Reigning Renault UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell emerged with silverware and the Jack Sears Trophy points lead after a strong conclusion to his first weekend with AmD Tuning at Brands Hatch.
After a battling weekend at the Indy layout of the Kent circuit, the Ford driver ended the day with a visit to the podium after finishing 11th on the road overall, the best result of the weekend for any of the 2015 newcomers.
The result gives Bushell the early advantage in the Jack Sears Trophy standings, while his 2014 Clio Cup rival Josh Cook sits 14 points adrift in second overall with Stewart Lines, after finishing best rookie on the road in races one and two.
“I’m edging closer towards the pace and we’re making positive changes as we’re going along”, Bushell said to The Checkered Flag after the weekend.
The rookie was left downbeat after the opening race when he finished 21st on the road, the handling of the car improving over the day according to the man himself.
Bushell moved up to 17th on the softer compound tyre in race two, surviving an on-track scuffle with Jeff Smith‘s Eurotech Honda Civic along the way that resulted in the Ford man earning two penalty points on his race licence.
Race three however was the result that the reigning Clio Cup champion felt he was more capable of achieving, charging through the field in a frenetic race to not only finish as top rookie, but almost inside the top 10 as he crossed the line 11th overall.
“The car was a lot better in the third race”, Bushell added, elated by his race three performance.
“I got my first actual championship points which was my overall aim for the weekend.
“The car felt good; it went off a little bit towards the end of the race but to get the most points in the Jack Sears Trophy as well is a great end to the weekend.
“This is fantastic and I didn’t expect it. I’m over the moon with the podium!”
With the experience of a second race weekend in BTCC now under his belt, Donington Park’s second round of the season on 18/19 April becomes the next challenge for the AmD driver.
The Leicester venue is one that the 25-year-old is hopeful of continuing in the same vein at, adding: “In the past I’ve been quick there in other Formulas, so hopefully we can get it right this time.
“We’ve tested at Donington, yes. It didn’t really go particularly well on the day, but we did something wrong that day so we won’t be making that mistake again.”
Jack Sears Trophy Standings after Brands Hatch:
|1||Mike Bushell||AmD Tuning/Ford Focus||54|
|2||Josh Cook||Power Maxed Racing/Chevrolet Cruze||40|
|3||Stewart Lines||Houseman Racing/Toyota Avensis||40|
|4||Kieran Gallagher||Tony Gilham Racing/Toyota Avensis||36|
|5||Alex Martin||Team Parker Racing/Ford Focus||30|
|6||Derek Palmer Jr||Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing/Infiniti Q50||28|
|7||Andy Wilmot||Welch Motorsport/Proton Gen-2||0|
|8||Richard Hawken||Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing/Infiniti Q50||0|
NOTE: Andy Wilmot and Richard Hawken did not make an appearance in racing on Sunday, hence their zero points totals.