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Dan Welch: ‘Our sole focus has been on the engine’

Welch Motorsport will continue to run their own self-developed engine in the 2015 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), with Dan Welch explaining that the team’s “sole focus has been on the engine” during the winter.

In 2014, Welch failed to score a point for the first time in his and the team’s four-year BTCC history. The small outfit were plagued with problems with their own self-built engine and, despite the issues, have opted to keep with the unit for 2015.

“Since the end of last year our soled focus has been on the engine,” said Welch to TouringCars.Net. “The problem we had last year is that we built a high-flow engine, which gives you low boost with the way the TOCA regulations work, and we just struggled and didn’t have enough power. But there was nothing we could do with it.

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“This year the sole focus has been working on the engine, which is still ongoing. Five months later we’re still on it, but it’s looking like it will all come together by the mid-to-end of next week, just before Brands Hatch.”

Welch explains that despite the issues with the engine, he was never tempted to go back to the Swindon Engines unit which he used between 2011 and 2013.

“We used the Swindon engine for two and a half years and never had a fair crack at it, it’s as simple as that. It’s nice to have control over something yourself. The Swindon engine has moved forward a long way since I last used it, but it was more so that we have something we have got more control over. You should be able to get the last ‘nth degree’ out of it. It didn’t work last year, but we’ll keep at it. We’ve got a strong team of guys on the engine side. We’ll get there.”

Having scored no points at all in 2014 – his best finish was 16th at Rockingham, having recorded just two top-20 results all year – Welch is confident of being able to challenge for points and top tens again in 2015.

“Points are a given,” said a buoyant Welch. “Last year was the worst year of racing I’ve ever had in my whole life. We want to get back to where we were the year before, where we were more consistently in the top ten, trying to battle for a podium. That’s where we need to get back to. That’s where we were and that’s how far we’ve fallen with the engine. There’s nothing stopping us getting back there if the engine goes down the straight the same as everyone else, it’s not a problem – we’ll be there.”

Welch completed no running in the media day test at Donington Park on Tuesday, and new team-mate Andy Wilmot completed just 19 laps on minimum boost with a testing engine. The team are still working to complete both of the engines for their cars ahead of the season opener in under two weeks’ time.

“I’m not going to have an engine until Brands, so it’s going to be a bit of a ‘suck it and see’ at Brands, but we can get going after that,” concluded Welch. “We planned that from Thruxton onwards we should be on it.”

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