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Dan Welch praises ‘unbelievable support’ during ‘horrendous’ build

Welch Motorsport Team Principal John Welch has praised the ‘unbelievable support’ of fans after his outfit was forced to build up a new car for this weekend’s British Touring Car Championship meeting at Knockhill.

After Dan Welch suffered a car-destroying shunt in the second BTCC race at Snetterton, the Hampshire-based team were forced to rapidly build up a new Proton Persona car from a spare shell in the two weeks ahead of the meeting at Knockhill.

Welch Snr praised the efforts of his team and the numerous fans and partners who helped out during the past 12-day period to build up the car.

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“It’s been horrendous – Dan’s worked every day and every night, and so have the lads,” said Welch to TouringCars.Net. “Unfortunately Dan’s a very practical guy and was determined to make it happen. It easily could have stopped our season.

“We’ve had some unbelievable support from the fans and there’s a lot of people who have very quietly come along and helped us out.”

Welch Snr believes that the recent announcement from championship promoters TOCA to introduce driving bans going forward is a step in the right direction, but he remained critical of the way in which the fine handed out to Ollie Jackson for his involvement in the accident was reduced following an appeal ahead of this weekend’s meeting.

“The damage it caused to three or four cars was ludicrous,” added Welch Snr. “I think the Clerk of the Course did put the penalties in, which was probably adequate, but to reduce the fine encourages everybody to talk and challenge the Clerk of the Course and the TOCA driving standards.

“With all of the in-car cameras it’s clear that Dan overtook Ollie without touching him. If Ollie had done a bit of Cadet Karting he would have known that if you’re on the outside you’re not going to get any space on the outside of the corner. Unfortunately, he didn’t do that.

“The real sad thing for me is that Ollie wasn’t man enough to put his hands up and say sorry. He didn’t mean it to happen, and then the team, AmD, absolutely appalled me that with all of the information which was available they still said it was Dan’s fault.”

Welch Snr also added that due to the cost of the rebuild, plans which they had to upgrade to the latest RML-specification NGTC components had to be put on hold, leaving them even further behind the competition in terms of development.

“We’re at the back and we haven’t got the biggest budget. Unfortunately, with our Evo 10 engine last year without the boost, we got so much rear damage, and this year again we’ve got so much rear damage.

“They’re not little taps and bangs, they’re corner panels, boot floors and so on. The BTCC scrutineers said it was the most structural damage they’d ever seen on any touring car.

“You have two choices in racing – you can just say ‘we haven’t got the budget; we can’t do it’. That’s easy – you lose your licence for touring cars and five years’ work down the drain. Or you have to just try and do your best.”

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