Michael Crees Continues BTCC Learning Curve At Scorching Oulton Park
Michael Crees brought the curtain down on the first half of his maiden Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season at Oulton Park this past weekend (June 29/30) by producing a trio of battling performances. Arriving at the Cheshire venue coming off the back of a bruising three races at Croft two weeks previously, the Burlington Bathrooms and Premier Contract Supplies backed driver was keen to get back in the mix for points at the wheel of his Team HARD Volkswagen CC. Following Saturday’s two free practice sessions, qualifying around the 2.23 mile circuit proved to be as ultra-competitive as ever in the glorious Cheshire sunshine; with Crees setting a best time of 1:27.757 to secure P27 on the grid for race one. Lining up on the penultimate row of the grid, the Kent racer found himself in the thick of the action as he went wheel-to-wheel with Rob Smith, Sam Osborne, Mark Blundell and Matt Simpson amongst others for a majority of the opening encounter. Trading places as the race progressed, Crees ultimately took the chequered flag in 27th in his Geberit UK, Hansgrohe, DPC Group, DDS Demolition, Merlyn Showering, SMG Croydon, MVC Events, MJ Plumbing and Imperial Render supported machine. Making some minor changes to the car between races, Crees enjoyed a stronger showing in the second encounter as he once again duked it out with a host of rivals just outside of the top 20, taking the chequered flag in 24th. Running the soft tyre for the third and final race, the reigning Ginetta GT4 SuperCup AM champion capped off his weekend with another gritty performance to take a best finish of the Oulton Park spectacular of 22nd. Michael Crees: "It has been a tough weekend and I’m glad to get it done. I expected to perform a little better than I did but we are still really learning what it takes to get the best out of myself and the car. “Little changes make a big difference to the car and that is something that we need to get on top of. The more seat time I get the more progress we are going to make. I’m loving everything about the BTCC though; meeting the fans, speaking to the media - it’s all part of the experience. “Looking back on the first half of the season it has been a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of results but I’m loving every second. To score points on my debut was a dream come true and the aim is to add to that tally throughout the rest of year; it’s something that I’m confident we can achieve.” The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will return to action at Snetterton on August 3/4 for Rounds 16, 17 and 18.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.