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Richard Hawken ‘euphoric’ after first BTCC run

Richard Hawken was delighted after making his first appearance in a British Touring Car Championship session in first practice at Donington Park.

The Support Our Paras Racing driver was forced to miss the season-opening event at Brands Hatch after his team were unable to prepare their second Infiniti Q50 in time.

But there was no disappointment for the 43 year-old in this morning’s first practice as he completed nine laps during the 40-minute session, and he admitted that his first run in the car would had been a memorable one.

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“It was great,” Hawken told TouringCars.Net. “When I left the pitlane I suddenly had this great pressure release, and a euphoric feeling from working with the Paras and it all started to sink in a little bit.

“For a new team and a new direction it’s fabulous and there was a great sense of having arrived.”

The session did throw up some problems for the team, however, with both Hawken and his team-mate Derek Palmer Jr experiencing power steering issues.

A similar problem had appeared on Palmer’s car at the Brands Hatch season-opener, but Hawken remained confident that the team would be able to fix the car for the remainder of the weekend.

“Whether it’s a continuation or whether it’s new, I don’t know, I haven’t had a chance to speak to the engineers.

“The issue is affecting both cars at the moment – the thing is with steering is that when it does something you don’t expect mid-corner it knocks your confidence a little bit and you need to be able to go through a corner knowing what the car is going to do on the exit and with the steering doing what it does you don’t know what it’s going to do on the exit.

“We’re the Paras team and we’ll get it fixed no problem at all.”

But despite the delight of his first run, Hawken remained grounded about his expectations of the weekend.

“If we get the power steering issues sorted we’ll start nicking chunks out of the time,” he said. “I’d love a top 20 but we’ve got to be realistic. [It’s our] first time out in the car, we’re bedding things in, we’re getting set-ups changed.

“I want three good finishes; good can mean anything. I’d like a top 20 finish but let’s try and be practical and bring the car home safe, that’s the most important thing.”

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