Excellent weekend at Thruxton for Michael Crees with three top races
Career best BTCC qualifying sets scene for great run in Rds22/23/24
Eighth, ninth and eighth again on return to Hampshire speedbowl
Creesy takes runner-up spot in Independents Trophy in each outing
Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship racer Michael Crees enjoyed, by far, his strongest and most competitive outing yet in the UK’s premier motor racing category at super-fast Thruxton over the weekend, 27th/28th August, with a hat-trick of terrific results for Carstore Power Maxed Racing.
Showcasing what might be possible on the BTCC’s return to the Hampshire track for the second time this season with a highly competitive run in the second free practice on Saturday, ‘Creesy’ well and truly delivered in qualifying with a career-best seventh fastest – third in the Independents Trophy.
Racing to eighth position in round 22, he finished ninth in round 23 and then took eighth again in round 24. In all three encounters, the Broadstairs driver secured second place in the Independents and in the middle contest he was just 0.3 seconds shy of the class win.
Providing a major boost after what has largely been a challenging first season back in the BTCC with a variety of car issues and on-track incidents hampering his charge, this weekend Creesy’s No.777 Vauxhall Astra performed well and more to his liking, and he certainly made the most of it.
Best yet but more to come as Creesy’s confidence grows at Thruxton
Producing a best lap time of 1m16.038 seconds (111.54mph) in qualifying to claim a lofty seventh on the overall grid, third in the Independents class, Creesy was only 0.4 seconds shy of the second row of the grid to confirm the competitiveness.
Making a good start to round 23 on Sunday morning, the Glencar Construction, Geberit, DDS Group, PCS, Fire Control Services, CTD, Blue Rock Systems, Aquadart and BITA backed sportsman soon moved up into the top six on lap one as well as second in the Independents after threading his way through at the complex as a couple of cars made contact.
Racing well and maintaining a strong pace, on lap five he was shuffled back a couple of overall places but still held second in class. Pressuring the Honda Civic of Daniel Rowbottom later on, Creesy was just 0.3 seconds behind his rival at the flag on lap 16.
From the fourth row of the grid in round 23, he unfortunately slipped to 10th place and a few laps later was elbowed down another position before making a solid fightback. By lap eight Creesy was up into ninth and as the race wore on he started to threaten Independents leader Josh Cook. With nothing between them over the last few laps, Creesy eventually finished ninth and second in class.
For the weekend’s final race, round 24, Creesy lined-up in third position on the partially reversed grid and aimed to challenge hard for his maiden outright BTCC podium. Frustratingly unable to get away cleanly from the line, his Astra bogging down somewhat, he slipped to fifth before the cars reached the first corner, Allard, and was seventh as the field exited the complex.
Dropping to ninth before the end of the first lap, third in the Independents, Creesy was determined to recover some ground and duly did so. Moving up into eighth and second in class on lap eight, a great late battle with championship contender Tom Ingram raged and the Astra driver was just 0.2 seconds shy of the Hyundai at the flag on lap 14.
“It’s been a solid weekend, obviously the best weekend I've had in touring cars with three top 10 finishes a best result of eighth again and three second places in the Independents which is good. I’m gutted I didn’t convert the last race into my first podium, we had a great chance starting third and our pace was really strong – definitely good enough to run in the top three.
“We bled the clutch before I went out, did the normal procedure but it just didn't get off the line. I did well to hold my own there, found my pace and raced well which was good. The car has been a lot better this weekend, we had to dial through some problems on Friday and Saturday but we've had an all-round good weekend. Roll on Silverstone, hopefully we'll be looking as good there!”
Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the penultimate event of the BTCC season, rounds 25, 26 and 27, four weeks from now on 24th/25th September.
2022 BTCC Independents Trophy Standings
9th Michael Crees, 210pts
2022 BTCC Drivers Championship
20th Michael Crees, 50pts