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Recovered Mike Bushell ready for BTCC bow

AmD Tuning’s Mike Bushell has declared himself to be “100% fit” after a serious bout of pre-season illness, ahead of his British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) début at Brands Hatch this weekend.

Reigning Clio Cup UK Champion Bushell was hospitalised for a week during the off-season as a result of a serious illness, meaning he missed out on valuable pre-season testing.

Nevertheless the 25-year-old has already had the opportunity to test the team’s Ford Focus ST at a number of circuits, including Brands Hatch, and has declared himself fully fit for action this weekend.

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“I’m really excited about the start of the season and am looking forward to the serious action getting underway this weekend,” said Bushell. “It hasn’t been an easy run-up to the start of the season as being ill really knocked me for six, but I’ve gradually improved and head for Brands Hatch feeling 100% fit again.

“I’ve already tested the car at Brands Hatch and it was a very positive session that has given us a good base set-up to take into the weekend. I know I lack the experience of a lot of the guys who I am up against and I have to be realistic, but I feel confident in myself and in the team that we can have a good start to the year.

“Three finishes is important to build my experience, and three points finishes is the target I’m setting myself for the opening rounds. There’s no reason why we can’t achieve it.”

Team Principal Shaun Hollamby says that Bushell has met all of the team’s pre-season expectations despite the delay due to his illness.

“Our pre-season testing programme didn’t quite go to plan as a result of Mike’s illness, but we’re happy with the work we have been able to do,” said Hollamby. “It’s already clear to see that he is a quick driver because of his success in the Clio Cup, and now he just needs to gain more experience at this level.

“He’s done everything that we expected so far and the first aim this weekend has to be to score points in each of the three races. With the pace Mike has shown so far, it’s a target that is certainly achievable and hopefully we can push up towards the top ten.”

With Dave Newsham in 2014, the team took the Jack Sears’ Trophy as a result of making up the most pplaces from their starting grid position. In 2015 the rules have changed, but AmD Tuning remain eligible as the trophy is now to be awarded to the top rookie driver.

“It would also be good if we could make a successful start to our defence of the Jack Sears Trophy, which is one of the main aims for this year,” added Hollamby. “Unlike last season, we will be able to see exactly what our rivals are doing compared to us and it would be good if Mike can come out of the opening rounds as ‘top rookie’ in the championship standings.”

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