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Robb Holland pleased despite ‘slow start’

Rotek Racing’s Robb Holland says that he is pleased with his team’s début British Touring Car Championship performance at Brands Hatch, despite experiencing a “slow start” and taking three non-points finishes.

American Holland finished 24th, 22nd and 20th respectively in the day’s three races, having only two weeks prior officially unveiled the new car at the pre-season media day. With limited testing mileage under his belt, Holland said he was pleased with his and the team’s progress.

“It was a slow start, but it’s nice that I’ve moved up in the field,” said Holland. “The car was actually very good after the team made some changes to the setup overnight and I ran my fastest lap time of the weekend in Round 1.

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“The setup wasn’t quite right in free practice and qualifying but we have a solid base on which to build upon and the adjustments that were made before the opening race gave me a stronger front end, which significantly improved the car.

“We used the soft tyre in the first race and they fell straight off a cliff after the first five laps. I initially thought I’d be able to catch the back of the field but the grip fell away. Nevertheless, I had a good tussle with Aiden Moffat for a while.”

Holland added that after initially struggling for single lap pace in qualifying, where he ended 28th, subsequent changes made by the team after the first race of the day gave him the pace to fight amongst established machinery.

“The team made some suspension changes in the hope that they would work,” added Holland. “It’s always difficult to know what effect they’ll have, but you have to try something and we certainly went in the right direction. I had plenty of grip and ran at a very consistent pace. The problem is that it took a lot to displace Belcher and I lost contact with the main pack. Obviously we’re hoping for much more as the year progresses.”

By taking 20th in the final race of the day Holland ended the weekend with his target result and in the process enjoyed a typical BTCC battle with a former double champion.

“We did what we set out to achieve by finishing in the top 20,” admitted Holland. “Round 3 was pretty robust and Fabrizio Giovanardi gave me a big punt up the back, but it’s all good. He was a bit quicker at the time and it’s nice to cap off the weekend with a small scuffle.

“I was determined to make everybody work for their money and the scrapes tested the durability of the Audi S3. She’s a tough girl! It’s also useful to know how she reacts when you’re in direct combat, because you need the confidence to place the car wherever you want and I have to say she’s a very race-able car.

“We need to get in and do a few test days between the next few rounds so we can start making changes. The Rotek engineers now have a grip on what I want and need and where the weaknesses lie. We need a full day to work on that.”

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