Tough BTCC outing for Michael Crees with P6 Independents best
Kent racer struggles to make Knockhill impact due to power issues
Creesy hoping for improvements for Snetterton a fortnight from now
Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship racer Michael Crees encountered a more challenging outing than expected at Knockhill in Scotland over the weekend, 30th/31st July, with a struggle for power leading to a best finish of sixth in the Independents Trophy.
Carrying big hopes to his favourite track for the start of the second half of the BTCC season, Creesy made the 500-mile journey from Broadstairs up to Fife in confident mood as he aimed to mount a bid for top three Independents results and a push for the overall top 10.
Instead, the Power Maxed Racing driver had to settle for 18th quickest in qualifying, seventh in the Independents, and a best result of the weekend of sixth in class and 16th overall in race three, round 18, on Sunday afternoon.
Sustaining a luckless left-rear puncture after contact in the opening contest, round 16, Creesy had to settle for 13th in class and 26th overall following a pit visit for a fresh tyre. In round 17, the Glencar Construction, Geberit, DDS Group, PCS, Fire Control Services, CTD, Blue Rock Systems, Aquadart and BITA backed racer steered his Vauxhall Astra to seventh in the Independents and 19th overall.
Unexpected character-building weekend for Creesy at Knockhill
From the ninth row of the grid in race one, broadcast live on ITV, Creesy made fantastic progress on the first lap to slice his way through to fourth in the Independents and the outright top 15. Although edged back to fifth in class, he retained the top 15 spot into the second half of the race and a strong result looked on the cards.
On lap 15, though, contact to the left-rear of his No.777 Astra led to a puncture and a spin across the grass. Managing to make it back to the pits, a new wheel was fitted and Creesy rejoined and took the chequered flag two laps down in 26th position and 13th in the Independents.
With a big challenge ahead from row 13 in round 17, Creesy ended a messy opening lap in 23rd place before the Safety Car appeared following an incident. Racing resumed on the fourth tour and he did make some gradual progress, eventually ending the race 19th and seventh in class.
Round 18 provided the best opportunity for a better finish and that’s what Creesy achieved, but it was hard work once again. Gaining a couple of overall places on lap one, he moved up into 16th on lap four and although losing the place soon after he hit back into 16th again before mid-distance and stayed there to the finish on lap 24 – sixth in the Independents ahead of team-mate Ash Hand.
“That wasn’t the weekend I’d hoped or planned for unfortunately, it’s been another weekend of what could’ve been! We brought quite a bit of confidence into Knockhill after the strong run in the tyre test at Snetterton, but it didn’t work out how we expected at all. We just seemed to struggle with the power all weekend, we probably did the best we could to be honest in terms of the results.
“I’m happy with my overtaking again, I feel I’m driving well, but we need to work hard on the engine and especially for the Saturday so we can start nearer the front. We can’t fight on an equal footing at the moment, there is work to do to try and improve things before the next round at Snetterton in a couple of weeks. Hopefully the guys will find something and we’ll be in better shape.”
Next the BTCC heads to Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk, the venue for the recent Goodyear tyre test, a fortnight from now over the weekend 13th/14th August for rounds 19, 20 and 21.
2022 BTCC Independents Trophy Standings
9th Michael Crees, 142pts
2022 BTCC Drivers Championship
20th Michael Crees, 27pts