"Hollywood" Holland Getting To Grips With BTCC
The only American entrant in the form of Rotek Racing's Robb "Hollywood" Holland is continuing his ongoing learning curve in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, as the team ventured with the paddock to Oulton Park. The team had to miss out of competing in Thruxton due to extensive damage to the Audi S3 NGTC during the round at Donington Park.
Having spoken to the Colorado native early this year at the Autosport International Show, it was to be a pretty mammoth task to hear how hard the team was working to get a car that was at that point not even released to the British public in Audi showrooms at that point.
Fast forward to right now, and the efforts are finally being rewarded with the progress that this front-wheel drive vehicle is making in a welcome uniform category. There have been struggles along the way, but Holland is getting on with the task and hand, and the Audi was not on the pace during the tricky conditions during qualifying, ending up 27th.
But the races were a different matter all together, as the VLN veteran made up several places from the minute the lights went out for race 1, as the track was dry and gave the drivers some welcome running. He climbed three places before the end of the first lap and kept in touch with Pirtek Racing's Martin Depper and managed to make his way up to 22nd overall after the chequered flag was waved.
Holland was also on the move in race two and made it count at the lower end of the grid, again with his efforts bearing fruit, resulting in another five overtakes and an intense battle with BTCC former champion, Airwaves Racing's Fabrizio Giovanardi.
The man that is a Nürburgring veteran thanks to his exploits in varied conditions, took to the track like a duck to water as the heavens made their presence felt for the final race of the afternoon. A heavy downpour meant that all and sundry were left with no other option but to switch to the Dunlop wet tyres.
Holland was quite literally on the move, as he was able to take advantage of those that were clearly struggling with the adverse conditions. In many ways, his experience at the famed Nordschleife came into its own, and was on the way to a potential top ten finish.
However, after gaining ten positions, the American was to end up with an unwelcome retirement in the last race, due to an incident that resulted in damage to the rear of his Audi, causing him to go off track and sustain further repairs to the car in the latter stages in the race.
Nevertheless, Holland was positive about the progress that has been made ahead of the yearly trek to Croft in a few weeks' time: "It's been an up and down day. We were looking to make progress in terms of set-up changes we were making throughout the day and started race one with a car that wasn't quite on the pace, but we were expecting that."
He explained that the changes made really brought the best out of the car, as he clocked up faster laps during the second race: "We were substantially quicker and were lapping within the one-minute forty-fours, so I was looking forward to taking that to the third and final race."
But as the heavens opened, the team's plans thrown "out the window," as Holland took his chances through the final race, until the incident behind the Safety Car: "Race three was a case of survival, which we did really well on the first few opening laps. We had moved up ten places in the opening lap and I was really happy with that, but unfortunately after the safety car, someone locked up behind me and shunted my rear."
He is hopeful of testing ahead of the race weekend at Croft, as the team will get the car back to 100 percent ahead of another test which will prove to be useful ahead and help with further inroads into more competitive outings through the season. The hard work continues at Rotek as they strive for better results, with a willing driver looking to get up with the very best in the BTCC.