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Robb Holland targeting front of the field

American racer Robb Holland says that he is targeting the front of the British Touring Car Championship field after unveiling Rotek Racing’s brand new Audi S3 at Donington Park on Tuesday.

Holland made his BTCC début at Snetterton in 2012 with Team HARD, going on to compete with the team at Knockhill and again the following year at Snetterton. With the 46-year-old having canned his efforts to compete in the World Touring Car Championship, Holland admtis he is now fully focussed on becoming a BTCC front-runner.

“Honestly right now this is our focus and we’ve only got one real main focus,” said Holland to TouringCars.Net. “The WTCC was an interest for a while but I just don’t think that dynamic works anymore with the direction the series is going in.

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“For us right now the BTCC is the best platform to be in. The NGTC platform is one of the best out there and it’s proven by the fact there’s 31 cars on the grid and you’ve got seven champions showing up. Overall I think this is the right place for us to be, so I think it’s all worked out well.”

Holland’s new Audi, built by Rotek in collaboration with bamboo-engineering, was officially unveiled at the media day, with the team not taking to the track during the afternoon test session. Holland explained that the team are still aiming to get a couple of pre-season tests in before the season starts at Brands Hatch next weekend.

“The car really just got built up pretty much a couple of days ago so we’re walking through all of our pre-run checks just to make sure everything’s good with the car,” added Holland. “When we’re done we’ll go out and run. We’ll run this week – we’re hopefully going to run at Silverstone tomorrow and then Rockingham on Thursday but it all depends on making sure everything’s good with the car and it’s ready to go.

“We made the decision early on in the process to make sure that things were done right so it doesn’t make sense now that we’ve got the car done to throw it all out of the window and just run for whatever. We’ll get it done right and we’ll be out when we’re ready.”

Holland admitted that the change in regulations in the WTCC and the increased costs associated with factory teams had led his Rotek Racing team to look elsewhere.

“You want to go and have a chance to be competitive overall but when you’ve got the factories there [in WTCC] it doesn’t really happen,” admitted Holland. “Here we can develop the car and have a chance to run at the front of the field. It’s more driver based. Obviously right now if you look at the number of champions in BTCC versus the number of champions in WTCC, arguably you’ve got an equally quality field in BTCC right now so what’s the point of going to WTCC?”

Holland and the team are aware of the big challenge ahead of them and are planning to use the first half of the season to continue to develop the car under a free homologation from TOCA. Holland is thus optimistic for the second half of the season, where he will have more experience of the tracks.

“We’ve got to develop the car and then the the other big thing is that I’ve got to learn the tracks – this is my first full year in the series and I’ve got more than half the tracks I don’t even know,” added Holland. “For us this is going to be a development year but we’re always going to be pushing for the front of the field. This isn’t just running around to make up the numbers – we’re serious about our development, we’re serious about the car and I’m serious about my driving and doing my best to try and run at the front.

“We’ve got a free homologation through to Snetterton so we’ve got the ability to develop the car the way we need to. If we’ve got a good development program and the car responds well to that then hopefully in the last half of the season when I’m comfortable in the car and comfortable with the tracks we can push a bit harder and maybe trouble the guys at the front.”

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