BTCC rookie Simon Belcher says he and his Handy Motorsport team have made considerable progress following positive running at Oulton Park earlier this week.

The former double Clio Cup masters champion, making his BTCC debut in a Speedworks built Toyota Avensis, was finally able to gain some meaningful dry running and build confidence despite a wet start to his unofficial test.

"This was the first opportunity I've had to have some solid track time in the dry and we made really good progress," said Belcher.

"It started out wet but then did dry up mid-to-late morning, we kept brining our times down and down all day and we've certainly got more stability in the car now."

Although the 40-year old admits he and his squad won't be challenging the front-runners just yet, Belcher believes they now approach the new season in a better position.

"We're not right up there with the front-runners and we obviously don't expect to be at this stage, but, all in all, for our first proper dry run - especially with me being new to touring cars - we're in a good position.

"I don't think the times we managed at Oulton we're too shabby at all," Belcher concluded.

Belcher has now just two further days of running left at Brands Hatch and the BTCC's official pre-season test at Donington Park before the lights go out at Brands on March 30th.

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