Martin Johnson admitted he was delighted to open his account in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship after picking up his maiden top ten finish at Snetterton.
The Boulevard Team Racing driver elected to go with the trusty Vauxhall Astra Coupe for his debut season in touring car competition – leaving the 46-year-old to take the fight to his rivals in the oldest car on the grid.
Despite that, Johnson produced some encouraging performances with the car through the first half of the year and looked set to take a top-ten finish in the final race of the weekend at Snetterton until his lost a place to Dave Pinkney on the final lap.
That made it look like Johnson would have to wait until Knockhill to try and open his account but when James Nash was then excluded from the results, Johnson took tenth place his first BTCC point.
“It just goes to show that if your team is well-prepared and turns out a clean, reliable car then these sorts of things can happen in the BTCC,” he told official series website btcc.net
. “It's a magnificent achievement in what is our first crack at this level. We've already had a few finishes just outside the points but now it's happened. We're like a close-knit, small family team and we just love being a part of the championship and meeting the crowds.
“I like James (Nash) and feel sad for him, but at the same time I'm very happy for everyone in our team. Now I'd like to go and double or maybe even treble my score at Knockhill!”
Johnson's result means John George
is the only 'full-season' driver still to score this season.
Liam McMillan is likely to take in only selected races while Nick Leason is unlikely to return to the series after the sale of his BMW 120d. Jason Hughes
and the KWR Sport MG ZS have yet to appear in 2009.