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Martin Byford: Not scoring the only downside

AmD Milltek Racing driver Martin Byford feels that he had a strong debut weekend at Snetterton in the team’s Volkswagen Golf – and that not scoring any points was the only real downside.

Byford, from Colchester, showed encouraging pace early on Saturday when he went 12th and 10th quickest in the morning’s two practice sessions. However qualifying proved more difficult and he could only manage 19th.

In his first ever BTCC race on Sunday Byford finished a respectable 14th out of 23 cars, and therefore starting higher up the grid he was optimistc for the second race. However a broken gear linkage meant that he would retire after just 3 laps in race two. From starting near the back, Byford could manage just 16th in the final race of the day.

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“It was very hot and hectic!” said Byford, 39. “I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by. After a solid start to race day, it was a real shame that we had to retire from the second race because a finish around twelfth there would have put us in a good position on the grid for race three. However, motorsport is full of ‘ifs and buts’.

“Overall I feel we’ve made progress throughout the weekend and the car was more and more consistent as the weekend went on. We’re getting the car more to my liking and I’ve been able to build my relationship with the team. Not scoring is the only downside to the weekend but people have noticed us and seen that I can do a job on the BTCC grid and compete with the pack. I’ll learn more and get quicker at Knockhill, but it’s going to seem like a long month until we go there!”

Team Principal Shaun Hollamby added that he was disappointed that the team came away with no points but that he is confident in Byford’s ability for the rest of the season.

“We’ve shown lots of potential this weekend and to be honest, we should have come away from the weekend with some points,” added Hollamby. “We didn’t manage that, so we know there is work to do and that there are small tweaks that we can make to improve the car for Knockhill.

“Martin will also have more time in the car to get comfortable with his new surroundings but he’s made a good start this weekend and shown people that he deserves his place on the BTCC grid.

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