- Chris Ashby
Michael Crees Battles HARD For Double Knockhill Finish
Michael Crees produced a battling performance in the latest instalment of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship this past weekend (14/15 September), claiming a pair of finishes in his first ever race meeting at Knockhill. Buoyed by the improvements made at Thruxton last time out, the Team HARD driver headed north of the border to Scotland optimistic of a strong showing – especially having got the chance to test at the Fife venue in pre-season. Following Saturday two free practice sessions, Crees went on to set a best time of 51.641s for 26th place in what proved to be an ultra-competitive qualifying session, ending up little over a second off of pole position - underlining the ongoing improvements being made. Starting hot on the heels of his Volkswagen CC stablemates, the Premier Contract Supplies, Burlington Bathrooms, Geberit UK, Hansgrohe, DPC Group and DDS Demolition sponsored driver saw his race unfortunately over before it really began. Gaining three spots on the opening lap, Crees had looked on course to break into the top 20 before becoming involved in an incident with Nicolas Hamilton on the second tour, resulting in him sustaining race-ending damage. Forced to start race two from the back of the grid, the 36-year-old found himself in an almighty scrap throughout the 24 laps as he went wheel-to-wheel with the likes of Ashley Sutton, Mark Blundell and Dan Rowbottom. Running as high as 22nd at one stage, Crees would unfortunately drop down the order to cross the line in 27th. The third and final race of the weekend proved to be a frenetic affair with Crees once again in the thick of the action. Despite his car starting to fill with smokes in the latter stages, the two-time Ginetta champion held on to bring his weekend to a close in 24th. Michael Crees: "It has been a frustrating weekend because I think we deserved a lot more than what we got. Saturday proved to be really good for us and we found some real pace in the car; unfortunately we couldn’t translate it on race day. “Being in the middle of the action puts you in the firing line and we endured our fair share of contact, which cost us from possibly challenging inside the top 20. We came here knowing that this was one of our stronger circuits, so it is tough to come away with nothing. “That being said, we learnt lots more and that will only help us as we head to Silverstone in a couple of weeks’ time. The aim there, as always, will be to see if we can get back in the points.” The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship now heads to Silverstone on September 28/29 for the penultimate event of the 2019 campaign; with Rounds 25, 26 & 27 likely to offer up more opportunities for the Merlyn Showering, SMG Croydon, MVC Events, MJ Plumbing and Imperial Render backed driver to score further points.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.