Andrew Watson aiming to turn promise into points at Brands Hatch

Belfast driver has shown potential in Toyota Corolla in early stages of British Touring Car Championship

Andrew Watson (11) leads team-mate Rob Huff during the opening triple header at Donington Park last month.jpg
Andrew Watson (11) leads team-mate Rob Huff during the opening triple header at Donington Park last month (JEP)

ANDREW Watson says converting the early promise he has shown during qualifying in the British Touring Car Championship into improved race results is his number one priority at Brands Hatch this weekend.

Watson began life with his new Toyota Gazoo Racing UK team a fortnight ago at Leicestershire’s Donington Park and ended the three races in 10th, 12th, and 12th place respectively despite having to contend with brake problems and a number of set-up issues with his car.

Wet weather also threw a spanner in the works for Watson who had to revisit his race strategy having impressed in the tin-top series’ revised qualifying format; he managed to get the best from his front-wheel-drive Toyota Corolla GR Sport to reach the ‘Quick Six’ shootout and eventually bank a third row start alongside Ronan Pearson’s EXCELR8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 Fastback N.

“You never maximise everything during the first weekend of the season, but overall, Donington Park was a really promising start,” reflected Watson, who is 12th in the championship standings on 14 points – the same number as Dan Rowbottom and just two points in arrears of Josh Cook.

“We know we have a lot of opportunities to further improve performance, and we know where those opportunities are, but the important thing is we are in the mix. We have shown we can get the job done in qualifying, so next, we need to translate that single-lap speed into race results.”

Brands Hatch hosts rounds four, five and six on Sunday for the second instalment of the 10-race calendar, and Watson feels that with time to go through the data to identify the areas where he is weak and strong, he has all the tools he needs to be battling for top-three finishes moving forward.

Andrew Watson BH.jpg
Andrew Watson BH.jpg (JEP)

He is feeling especially sanguine about his prospects after watching Aiden Moffat, in the same British-built Corolla car, get the better of four-time British Touring Car champions Colin Turkington (Team BMW) and Ash Sutton (NAPA Racing) to triumph in the reverse grid contest at Donington last month.

“Aiden has proved what the Corolla is capable of over a race distance, so once we piece everything together, we’ll be aiming for podiums and wins every weekend. We are up for the fight,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the best teams inevitably come to the fore – and that is why I am absolutely confident that we will deliver trophies and great results as the season progresses. Ultimately, we are only just getting started and that is very exciting.”

The first 24-lap sprint on Sunday is scheduled to start at 11.50am, with the second and third races pencilled in for 2.30pm and 5.15pm.