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Tony Hughes secures maiden BTCC point

Tony Hughes experienced an up and down weekend at Brands Hatch in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis, but left celebrating his maiden points finish in the third race.

For Hughes, the weekend started off on the back foot as a gearbox issue meant that he was unable to get out on track during the first free practice session. He made it out for the second session and he completed fifty eight laps in the second practice and qualifying.

He ended up twenty first on the grid after qualifying, having left it late to post his fastest time of the session and it left the Stockport based businessman despondent: “It’s just turned out to be one of those days. We got off on the wrong foot missing out on Free Practice 1 and I just never seemed to get on it all day. I’m frustrated as we’ve gone quicker here in testing”.

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Raceday brought the crowds to Brands Hatch and the first race of the season saw the deployment of the safety car after one racing lap as Hughes team-mate at Speedworks Motorsport, Adam Morgan, was in the Paddock Hill gravel trap.

At the end of the opening encounter, Hughes finished sixteenth overall and the only Toyota finisher after rival Toyota team, Dynojet saw Frank Wrathall retire.

“The car is handling really well, and I now feel like I can keep up with the quicker guys in the corners” commented Hughes “I just don’t understand where all the power has gone. Swindon Engines, after finding a fault with the new engine, have said they’ll exchange it for another new one before Donington”.

Race two of the day saw Hughes line up as the only Toyota driver on the grid and he replicated his race one result, before going one better in the final race of the day.

Having seen the first attempt to run the third race red flagged after Mat Jackson dropped oil on the run to Druids, and seven cars were left in the gravel trap – one of which was Hughes.

Having been recovered from the gravel, he recovered to the pits and was able to take the restart. His efforts were rewarded with a fifteenth place finish and his first Championship point.

“Chuffed to come away with a point” Tony summed up, “after the way the weekend started I think we deserve it”.

Next up for Hughes is a trip to Donington Park over the 14/15 April, for rounds four, five and six of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship.

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