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News 2006: New Car Shows BTCC Future's Bright for Motorbase Performance

Tom FerrierThe debut of the Motorbase Performance SEAT Cupra Toledo in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on Sunday couldn't have gone much better.

The team, which is expanding its BTCC operation next season to run three ex-works Toledos, decided to enter one of its new machines into the final races at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, to see how the SEAT fared prior to a full attack on the 2007 title.

And while it can often take teams with a combination of a new car and a new driver several race meetings to start to get any results, Motorbase Performance proved the exception to the rule. For Tom Ferrier claimed two strong top-ten finishes in the BTCC's (as always) hectic season finale.

Ferrier, who last raced in the BTCC in 2001, finished 7th in Round 29 and 8th in Round 30, results that helped move the Kent-outfit up a place (to 6th) in the final Teams Championship standings. His performance also bolstered Dave Pinkney's season-long efforts in the Honda Integra by firmly cementing a final position of fourth in the Independents Teams Championship for Motorbase Performance.

Tom FerrierSaid Ferrier: "If someone had offered me two top-ten finishes before the weekend I'd have been more than happy to take them. All I'd done in the car prior to arriving at Silverstone was a systems check at Brands Hatch so I wasn't expecting to be able to get any good results.

"But it's a well-sorted car and running the Toledo will put Motorbase Performance in a very strong position next season."

His comments were highlighted by his performance in Round 30. Seventh in the earlier Round 29 gave him third spot on the grid for the final race of the day (due to the BTCC's reverse grid rule). And a phenomenal start saw Ferrier take second and challenge for the lead of the race in the early stages.

Dave PinkneyHowever he admitted he was a bit "BTCC race rusty" and got caught out a few laps into the race which dropped him down the order. A damaged clutch also hindered his progress so in theory he could have been set for an even higher finish.

Dave Pinkney, meanwhile, endured a difficult weekend in the Integra – despite the team pinking his ride even further with the addition of specially-created pink wheels for the final race of the year.

He finished just outside the top ten in the last two races – and while that's not where he wanted to be, they were respectable enough results considering 26 cars took to the grid.

Dave PinkneyHe said: "I lost sixth gear in the qualifying session and with Silverstone having two long straights where you are in top gear for a long time that was basically that. I was amazed I qualified ahead of anybody, let alone 18 th."

In the first race of the day Pinkney fought his way up into the top ten until a driveshaft housing came loose which sent vibrations to his wheels causing handling problems. The team then had a race against time to fix it for the second race.

While they did manage to get him out there, he missed the time permitted to form up on the grid so was forced to join the pack at the back on the warm up lap. Therefore from 26 th at the start to 11th at the end is no mean feat.

And the highlight of the third race, where he finished 12th, was the pink wheels. "They kept it secret from me all day. They were totally unbelievable but it was a really nice touch from the team."