Handy Motorsport stand-in Robb Holland says he is happy with his return to British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) action at Snetterton, after the American equalled his best-ever result on his return to the series.
Holland took to the wheel of the team’s Toyota Avensis for the weekend, after a deal was struck at the start of the summer for regular driver and Team Principal Simon Belcher to stand down from driving duties for three events.
The 47-year-old American was making his first race start since Silverstone in 2014, having not been able to put a deal together for the full 2015 season.
Race one saw Holland start on the soft tyres and finish 19th after a quiet run. Race two was an incident-filled affair, allowing Holland to benefit and claim a points finish with 14th – equalling his best-ever result in the championship. A failed head gasket lead to a retirement in race three and prevented Holland from building on his strong result.
Team Principal Simon Belcher praised Holland’s efforts on an increasingly competitive BTCC grid.
“It’s been a great first weekend working with Robb”, said Belcher. “He equalled his best ever result in race two, even though he’s been away from the BTCC for more than half a season, and did that in a more competitive field than last year –the top nine cars in qualifying all beat last season’s pole time so it shows how everything moves forward and improves in the BTCC.
“He got quicker and quicker with every session and from being inside the top 20 in the first race, which was a good start, getting some good points in race two was great for the team. Race three was a shame but, overall, we’re very pleased and really looking forward to Knockhill now.”
Holland was pleased with his race two result, having been involved in three-wide action at the start of the race which saw several of his rivals come off worse for wear.
“The first lap was crazy, it was literally three-wide where you’d normally have room for two cars,” explained Holland. “It was just a case of keeping your nose clean and watching the guys behind, as well as in front, to make sure nobody tried a lunge. That first couple of laps, mentally, you’re on the limit so I was pretty happy to come through that clean.
“It’s a good result. I think a P12 could have been in order but we had the engine over-heating problem, plus I got a bit hot at Coram one lap too when I was on the radio to the engineer. To come through with P14, though, I think we’ve got to be happy with that result from the first weekend.”
Holland will remain behind the wheel of the team’s Toyota at Knockhill and Rockingham.