Three More BTCC Finishes for Belcher At Action-Packed Silverstone‏

Simon Belcher chalked-up three more Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race finishes during the penultimate event of 2014 at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 27th/28th September, but unfortunately missed-out on adding to his Independents Trophy points tally.Arriving at the Northamptonshire venue in confident mood, the Swindon-based driver had hoped to battle for season-best finishes but contact early on during the opening encounter on Sunday set the scene for a more challenging event than initially expected.“I had hoped our fortunes would change at Silverstone but the race one contact really set us back unfortunately”, said a somewhat frustrated Belcher, “You can’t look back though, only forward, and the next round – the championship finale – will be at my favourite track, Brands Hatch GP Circuit. I really hope we can get the car dialed-in there and end our first BTCC season on a positive note.”Making a great start to race one from 25th on the grid, Belcher moved to the inside for Copse and looked set to gain places but on the run to Becketts he was elbowed down to 29th position after contact with Hunter Abbott’s Audi.With a mountain to climb, the Toyota Avensis driver pushed hard to try and recover some lost ground but a frustrating tangle on lap three with Daniel Welch – their second scrape in as many events – led to a delay and more damage.Running a long way down on the main pack, all Belcher could do was continue to the finish and hope to pick up some places along the way which he did manage to do. Up into 26th position by two thirds distance, he moved into 25th place before the flag in his KÄRCHER-backed car.Selecting race two as the encounter in which he would take the ‘soft’ Dunlop tyres, each driver having to run the compound in one of the weekend’s three races, the Handy Motorsport competitor again got away well from the grid but ended the opening lap in 26th position.Running tight behind Chris Stockton’s Chevrolet Cruze for several laps, Belcher managed to get ahead on the sixth tour and then set about trying to close down the gap to championship returnee Luke Hines. With a couple of cars hitting trouble at mid-distance, Belcher profited to move into 23rd position and as the encounter entered its closing stages he was up into 22nd place.Unfortunately elbowed back to 25th position on lap 18, struggling with the performance of his tyres dropping off, the race was then red flagged three laps later following an awful collision involving Rob Collard and Jack Clarke which resulted in the former’s car barrel rolling several times. Officials took the race result back to the end of lap 20, meaning Belcher concluded the encounter in 24th position.Following an initial delay due to engine problems for the MG of Sam Tordoff prior to the start, the final encounter got underway with Belcher on row 12 of the grid. Racing fell under caution, though, almost immediately due to an opening lap tangle involving James Cole and Robb Holland.Triggering the deployment of the Safety Car for several laps, when the round 27 action resumed Belcher held 23rd position after being caught-up in the first lap melee and spent, what was largely an uneventful race for the first year BTCC driver, in 22nd place just 0.6 seconds behind Stockton. With a lack of mid-corner grip, Belcher was happy to bring the car home in one piece.Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent will host the final three rounds of the 2014 BTCC season a fortnight from now, over the weekend 11th/12th October.

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