SEASON OPENER KICKS-OFF AT BRANDS HATCH
Team RAC head to Brands Hatch for the first round of the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season in high spirits after a series of successful pre-season testing sessions.
Team RAC�s drivers last visit to Brands Hatch in September proved a memorable one as Colin Turkington secured the Independents title and Stephen Jelley took his first ever pole position in the BTCC after a sensational qualifying session.
In the corresponding meeting at Brands Hatch 12 months ago, Northern Irishman Turkington recorded a memorable victory after taking the chequered flag by winning race three of the day.
An excellent testing session at the Rockingham Media Day � where Colin Turkington outpaced his rivals and Stephen Jelley emerged third fastest - allowed Team RAC to experiment with the BMW320si at the final official BTCC test at Brands Hatch on Tuesday (24 March). At the Kent circuit, Jelley and Turkington were sixth and eighth fastest respectively.
Current Independents Champion Colin Turkington said: �The team has made small improvements to the car, positive improvements, but all of these improvements add up. Confidence is high in the camp. The key to a season is a good start, something we perhaps did not quite manage last year until the middle of the season.
"Team RAC has a good history in the BMW at Brands. I claimed pole two years ago while Stephen took pole last September. This year we have made improvements which we hope will work to our advantage on every track all of the time to give us the best possible chance.�
Team-mate Stephen Jelley commented: �Pre-season has gone very well and allowed us to get some quality driving hours under our belt. Everything has been really positive and I am feeling very comfortable in the car compared to this time last year.
"We have a good car which is historically quick at Brands Hatch. All the boxes appear to be ticked - now we have just got to go out on the track and show our quality."
Dick Bennetts, WSR Team Principal, said: �It�s going to be a really tough season for Team RAC, there is no doubt about that. It is Vauxhall�s third season with the Vectra while Motorbase have clearly lifted their game. However, I am confident the team can have a very successful season again."I firmly believe the Team RAC BMW�s will be fighting at the front of the grid. Stephen [Jelley] has been working hard in the close-season and had a very good race run at the Brands Hatch test while I am sure Colin [Turkington] will be out to better his overall position in the Championship."