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News 2007: Motorbase at Home for Season Kick-Off

Motorbase Performance will launch its attack on the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on home soil as the season opener at Brands Hatch is just a few miles from their Kent base.

Young guns Gareth Howell and Matt Allison will line up in the team's Seat Toledo Cupras on Sunday, April 1, for Rounds 1, 2 and 3 of Britain's biggest racing championship, hoping to rubber-stamp Wrotham-based Motorbase's entry into UK motorsport's premier league.

Team Principal David Bartrum says: "We've been planning this since September last year but the planning stage is now over. It's time for us to show what we can do at the highest level.

"Gareth and Matt are two excellent drivers and we've got two great cars to work with. It's up to us as a team to make sure everything works well together. We haven't put in all the effort over the last few months just to make up the numbers."

He adds: "It's a bonus starting at our home venue as well. We've got a lot of guests and friends coming along so that'll prove an extra factor in our focus to do well."

Brands Hatch is also local to Beckenham-based Howell, 26, so it's does give him a small advantage, though not really on the track. He says: "Of all the places to have local knowledge of, Brands is probably the least helpful. Everyone knows it so well because everyone's raced there loads of times.

"I do get to sleep in my own bed though when I race at Brands and that's always an advantage. And it's always nice to have a lot of support from friends and family."

Although his last win on the on the 1.2-mile Indy circuit was not in touring cars, Howell rates his chances on the opening weekend of the 2007 BTCC as good as anybody's. He says: "The action is so frenetic on this circuit that anything can happen to anyone. You can be happily sitting there minding your own business in fourth then find yourself in the lead as the first three get tangled up.

"Even if you're not the outright quickest all weekend, you can still come away with a result. The racing is so close and the lap's so short that inevitably everyone leans on everyone else and in that scenario anything can happen."

The Brands Hatch rounds will be Allison's debut in the BTCC. The Norfolk-based driver says: "I can't wait to get going. Motorbase have given me a great opportunity and it's now up to me to prove their choice right."

Qualifying takes place on Saturday, March 31. Round 1 is scheduled to start at 11.30am on Sunday, April 1, with Round 2 due to get underway at 1.35pm and Round 3 will be off at 4.50pm. All three races are run over 24 laps. There will be live coverage on ITV (time and Freeview channel yet to be announced).