for a strong finish. And our rivals losing points was the icing on the cake. 

“Silverstone is a power circuit, and we have the performance. Hopefully, we can go there and do a good job.

Matt Neal - BTCC
Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Team-mate Neal reflected on a tough weekend, congratulating Cammish on his strong results.

“The weekend was disappointing for me but very good for Dan and the team,” said Neal. “We thought this would be the difficult track for us, so to close the points gap was positive.

“We think we can do a good job at Silverstone and Brands. And of course our rivals have two team-mates battling for the championship, we can focus on one, and that makes a big difference.”

With 120 points plus bonus points for pole positions, leading the race and fastest laps up for grabs in the last two race weekends of the season the championship battle heats up heading into Silverstone at the end of the month.

Cammish is now third in the championship, one point behind Andrew Jordan, and eleven points behind leader Turkington; Team-mate Neal lies in eighth place, ninety-four points adrift of the lead.

In the Manufacturers’ championship, Honda needs just thirty points to close the gap to BMW, while in the Teams’ championship they are currently leading by thirty-four points.

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