Simon Belcher enjoyed a highly productive first run with his Toyota Avensis, despite a wet and blustery Silverstone doing its best to interfere with preparations for his maiden season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Appearing on track for the first time since officially unveiling his Karcher-liveried car at the Autosport International Show in early January, Belcher worked on a variety of set-up changes throughout the day. Although he wasn't able to get the benefit of some desired dry running at the wheel of his Speedworks Motorsport-built Handy Motorsport Toyota, he was still pleased to complete in the region of 200 kilometres.

"It was a full day of wet testing and it went well, we made some good progress," the BTCC rookie said, "The changes we applied to the car made it better and better, even though the conditions were getting worse the times weren't dropping off. We just need some dry testing now!

"We did another 200 kilometres in the car and it was good to be back working with the Speedworks guys again. We were also able to share data with Tom Ingram who was out testing for the first time - with two people out there trying different things it means you can push forward at twice the speed."

With no further activity for a couple of weeks, Belcher's next pre-season test will come at Oulton Park in early March, before additional visits to Brands Hatch and Donington Park. The latter outing is set to coincide with the BTCC Media Day and officially timed test on 18 March.

"It'll be all systems go the next time we're out at the start of March - everything ramps up then as we get towards the first round," the double Renault UK Clio Cup 'Masters Cup' champion confirmed, "Both runs we've had at Silverstone so far have been positive, but getting plenty of mileage in at Oulton Park, Brands and Donington is going to be really important before the start of the season."



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