On his return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Robb Holland collected a points finish for Handy Motorsport as he re-acquainted himself with familiar panel-bashing memories of the series.
The American returned to the BTCC under temperatures reaching over 24 degrees in Norfolk, picking up results of 19th and 14th in the opening two encounters on Sunday before a non-finish ended his day early in the final race.
“It’s back to the good old British weather”, quipped Holland to The Checkered Flag when discussing a sun-kissed return to the BTCC.
“It’s actually been really pleasant because, coming from the States, these conditions are really not that bad. The guys keep going ‘here’s some more water for you’ and I’m saying no it’s fine, you can keep it!”
The points finish for Handy Motorsport of 2015 in race two was a welcome one to the Toyota outfit, Holland having taken over the driving duties from budget-wary regular driver, Simon Belcher, for Snetterton and the following pair of meetings at Knockhill and Rockingham.
Holland, formerly of Team HARD and Rotek Racing in BTCC, concluded he enjoyed the comeback trail in place of Belcher, adding: “Yeah, I’m enjoying it and the crowds are awesome.
“Lots of them say they’re glad to see me back, which as a driver makes you feel really good.
“I had a good weekend. Scoring points and bringing the car home – you can’t really argue with that can you?”
Comparing the differences between the Audi S3 he piloted in 2014 to the Handy Motorsport Avensis, Holland said: “Massive. The car set-up is completely different.
“Where the Audi was strong last year, the Toyota isn’t and vice versa, so overall the Toyota is better around here because we were quicker here by about half a second almost. Everyone was still another half a second quicker so we still need to figure that out, but it was good and to be able to race competitively with those guys on a first outing back was enjoyable.”
While the change of environment brought up a new challenge for the American, one thing that Holland was no stranger to was a return to the panel-bashing BTCC nature.
On a frenetic trio of races down the pack, he added: “Race two was absolutely nuts. It was more about staying out of trouble more than anything. We survived that and an engine problem that cut our power drastically..
“It’s a baptism of fire for me being out of it and then suddenly you come back and think ‘oh yeah I remember it was like this’.”