Michael Doyle was able to make progress up the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship Independents' points standings on the back of a solid weekend of racing at Oulton Park.

Although the BTCC rookie was unable to achieve his aim of taking the chequered flag in all three races, solid results in the first and final races of the weekend at the Cheshire venue saw him climb up to 13th in the Independents' standings, while his small InTune Racing team jumped ahead of BTC Racing in the Independents' teams title race.

After two difficult practice sessions as the Scot worked to get the best from his Honda Civic Type-R, Doyle qualified in 18th place on the grid - marking his best qualifying performance of the season to date.

The opening race saw Doyle take the flag in 16th place, although there was disappointment in race two when he was forced into retirement after a spin into the barriers exiting Old Hall on lap two damaged a wheel hub.

The final race saw the youngster battling with the likes of Jason Plato and Tom Onslow-Cole after an incident on the opening lap mixed up the field before he brought his car to the flag in 13th place, setting a quickest lap just a second behind race winner Gordon Shedden in the process.

"I'm so used to doing two races in a weekend that I think that is the way it's meant to stay!" he joked afterwards. "The weekend went reasonably well as I wasn't too confident heading to Oulton as I was told it wasn't a great track for the car.

"Testing didn't start too great as we were off the pace in practice but I put in a semi-decent lap in qualifying that put me 18th on the grid. That's my best qualifying so far but I was still disappointed as I could have gone quicker. Race one, I was a bit disappointed to only make up two positions but that is better than nothing and then in race two, I made a miscalculation under braking into turn one on the second lap and went into the wall. It did a bit of damage to the left rear but the car felt reasonable so I kept going, but when I realised I didn't have to turn right to take some of the corners, I decided it was time to pit. As it turned out, the left rear hub had almost broken off.

"We started from 16th for the final race and there was the incident on the opening lap. I was hoping to get some points but it wasn't to be. I had a good battle with Plato and Onslow-cole and to battle with them is good, and to lap only a second off the new style Civic is also a great achievement for the team considering the resources that we have; hats off to them for even getting me out for race three.

"We've moved up in the Independents' points and the team has also moved up so while I'm downbeat about qualifying, the weekend has been a great achievement for the team."

Doyle now heads to his home event of the season at Knockhill, although he admitted that the circuit isn't one he knows a great deal.

"It's probably the track I have had the least amount of time on," he said. "In terms of experience, I would call my home track somewhere like Brands Hatch or Donington as I have done a lot of laps there whereas I have only raced at Knockhill twice in the Clios - and that was over two years ago. I have done some instructing but that isn't the pace you'd do in a race car.

"It will be difficult as we are still new to the series and are learning about the car, but we don't have the resources to go out and test. Being Knockhill it will probably rain but we have been strong in the wet so that won't be a problem for us. I have a lot of friends and family who have wished us well and it will be good to have the support there."



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