Michael Crees produced three solid finishes at Thruxton this past weekend (May 18/19) as he gained valuable experience around the Hampshire venue ahead of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship’s return in August.
Having never previously competed at the fastest circuit in the country, the weekend was always going to be one of education for the Team HARD. driver as he got to grips with the unique demands Thruxton requires behind the wheel of his Volkswagen CC.
Gaining speed and confidence across Saturday’s two free practice sessions, the Premier Contract Supplies-backed racer entered qualifying keen to take another step forward - and he did just that. Going a full second faster than he had done earlier in the day, the 35-year-old hustled his front-wheel-drive machine to 27th on the grid.
Kicking off race day meeting a hoard of enthusiastic fans at the pit-lane autograph session, Crees headed into the opening 16-lap encounter keen to keep his nose clean and build up his knowledge of the infamous track even more.
In what proved to be a relatively uneventful race, Crees stayed out of trouble to bring the car home in 26th place. Moving up a couple of spots during the opening few laps, he struggled with the set-up of his machine but ultimately managed to clock further invaluable mileage.
Another 26th place finish was the reward for Crees in race two as he once again enjoyed a trouble-free drive.
Having gone under the radar for a majority of the day, Crees found himself in the thick of the action in the third and final race of the weekend. Running just outside the top 20, the reigning Ginetta GT4 SuperCup Am class champion endured a high-speed moment at Goodwood.
Forced to take to the grass in avoidance of Carl Boardley and Rob Smith, who had come to blows, Crees managed to get back on-track and ultimately powered his way to 22nd at the chequered flag.
Following the third event of the season, Crees sits 23rd in the BTCC Drivers’ Championship. Elsewhere in the coveted Jack Sears Trophy, the Kent based driver sits fifth overall.
Michael Crees: "This has been a real learning weekend for me. Before the event I had never raced at Thruxton so this was always going to be about staying out of trouble and building up some knowledge of the place.
“We’ve struggled to find the sweet spot with the car but the team have done a fantastic job all weekend. I’m not quite sure how I missed Smith in that final race but I’m glad I did - the aim coming here was to bring the car home in all three races and that is what we have done.
“As always I’ve got say a huge thank you to all of my loyal sponsors that continue to support me. Also, the following from all of the BTCC fans is just amazing - I have never experienced anything like it! I’m looking forward to going to Croft and hopefully getting back inside the points again.”
The BTCC heads to Croft in North Yorkshire for Rounds 10, 11 and 12 over the weekend of June 15/16, with the Burlington Bathrooms, Geberit UK, Hansgrohe, DPC Group, DDS Demolition, Merlyn Showering, SMG Croydon, MVC Events, MJ Plumbing and Imperial Render supported driver keen to impress at a circuit he won twice at last year in the Ginetta’s.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.