Will Bratt said that his debut in the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park was “a bit frustrating”, but that he enjoyed the experience.
The 2009 Euroseries 3000 champion and FIA Formula Two race winner received a late call-up from Rob Austin Racing to drive one of their Audi A4s at the Cheshire circuit, and scored a pair of points finishes.
Bratt had looked competitive from the off, mastering wet conditions to post the 11th and 12th fastest times in the two practice sessions respectively on Saturday.
Qualifying saw him record a disappointing 18th place on the grid, but a snapped front roll-bar had hampered his pace. The team discovered that the issue had possibly cost him at least a second.
“I was a bit relieved after qualy as I thought the result was down to me, I had wheel spin on corner exits and the car felt really strange,” said Bratt.
In Sunday's first race the 24-year-old from Banbury stayed out of trouble, moving up to tenth by the start of the last lap and then benefiting when Nick Foster and Adam Morgan clashed to finish his first touring car race in an impressive eighth place.
“This is such a different thing for me, it's like getting a football player to go and play rugby,” he said. “I didn't want to get wiped out at the first corner in the first race so I took it steady to begin with, especially as I'd only had eight laps in the dry before then, and just built-up from there.”
Bratt was running eighth and part of a four-car battle for fifth in race two when he was forced to retire after just three laps. He clipped the tyre stack at Hislops, breaking his steering and sending him straight on into the gravel trap.
“I thought I needed to be a bit tighter to the tyres,” Bratt said. “Unfortunately I miss-judged it slightly and it broke a clevis.”
This forced him to start the third and final encounter from 21st on the grid, and contact with Morgan's Toyota at Cascades dropped him to the back after a good start. He worked his way up the order through the rest of the race to finish 11th, despite more contact from Morgan at the hairpin which fortunately only caused cosmetic damage.
“It's annoying as a few unlucky things put us back over the weekend, it's all a bit frustrating as I really feel we could have had a podium out of our first weekend in the BTCC if things had gone our way,” he said.
“First we had the roll-bar go in qualifying, then I caught the tyre stack in race two and I was hit twice in race three. It's been a good experience though, something very different but good fun and it'll be great to do it again.”