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Q&A: Matt Allison – EXCLUSIVE

26 March 2007

After clinching the British GT GTC title at the first attempt last season, Matt Allison will take his career back down the touring car route in 2007 as he makes his debut in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Allison will partner Gareth Howell at Motorbase Performance during the coming year and Crash.net Radio spoke to him to see how much he was looking forward to joining the series in his ex-works SEAT Toledo…

Q:
Matt, you must be pleased to be coming into the BTCC for the 2007 season…

Matt Allison:
It's incredible to be honest with you. It is the top class in the country and for any driver who wants to make a career out of it, they are only kidding themselves in the other classes. For me, the BTCC is the top class by a mile and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

Q:
From the Clio Cup you went to GTs with Trackspeed last year and quite a few people, when they go down the GT route, tend to stick to it. So how did you end up coming to the BTCC with Motorbase?

Matt Allison:
At the end of 2005 we did want to do touring cars, but because of the regulations there weren't as many cars around as S2000 was happening now. We looked at it but the budgets were huge with limited seats, and rather than do a third season of Clio Cup, we took the decision to go to GTs and make a bit of a sidestep as I didn't want to become part of the furniture in the Clios. We didn't go there to do it forever, it is something I would love to go back to and do Le Mans and Sebring, but for now, this is the career path I have chosen to take. In terms of the strength of the series, this is a superb platform for sponsors. It is never easy, but this is the easiest to sell to a sponsor.

Q:
You've got one of the plum seats away from the 'established' outfits. Motorbase have shown they are a strong team and have good cars for 2007 so you have really fallen on your feet here.

Matt Allison:
For sure. A lot of that is down to our involvement with Tim Harvey, who has been around touring cars now for 20 years and has been a very strong part of this deal. He is certainly a very good person to have involved and it is thanks to him and my sponsor in the Money Centre in it all coming together. It was a bit shaky for a few weeks and there were a lot of drivers in line for the drive, but I'm glad that David Bartrum has gone for the younger drivers.

Q:
What have been your impressions of the Toledo?

Matt Allison:
It's still early days but I like the car very much, it is a serious bit of kit. Whereas before, I have driven cars that are more like converted road cars, this feels like a proper race car. I am very inexperienced in terms of touring car driving so I have to learn as much as I can and hopefully go as quickly as possible, as early as possible.

Q:
Gareth has given his aims for the season ahead and said how Motorbase and the SEAT can run right at the front, so what would be your aims and expectations?

Matt Allison:
I've always said, in the first year of any championship, that a top six finish would be fantastic. Obviously that would be super-fantastic but I think top six to top eight would be great. I want to have some podiums and have some luck in a few races and get some good results, but it is as important to learn as much as possible because I don't want to be here for just one season. I don't want to be a one season wonder, I want to do a good job and impress the teams and keep hold of the sponsors. When we get to Brands, if I have three top ten finishes then I'll be happy.


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