If finally managing to graft his way onto the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship grid was the realisation of a dream for Jonny Adam, then the Scot now has his sights firmly set on ticking the next box on his 'to-do' list - becoming a regular race-winner.

Adam is arguably a race-winner already in the hotly-contested leading tin-top series, having stood atop the podium in the opening meeting at Brands Hatch early last month, but in what he described as a 'Felipe Massa Moment', he was subsequently deprived of victory after being adjudged to have been the guilty party in the coming-together that pitched Jason Plato into a half-spin and prompted one of the greatest saves in modern touring car history.

Though the second outing at Thruxton three weeks later was a rather more low-key affair - out-qualifying team-mate Rob Collard but going on to take a best finish of just eleventh position in race two in what he described as 'a bit of a struggle', as the driver of the sister car notched up a brace of fifth places - it has nonetheless been a quietly impressive start for the reigning double SEAT Cupra Cup UK Champion and the man who will go down in the history books as the last-ever winner of the one-make series.

"It's been 'welcome to touring cars' really!" he joked, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio. "Obviously the first weekend was up-and-down; we didn't do well in race one, and when you don't do well in race one you're always on the back foot really for the rest of the meeting. It came good in the end, though - we came through from the back of the grid to finish ninth and luckily get the grid reverse, and we did win race three on the road.

"It was a weird feeling really, because obviously I was up there [on the podium] with two of the biggest names in touring cars in Matt Neal and Jason Plato. For me to stand there with just three races under my belt in touring cars was a dream come true. It's always been a dream to get here in touring cars, and to actually at that point capture a victory was absolutely awesome.

"Unfortunately we then got a four-second penalty, so it was victory in one hand and then we got it taken away in another, but again it's just one of those things and it was still a good debut. There was contact between myself and Jason - it was purely unintentional; I didn't think about what would happen really - but we've moved on from that now and we just have to try and concentrate on the rest of the year."

It has indeed been an encouraging start to his BTCC career, with sixth place on the grid for the Brands curtain-raiser replicating the feat of Cupra Cup UK predecessor Mat Jackson two years previously - and Adam is full of praise for the role both Motorbase and Collard have played in that, as he continues to learn whilst simultaneously taking the fight to some of the finest touring car drivers the world has to offer. There has also been the small matter of switching from a front-wheel drive SEAT to a rear-wheel drive BMW 320si, a different beast altogether...

"That has taken a while to get used to really," the 24-year-old confessed, "and I am learning the car a little bit more every weekend. Pre-season testing was quite limited really - we only got two or three days in the car - and it does take a while to get used to rear-wheel drive from front-wheel drive, especially with five years of front-wheel drive behind me in the SEATs and Clios.

"Rob has been helping me a lot, and it's good to have somebody like him as a team-mate, because he's getting results and it's good to have his experience in the background. He had last year with the car and so did the team, so they can relate back to certain issues or problems they had then.

"The team themselves came on a lot last year - you could see that in the results - and really we've started this year quite strongly and can hopefully make good headway with the car now. Rob himself obviously has been in touring cars quite a long time, and our de-briefs are quite open, so it's good for me to try and take as much knowledge from him and try to put that into the car and my performances as well.

"It's going well; I'm learning the car as I go really and it is a learning process this year, but hopefully we can gather good pace throughout the year and bag podiums and get a real win on the road sometime soon. I think we're not far away really. Obviously we've got some circuits that kind of suit the Vauxhall and don't suit the BMW, but generally the BMW did come on strong in the later part of last year, through Mat Jackson, Team RAC and Motorbase.

"The Vauxhall is definitely the benchmark, and they've got three superb drivers in their cars, but we just have to keep doing what we're doing really with the car to try and make good headway and close the gap down. Obviously they've had a good start to the year with Fabrizio [Giovanardi] and Matt [Neal], but it would be lovely throughout the year from a personal point-of-view to try and get right up at the sharp end and challenge for race wins."

The top step of the rostrum assuredly will beckon again, but for now Adam lies a solid ninth in the drivers' title chase, and is bidding to build on that at Donington Park this weekend. Looking further ahead, the Kirkcaldy-born ace admitted that Vauxhall's withdrawal will leave a void in the championship in 2010 - but he is confident that the calibre of the remaining teams and drivers will more than make up for the loss of one of the BTCC's true stalwarts over the decades.

Acknowledging that times are hard amidst a global recession, few understand the difficulties faced by young racing drivers struggling to get a break better than Adam, who had to endure five years of toiling away in the lower categories in Clios and Cupras before finally receiving his chance - and much of the credit for that, he points out, must go to former BTCC Champion Tim Harvey and the British Racing Drivers' Club's Superstars initiative, of which he has been a member for the past two years.

"I think the way things are going with money in the world, it was going to happen sometime really," he mused of Vauxhall's exit, "but I think touring cars are in a good place right now. We've got a good, quality grid this year with four former British Touring Car Champions out there. It's bad in a way because Vauxhall was the last remaining manufacturer and now obviously they've pulled out for 2010, but we've still got some good cars out there and good teams and good drivers. With the TV coverage that's on offer, hopefully next year we can improve the grid even more.

"I owe a great deal to Tim Harvey and the Superstars programme, because it was way back in October when I first tested for Motorbase. That was all done through the Superstars scheme - Tim organised the test and he was there to mentor me over the two days, and from there we tried to get something together for this year and it came true. Obviously we've lured a good title sponsor with Airwaves and we're with a very good team in Motorbase, and that all came through the BRDC and the Superstars scheme.

"The BTCC is something I've always tried to break into; I've waited four or five years to do so, and finally the BRDC Superstars scheme has given me that break. Hopefully now we can try and up the game slightly more. We've got a slogan to try and follow really with Airwaves and that's 'Kick up a Gear', so that's what we're going to try and do for the rest of the year."



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