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STRONG START FOR BTC RACING AT OFFICIAL TEST

Brackley team BTC Racing enjoyed a strong and productive day of running at Silverstone National Circuit during last week’s Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship Season Launch (22 April).

Marking the first, and only, officially timed outing of the pre-season ahead of the BTCC curtain-raiser in just under two weeks’ time, the team’s headline performance came from Michael Crees in the #777 Honda Civic Type R, with the 37-year-old setting the third-fastest time in the combined timesheets.

Team-mate Josh Cook ended the test 11th overall, only 0.3 seconds adrift of Crees, while Jade Edwards was 19th on combined times during her first official outing in the PHSC with BTC Racing machine.

Crees was rapid all day in the Northamptonshire sunshine, ending the three-hour morning run as the fastest of the BTC trio, fifth overall and fourth of the Independents’ Trophy competitors. In the afternoon, he sliced 0.3 seconds off his previous best to lap, heading the timesheets into the final half hour.

Multiple BTCC race-winner Cook, who spent the day chasing set-up, was eighth overall in the morning, before setting a marginally faster lap during the second session to go tenth-quickest.

Edwards, the sole female racer in the BTCC and first to contest a full season since 2007, was an impressive 12th in session one as she set her fastest lap of the day. During the afternoon, as she continued to rack up the miles and get to grips with the Honda, the 31-year-old was ultimately unable to beat her lap from the first session and settled for 22nd on the timesheets.

“It doesn’t matter what anyone says down the grid, to finish on top at Season Launch – everyone is trying to do that,” said Crees. “So, to end the day top three is fantastic. We put one set of new tyres on in the afternoon and that’s the time we did. I set a fast enough lap time to have been on pole here last year, so now I’m looking forward to Thruxton to see what we can really do. There’s more to come!”

“We didn’t get a clean run at all really, we went in the wrong direction a bit out of the box in the morning and it took the momentum out of the day,” admitted Cook. “It wasn’t the most efficient of days for us, but sometimes it goes that way. It’s not just about what’s on the stopwatch though, it’s also about what you learn. We’ve got another test coming up at Snetterton so, hopefully, that will be better.

“Overall it was a very positive day,” reflected Edwards. “We tried a lot of different things in the afternoon and made a lot of changes so the optimum lap time wasn’t what we were going for. We left Silverstone very happy campers! Top ten in the morning, and we were top ten for a good chunk of the afternoon as well, and it was only my second day in the car so I’m still learning massively every time I go out.”

“I’m very pleased by the job everyone did at Silverstone,” concluded Steve Dudman, Team Owner and Principal. “I feel it’s gone exceptionally well overall. Michael had a cracking day, Josh’s day was mixed unfortunately, but he worked hard as always, and Jade excelled really and was extremely strong all day. We’ve made a number of changes over the winter so I’m very happy with how everything has gone and feeling very confident for Thruxton.”

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