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Welch thrilled to be back

Dan Welch makes his return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this ‘Diamond Double’ weekend at Snetterton, and the fan-favourite is thrilled to be back.

Welch has spent a year-and-a-half out of the running in the BTCC, having completed five campaigns between 2011 and 2016 with Proton machinery before that.

For the second half of the BTCC’s 60thanniversary year, he joins Tony Gilham’s Team HARD outfit, dovetailing driving with team ownership given his involvement in Porsche Carrera Cup GB on the other side of the fence.

Typically, Welch was hands-on right from Free Practice 1 as he and the team look to develop the Volkswagen CC.

“We had a little problem in FP1 with the turbo and I was just making sure it all looked sorted and good under there and that the boys are doing their job!” said Welch.

“I don’t love getting my hands dirty but it just generally seems to happen! I can sit on both sides of the fence and I can help on the engineering and mechanical side and hopefully do a good job behind the steering wheel too!

“It’s all just come about so quickly. From the middle of the week, where I was just doing my normal job of work, turning up here with two Porsches running in Carrera Cup GB. It developed very quickly that I’d be racing this weekend and without much training, and being out of the seat for a year-and-a-half, I’ve got to do some fast learning. 

“We tested last week with the car. Tony (Gilham) has basically drafted me in to try and help develop the car and bring it forward. I’m just here giving good, honest help advice and direction as well as feedback as to what the car’s doing.

“Already, I think I’ve made a big difference. It’s the small things in terms of organisation and setup. We’ve made some big changes since last week at the test. I think it’s all heading in the right direction and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable in the car.”

The Aldershot racer is raring to go on this landmark race weekend and has already been warmly welcomed back into the fold by the series’ support.

“It’s a busy one, and with the Diamond Double and not being up to full fitness it’ll be tough but I’ve never had a problem in the past with the endurance racing I’ve done. I’m also running the Porsches in the other paddock. That ship’s running along nicely. The majority of the work is done ahead of the weekend. I’ve very much switched from that to this and I’m fully focused on this.

“As it stands, the plan is to finish off the season and the fans have been great, very welcoming – lots of handshakes and signatures. It’s great to be back.

“The first year I missed, I nearly shed a tear with the cars going out there and me not, having spent five years in it previously where it became my life. It’s one of the toughest championships in the world but it’s the place to be.”

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