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Andrew Watson: The ‘car came alive’ for début top ten qualifying

Andrew Watson, like any débutant, was trying to keep expectations realistic at his first British Touring Car Championship event. However, after pulling out a driver-of-the-day performance to qualify his CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra in the top ten, Watson could be forgiven for changing his mentality already.

“We were on the edge of the top ten from the start really, from the first run and I knew that, you know, everyone was going to find some time on the second and third run,” said Watson to TouringCars.Net.

“So our second run was a bit scrappy. I was under a bit of pressure then. But we put the last set [of tyres] on and the team nailed the pressures. The car came alive and found a couple of tenths and put a nice lap together.

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“Everything past eighth was a bonus for me. I didn’t get it right in the top ten shootout. Made a couple of mistakes and missed the peak of the tyre but that’s fine. We’re happy.

“The car’s in good shape. We’re in the mix tomorrow. So I’m just looking forward to the whole experience; the whole, the fans, the racing, you know, I’m really looking forward to everything tomorrow.”

Despite looking forward to Sundays action, Watson has his sights set on what would be a good day of racing for himself and the team.

“Holding position would be a good start. I need to concentrate on the start, getting off the line. I’m focused on the Jack Sears this weekend. So if we could pick up a Jack Sears win and an Independent win, great first steps.

“If we can have a sniff at the reverse grid, it’d be great, yeah, what a first weekend that would be. Everyone tells me touring cars is about picking up points and it’s a long season and a lot of races. So I’m focused on just collecting points now.

“The guys at the top have a pace advantage on us, so I’m not expecting miracles tomorrow. We have to do a bit of work to get there. So you have to be realistic, but it’s racing, you don’t know what’s going to happen. So we’re going to try and let it come to us.”

Even though it was an impressive performance from Watson, it was not something that the whole team were not quietly hoping for after the car had been performing well all weekend.

“From when the car rolled out this morning, the team did such a good job of prepping it. We were in a really good window and the tweaks that we were making were really tiny. Everyone at M Sport and Cosworth, everything was working well.

“That took a lot of pressure off us because the changes we were making were tiny. So we knew we were in the window and if we could put it together, we’d be in with a shout. So we did that and we just stuck in. So it all went according to plan. Hopefully tomorrow goes just as well. That’s a different ballgame.”

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