Nick Leason finally made it onto the grid in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship towards the end of the 2006 season, although the main talking point was when the wheels came off his wagon at Silverstone on Finals Day.

With two race weekends under his belt, the NJL with Daniels driver will be looking to make the most of his BTC-spec Astra Coupe into the 2007 campaign as he aims to run at the front of the group of drivers running the older specification machinery.

Crash.net spoke to Nick to look to the year ahead...

Q:
Nick, you came into the BTCC towards the end of 2006 for the meetings at Brands Hatch and Silverstone. Unfortunately the wheels came off the wagon, literally, at Silverstone but how would you sum up those two weekends?

Nick Leason:
Yeah it was good. To be fair, we look back at it and know we had a few problems. We have now sorted that out and I was very pleased to be out there. I believe it was the right decision to go out last year, learn the ropes and get some mileage in the car ready for this year.

Q:
Things didn't quite go to plan, but how beneficial was it for the team to spend two weekend at a BTCC event rather than just go testing?

Nick Leason:
I think it was good for myself and also good for the team. It was a new team and they were learning about the car and there are certain things that we have gone away with and know we can improve on and develop.

Q:
The 2006 season wasn't the busiest for you in terms of on-track activities, how quickly were you able to settle into the Astra?

Nick Leason:
Very well, I was very pleased with the Astra. It was very comfortable to drive and I think this year it will be good. We will go out there to enjoy it and hopefully shock a few people.

Q:
Into 2007, is the plan to continue with this car?

Nick Leason:
Yeah it is at the moment. We have a new sponsor coming onboard and will make an announcement next week so things might change but practicality wise, it think we'll stick with the Astra.

Q:
Of course, with that car you have a proven package compared to some teams with new S2000 machinery who might encounter problems at the start of the year. What do you think you are capable of with the older BTC spec car?

Nick Leason:
I think we have to get out there at the beginning of the season and see. The reliability of the car is good and when it is going well it is very reliable. At the start of the season, we need to get out there and get some points on the board.

Q:
There will almost be a championship within a championship for the older cars. Within that little group, what would be your aims?

Nick Leason:
Obviously to win [laughs]! That's always the aim. I know the other teams that are out there but we are quite confident that we can do well within them.

Q:
Season kicks off at Brands Hatch on April Fools Day. What have you got lined up before then testing wise?

Nick Leason:
We are going to go out and do some testing as we want to get the car right. We did have a few niggling problems that we want to make sure are put right and we want to be ready for the media day and the first round of the season.

Q:
Looking at the calendar, how excited are you at the prospect of racing the Astra at somewhere like Rockingham?

Nick Leason:
I'm very pleased with that as I used to instruct at Rockingham and I like the circuit, it is a very technical and tricky circuit. For me that's great, although obviously I'm disappointed that we aren't going to Silverstone as it's a local track to me. Then again, so is Rockingham so it will still be good to get the home fans in.