Martyn Bell enjoyed what he called his best ever weekend in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship after helping Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport to two top ten finishes at Brands Hatch.
Bell went into the weekend in the lone sunshine.co.uk car with Paul O'Neill forced to sit out the season opener due to work commitments elsewhere.
Eager to try and impress in his first outing at the wheel of the ex-John Guest Racing Honda Integra, Bell qualified in 15th place before battling to his first overall points finish since Knockhill in 2007 with tenth in race one.
A twelfth place finish following in race two before another point was secured in race three, with Bell admitting he was delighted with a weekend which saw him on the pace throughout.
“Without doubt that was my best weekend in the BTCC,” he said. “I know I scored points with the BMW, but they were points I picked up, whereas at Brands Hatch, I raced for them. I had confidence in the car and was able to push a lot more, and the Integra really seems to suit me - even if I did make a fool of myself by going to get in the wrong side before the first practice session!
“I'm thrilled to bits with how the weekend went for myself, the team and the sponsors. I now have a car that will allow me to show what I can do and I wasn't a million miles away on the times. To be less than 20 seconds behind race winner Jason Plato in race three shows how far we've come.”
Bell added that, with Brands Hatch not being amongst his favourite circuits on the calendar, he was hopeful of more strong performances through the rest of the year – especially when O'Neill joins him in the second car.
“Brands Hatch has never been my best circuit, so hopefully there is more to come as the season goes on,” he said, “and while I was aiming for top tens this weekend, I now want to try and be getting towards the top eight. I also can't wait for Paul to join me in the second car, as he is a proven race winner and will only help to push me on. There is no reason why we can't have the two sunshine.co.uk cars battling for points.”