After a disappointing race weekend at Knockhill, where a more competitive car was not matched with better finishing positions, Swindon racer Simon Belcher is aiming for a return to the points at Rockingham this weekend.
Driveshaft failure at the beginning of qualifying triggered a much tougher raceday than expected in Scotland, however, a highly impressive top 16 showing in the earlier free practice session confirmed the significant progress made with the pace of his Toyota Avensis.
“Even though Knockhill was disappointing in the end in terms of the results, the pace we had in practice was just what we’d hoped for with the recent steps forward we’ve made with the car so hopefully we can build on that at Rockingham”, said the Swindon driver.
“We had shocking luck with the driveshaft failing at the start of qualifying last weekend, that really put us on the back foot for Sunday’s races and then we didn’t have the best of fortune there. I’m confident if things had gone our way we could have been back in the Independents points, so that’s the definite target for next weekend.”
Since taking a different direction with the set-up on his Handy Motorsport-entered Avensis earlier this month, the first year BTCC driver has been delighted with the improved handling and performance of the car. Carrying plenty of confidence into Rockingham next weekend, Belcher will be pushing hard to break back into the Independents points and the overall top 20.
“We know the package we’ve got now is better than it has been all year and although Knockhill didn’t go to plan in the end, we’re definitely confident for Rockingham”, he added, “My old mate Dave Newsham [fellow BTCC racer] had some good results in an Avensis last year at Rockingham, so we’re hopeful the car will go well there and we can kick-start a strong finish to our first season.”