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Alex Martin apologises for driving standards at Brands Hatch

Photo: BTCC Media
Photo: BTCC Media

In an exclusive with, Alex Martin has apologised for what he believes was sub-standard driving on his part at the series opener for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch last weekend [2nd/3rd April].

Martin, now in his second consecutive season with his Dextra Racing outfit, was handed a £500 fine following the meeting and two points on his racing licence by the stewards after an incident with BKR’s Mark Howard during the second race of the meeting.

He also crashed out of the first contest in avoidance of Hunter Abbott’s spinning Chevrolet Cruze on Cooper Straight during the opening exchanges of the race, badly damaging his Ford Focus ST and forcing him to start the second race from the pit lane.

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Martin believes this initial incident may have dented his confidence for the rest of the meeting and also thinks, on reflection, he then tried to overcompensate in his driving style for the rest of the meeting.

“I think it all went downhill from the initial crash [Race 1],” he explained.

“I took avoiding action, which I still believe was the right thing to do, but after that I don’t know whether it shook me up or whether I was trying too hard to recover the weekend and it just didn’t go right for me, from there.”

In the second race, Martin clashed with Howard heading into Graham Hill bend. After initially making contact with the Volkswagen CC while attempting to overtake, Martin then hit the car a second time in an attempt to clear his path, prompting officials to take action post-race.

“The initial part of the incident, which the officials agreed with me in that it was a racing incident – I went for an overtake and he didn’t see me, he went for the apex and there was contact.

“That’s fine, however I made the situation worse because when he was sideways on the track, I rather cheekily tried to give him another nudge to spin him right the way round to get him out of the way. Which is wrong, and dangerous, and I deserved to get the fine.”

The former Ferrari racer resolved to learn from the mistake, however, and hypothesized about how he would react differently if he could replay the scenario.

“I like to learn from every mistake and I think that I’ve learnt a lot. I think that patience is a virtue, I could have not tried to overtake Mark Howard on that corner or I could have, after we’d had that initial contact, backed off and let him sort himself out. There’s so many things I would have done differently, and will in the future.”

Martin is one of a few drivers who came under scrutiny by spectators last season after contesting a near-full campaign but failing to break into the points on a number of occasions. Martin, however, shed some light on just how difficult it is to break into that holy grail of the top fifteen on the road, and resolved to apply the lessons learnt to his future racing.

“I’m not the type of person to get downbeat, I will take the weekend at face value and use it to push even harder, and work even harder.

“It is [a constant learning curve] and I think that we had the car to be definitely in the points, maybe even the top ten. It’s the first time since I started BTCC that I’d got into position on merit. Unfortunately, both times I threw it away. One was arguably not my fault, the other was definitely my fault.”

The next three rounds of the championship will be contested at Donington Park over the weekend of 16th-17th April.

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