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Tough times for BTC at Oulton.

BTC Racing endured a tough return to the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park with Chris Stockton securing the team's only finish from the latest rounds of the campaign.

The team missed the Snetterton race weekend as the series resumed racing following the summer break before returning for Stockton's home round, with Gareth Howell returning to the second car in place of Stuart Oliver.

Qualifying saw Stockton secure the 20th quickest time with Howell down in 22nd and the former Team Halfords driver didn't last long on race day when an engine issue forced him to retire from the opening race and put him out of races two and three.

Stockton was also forced out of race one on the opening lap but was then embroiled in a frantic battle for position throughout race two with Arkas Racing driver Martyn Bell – despite the fact the passenger door on his car kept opening every time he went round a left-hand bend.

With the door still refusing to stay closed in the final race, Stockton found himself receiving the black and orange flag and was forced into retirement, although he refused to be too downbeat about the results of the weekend.

"It made me smile," he said of the incident with the door. "It was so hot that every time the door opened it gave me some cool air. As for being black-flagged because of it – well shit happens as they say.

"We've had a few things go wrong, but at the end of the day we have had an enjoyable weekend and it was a big meeting for us with potential sponsors and friends and family. We had 70 people who enjoyed the racing, the weather was good and they all enjoyed it which is what it's all about."

However, Stockton admitted that the team does have work to do to try and improve its competitiveness, with the switch to the ex-works Toledos having failed to see the squad move up the grid.

"We have a long way to go and are 1.7 seconds off the pace," he said. "We know that things have moved on and the cars were 1.2 second off the pace last year – and its at least half a second quicker this year. At the end of the day the cars are competitive enough at the moment and aren't fast enough.

"At the moment it is about competitiveness but there is a meeting with SEAT [which was due to take place on Wednesday] to see what they can do. What we have isn't up to the task at the moment, Gareth has won races and he couldn't keep up. We are carrying a lot of weight and have 20 valve engines that are old hat. We have 258hp and I was racing Belly with his 312hp all-singing, all-dancing Sodemo works-spec engine.

"That's not us being bad losers, it's the stark reality of why we are bottom of the speed traps."


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