Progress for Michael Crees with strong pace on home soil at Brands
Season-best P4 Independents result in BTCC Rd4 for Broadstairs driver
Luckless multi-car incident in race two rules Creesy out of race three
Brands Hatch Indy Circuit local Michael Crees encountered mixed fortunes at his home track over the weekend, 14th/15th May, during the second event of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season – the highlight being a season-best top four Independents Trophy result.
Producing good pace in practice, lapping second quickest overall in the second session, and only 0.4 seconds shy of pole position in qualifying, Creesy charged through from 17th on the grid in a damp round four on Sunday to finish in the outright top 12 as well as fourth in class.
His weekend then went awry at the start of round five, which also took place in slippery conditions, when a multi-car tangle yards from the start resulted in significant damage to his No.777 Vauxhall Astra. Eventually retiring the car on lap eight, the CarStore Power Maxed Racing team discovered damage to the roll-cage which precluded the car from taking the start in round six.
Weekend turns sour for Creesy at rain-hit Brands
Making his first appearance at the track 18 months, Creesy and his race engineer made progress with the car between the two free practice sessions on Saturday. Leaping from 19th overall and eighth in the Independents in session one, he finished session two as the quickest Independents Trophy contender and a very pleasing second overall – just 0.1 seconds from the top of the times.
In qualifying later in the day, Creesy was inside the outright top 10 for the bulk of the session – which took place under glorious blue skies and in pretty warm temperatures. In the end, he had to settle for sixth in the Independents and 17th on the grid overall for race one.
Rain arrived on Sunday just ahead of round four, and Creesy opted for treaded Goodyear tyres like almost the entire grid. Putting together a stunning first lap, scything through into 13th position overall, Creesy then broke into the top 12 but mid-race slipped back a spot.
Back into the top 12 soon after, with seven laps to go he was knocking on the door of the top 10 but had to settle for 12th place at the flag on lap 24 and fourth in the Independents Trophy battle. His lap times were strong, a best of 52.729 seconds just 0.3 seconds shy of outright podium pace.
Aiming for more in round five, which was also a wet race, the Glencar Construction, Geberit, DDS Group, PCS, Fire Control Services, CTD, Blue Rock Systems, Aquadart and BITA supported driver launched well off the line but a tangle in the pack resulted in the No.777 Astra being fired off the track on the run towards Paddock Hill Bend.
Dropping to 17th position, Creesy limped on with his damaged car before pitting at the end of lap eight – retirement duly following. Although suffering from a sore neck, he was otherwise unharmed but the damage to the roll-cage meant frustration and an early bath for the Brands fan-favourite.
“I’m absolutely gutted for the weekend to have finished how it did after such a strong start, but it’s great to know the car has real pace and I can’t wait now to jump back in at Thruxton in a couple of weeks! I have to say a huge thank you to everyone for all of the amazing support I received across the weekend, it’s always fantastic racing on home ground at Brands but it truly was overwhelming to have as many guests there and to have as much support as we did.”
Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, the fastest track on the BTCC calendar, will host the championship for rounds seven, eight and nine of the season a fortnight from now, over the weekend 28th/29th May.
2022 BTCC Independents Trophy Standings
10th Michael Crees, 42pts
2022 BTCC Drivers Championship
18th Michael Crees, 7pts