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Alain Menu realistic ahead of TCR debut

Alain Menu has kept his expectations in check ahead of his debut in the TCR championship this weekend in Thailand.

The Swiss will drive a Subaru STi for the Top Run Motorsport team after agreeing a deal to compete in the remaining two events of the inaugural TCR season, with the forthcoming event in Buriram as well as a visit to Macau as part of the circuit’s Grand Prix event.

Speaking to TouringCars.Net, the two-time BTCC champion said his TCR deal was one he had actively pursued, having sought a return to competition on the Guia circuit.

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“I contacted Nunzia [Corvino, Marcello Lotti’s co-ordinator] because I wanted to do Macau basically,” said Menu. “I said is there any chance to get a good, competitive car for Macau and then the deal with Top Run and the Subaru came up.

“It’s two races instead of one so I can kind of treat the first one as a learning exercise.

“If I’m honest, I haven’t seen much [of TCR] at all, but I’ve followed it, I know who is in there and who the guys fighting for the championship are.”

The Top Run Subaru in action

This weekend’s visit to Thailand marks just the second competitive outing for the team’s STi, with Italian Luca Rangoli debuting the car during last month’s Singaport GP race weekend.

Menu insisted that his expectations were in check given the lack of running the machine had recorded, but felt optimistic that the pair of races in Macau in November would provide him with a better opportunity to perform competitively.

“They tell me they are building a second car that we should be testing between Thailand and Macau.

“The car is new so it can’t be competitive – there is no way, I’d be very surprised. But maybe, come Macau…[it will be better].

“It’s something else, something nice to do and it’s a new adventure and it puts my name back in the frame – I still want to race.”

Having stood in for Team BMR’s Warren Scott in the BTCC finale at Brands Hatch, Menu admitted that securing a full-time return to the series was his priority.

But with most competitive seats requiring a budget to accompany them, he also felt that a season in TCR could be a suitable substitute.

“I would like to be back [in the BTCC] with Team BMR. I get on well with everyone in the team and Warren and Vicki are top people so it would be great.

“But that all depends on Warren – if he can find the budget and if he wants me.

“There are a few other very good teams but they all want money. It’s the same for Warren…so I don’t know, maybe, on paper, there is a better chance in TCR – but I’ll find that out when I’m there.

“I think it’s a good championship and Marcello Lotti wants the championship to grow so it could be a good option for the future.”

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