GIANT-KILLING RESULT FOR DOYLE AT SILVERSTONE NATIONAL
Scotland's Michael Doyle produced one of the giant-killing acts of the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Silverstone National Circuit today, Sunday, 31st August, by racing to a career-best eighth place finish during the rain-hit third race of the weekend.
Serving up one of the drives of the season, the 21-year-old Glaswegian raced and, more importantly, overtook several top-line cars, including the brand new S2000 specification Honda Civics of Tom Chilton and Gordon Shedden -- all at the wheel of his five year old Civic Type R.
Not only was the result Michael's second overall top 10 finish of his debut season in touring cars, the points earned from eighth position means he has climbed into 16th place overall in the outright BTCC championship table.
In the Independents Trophy, the In-Tune Racing star is now in 11th place courtesy of the result which saw him take the chequered flag as the fifth highest Independents runner -- the best of his touring car career to date -- while his squad is 10th in the BTCC Teams Championship and also 10th in the Independents Team Trophy.
"Being up there banging wheels with the works drivers was incredible", said an ecstatic Michael after round 27, "I really enjoyed it and the result certainly makes up for all of the troubles we had at Knockhill during the last event. The whole team has given a fantastic account of itself this weekend, it's been absolutely brilliant."
Having had the disappointment of a non-finish during round 26 -- Michael forced into the gravel at Brooklands on lap three -- the close-knit, family-run In-Tune Racing squad worked very hard to get the car ready for the final race and from the start Michael paid the team back well, a terrific opening lap moving him from 17th on the grid into 13th position.
Into the third tour, Michael was beginning to knock on the door of the top 10 as he mastered the tricky, wet conditions. Then, on lap 10, he got ahead of the much newer Honda Civic of Chilton. As an interesting aside, the Honda Michael races this year used to be driven by Chilton and the latter took its last race victory at Silverstone back in 2005.
Moving into the top eight before the end of the lap, the Gartocharn-based driver did slip to 10th a couple of laps later but then produced the highlight of the race when he passed both Civics of Shedden and Chilton in the same move; almost unthinkable in the aging Type R.
Back into eighth place on lap 14, the Scotsman's giant-killing act continued as he pulled away from Chilton and closed down the BMW 320si of Robert Collard.
The chequered flag was shown on lap 22 and the In-Tune star crossed the line in eighth position with a best race lap just four 10ths of a second shy of that managed by race victor Mat Jackson in his ex-World Touring Car Championship winning BMW 320si.
The fact 20 of the 22 starters finished the race underlines what an outstanding drive Michael produced -- the result certainly wasn't thanks to a string of retirements, he earned every position.
Reflecting on the third race of the weekend, he said: "I had a reasonably good start and managed to stay close to the group in front which had Mike Jordan and the BMWs in there. The track got greasier and greasier so I went back to the sort of lines you use in karting and that enabled me to get the power on much earlier.
"Where I was quicker, the others were slightly slower. It was really good to be up there battling with the works Hondas which are four years newer than mine! It's been brilliant, I'm really pleased for the team as they've worked so hard -- they did wonders to get the car out there and in good enough shape to allow me to do what I did in race three."
Round 25, the first of the weekend's races, saw Michael achieve eighth place in the Independents Trophy and 15th overall after a solid drive from 18th on the grid. All in all, the penultimate event of the debut campaign for the smallest BTCC team was a success.
After an action-packed debut season in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, Michael now has his sights set on the season finale at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent three weeks from now, 20th/21st September.
In the meantime, television highlights of yesterday's Silverstone races will be screened on the UK's leading commercial channel, ITV1, at 12.25 late tomorrow night, Monday, 1st September, with further replays set to be screened on Freeview, digital satellite and cable stations ITV4 and Men & Motors -- please check listings for extra details.