Arena Motorsport's new Ford Focus has hit the track for the first time ahead of the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

After a brief shakedown session at Silverstone, the team headed to Snetterton where Tom Chilton was able to put the first meaningful miles on the car, which has gone from the drawing board to the track in the space of just three months after Arena revealed it was to return to the series for the new season.

The Focus will be the first Ford to race in the series for almost ten years and Chilton admitted that his initial run in the car had gone better than expected.

"Of course I'm very excited to be involved with this, but my first impressions exceeded what I had hoped for," he said. "It was only the first days running, but I can tell it's going to be a very special car. The feeling I got for certain aspects were really impressive."

Team boss Mike Earle was also pleased with the first-run for the new car, which will run in the Independents class this season as it returns to the series for the first time since 2005.

"We were in the fortunate position of being able to evaluate and choose from any make and model of car that fell within the current Super 2000 regulations and it was an easy decision to opt for the Ford Focus," he said. "It is dynamically the best donor vehicle to start with and our faith in its potential is already starting to be confirmed. Obviously it is early days in the development programme, but the feeling we've got from running today is extremely positive."

The team now plans to carry out no fewer than 14 test days before the start of the season at Brands Hatch.



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