Mike Bushell says he is eager to try and secure a place on the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship grid following a solid debut in the series at Knockhill.

The Renault Clio Cup racer made the move into the championship for the Scottish weekend after inking a one-off deal to drive the IP Tech Race Engineering Chevrolet Cruze that debuted at Snetterton in the hands of team owner Andy Neate.

On his first outing at Knockhill, Bushell qualified 17th on the grid and then took a solid 18th in race one despite being forced to pit mid-race after a trip off track saw him collect grass in the radiator of his Chevrolet Cruze.

A 17th place finish followed in race two, with a top ten position in the pipeline in race three before contract with the Ford Focus of Aron Smith at Butchers forced him into retirement with damaged steering.

Despite the disappointment of that DNF, Bushell said he was pleased with the way the weekend had gone and would now work on trying to put together a deal to join the grid full-time next year.

"I got quicker throughout the weekend as I got more comfortable in the car and I have no doubt that we could have brought home a top ten finish in the final race had it not been for the incident with Aron," he said. "The car felt really strong and we were on the right tyres, having run the soft tyre earlier in the day while a lot of others were running it in race three.

"The team has been great this weekend and has given me a great car. It was never going to be easy given that I'd not spent much time behind the wheel before the event and I'd not been to Knockhill before, but I think I've made my mark and shown what I can do.

"Having had the chance to race in the BTCC this weekend, I know this is where I want to be in 2014. My focus now is on the final two rounds in the Clio and ending the year well, but I'll be working hard to put a deal together to make sure this isn't just a one off."

Team boss Neate was also pleased with the performance on-track and said he was now keen to get back behind the wheel of the Cruze in the next round of the year at Rockingham.

"It's been another fantastic weekend for us as a team, although it's a shame it ended as it did," he said. "Mike has done a really good job behind the wheel and has shown strong pace every time he's been on track, he just lost out a little bit when it came to working the tyres in qualifying which meant he was in the pack on race day, and that can be where you find trouble.

"Mechanically, the car has been faultless again and it is only because of another driver that we're going away from the weekend having picked up our first DNF and having failed to score our first points finish.

"While it's been good to give Mike the chance to race the car this weekend, I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel myself, and having seen how competitive we have been this weekend despite still running on base boost, I'm excited about what we can achieve when the levels are evened out a bit at Rockingham."



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