Michael Doyle declared himself a happy man at Brands Hatch
after making his debut in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at the Kent circuit.
The Clio Cup graduate went into the weekend without any pre-season testing in his BTC-spec Honda Civic Type-R, with the team only taking delivery of the engine for the car on arrival at the circuit.
It left a day of hard work on Friday before the Scot hit the track for the first time during the second free practice session, although power steering issues left him without a lap at racing speed under his belt prior to qualifying.
A spin during the session left him at the back of the grid for race one where a mid-race pit-stop meant he wasn't classified in the results, but race two saw him finish in a solid 18th place – ahead of both John George
and Alan Taylor
despite an early trip off track at Graham Hill Bend.
However, the final race of the day saw Doyle secure his best result of 15th despite suffering from a misfire and a gear issue that left him unable to change down through the gearbox, with his quickest lap still being little more than a second slower than reigning champion Fabrizio Giovanardi.
“We started at the back and could only go forward,” he said, “but we made progress in every race and hats off to the boys considering that we only had limited time to work on the car before the weekend and only had limited spares.
“Coming into the weekend, we said we'd love to get into the top 15 and if I got to within a second and a half of the quick boys, we'd be over the moon. In the third race we did that. In race two I got a good start and should have been further up but a cold tyre error meant I went off at Graham Hill. But you learn from mistakes and I'll know next time that I need to watch the cold tyres! The team is new to the BTCC
and hasn't worked on the car at all over the winter before being drafted in in the last two weeks when we realised we would be racing.
“I'll learn with every lap we do, and in the final race we had a misfire and a gear problem which meant I couldn't down the gears – plus I had no digital display on the dash so I was just listening to the engine to know what gear I had to be in. It was in at the deep end but it was good fun, and I'm looking forward to Rockingham.
“We weren't last and managed to pass a few people so we want to keep knocking the tenths off and towards the end of the season, hopefully we will be closer to the front.”Win tickets for Rockingham:Crash.net
is offering SIX lucky people the chance to win tickets to the second round of the BTCC
at Rockingham on 13 April.
One person will win hospitality with John Guest Racing, while the other five will secure tickets to see the racing action. For more details and to enter, CLICK HERE