Swindon AdvertiserMOTORSPORT: Belcher is revved up (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Swindon speedster can’t wait to make Touring Car Championship debut

Swindon Advertiser: Handy Motorsport driver Simon Belcher Handy Motorsport driver Simon Belcher

THE wait is finally over for Simon Belcher, who realises a dream this weekend when he makes his debut in the British Touring Car Championship.

Belcher’s British Touring Car career begins at Kent circuit Brands Hatch with free practice and qualifying taking place today ahead of Sunday’s big race.

It marks the end of six month’s hard work by Belcher and his Handy Motorsport crew and the Swindon speedster is excited about making his debut.

Belcher said: “The hardest thing at Brands is going to be getting clear laps in qualifying with 31 cars on the grid.

“It’s been an unbelievably busy few months, and everyone involved in the project has been working so hard, but to finally almost be there at the first round is a fantastic feeling – I can’t wait.”

Belcher, who will drive a Karcher liveried Toyota Avensis during the series, hopes his recent practice session at Donnington Park will stand him in good stead for the test around Brands.

Despite wet weather at the media day at Donnington, the two-time Masters Cup champion completed a total of 51 laps – mostly on wet-weather rubber – recording a best time of 1m15.734 seconds (94.07mph).

“It was great to see such a huge media turnout at Donington and there were also a lot of dedicated fans there in the afternoon – that’s the power of the BTCC”, said Belcher.

“After all of the media activity in the morning, more commercial commitments meant we were slightly later hitting the track in the afternoon than planned so we only got a short run on used slicks before the rain came.

“We waited for the rain to stop but it kept coming, on and off, so we decided to go out on wet tyres and showed some good pace, even lapping quicker than some of the established BTCC runners.

“It is a lottery what the weather will be like at Brands, so the laps at Donington could prove useful.”

Belcher’s first free practice session begins at 10am today with qualifying taking place at 3.40pm.

Sunday’s first round begins at 11.45am with race two scheduled for 2.20pm and the final event taking place at 5pm.

All three races will be screened live on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channels ITV4 and ITV4 HD with the addition of online streaming at the ITV website.

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