New car raises top-ten BTCC hopes for ace Lea Wood

Hereford Times: (4849929) (4849929)

HEREFORD'S Lea Wood heads into the opening round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend with a brand new car and renewed optimism of top-10 placings.

The 29-year-old finished last season with the Jack Sears Trophy for the best results in one of the old-style S2000 cars.

But now, he's in with the major contenders after a sponsor provided him with a Toyota Avensis to contest this season's championship.

"It's a great new challenge and I never thought that I would be in this position," said Wood. "We are still running our own team but the sponsor, who is Oxford-based, has provided the car.

"It has taken a lot of work to make it happen and it's all coming together at the last minute.

"The car shell was used before but all of the bits are new so effectively it is a brand-new car."

Wood's driving ability has never been in question but he was never likely to be in contention at the head of the main field in his old-style Vauxhall Vectra.

But all that could now be set to change, although he acknowledges that there is still a steep learning curve ahead.

"Our main aim at Brands Hatch will be to finish the three races, get used to the car and get plenty of information on what it can do," he said.

"Our aim is to get some top 10 finishes but that is unlikely to happen straightaway.

"The factory teams like MG and Honda have been doing this for years and they know all about their cars."

Wood is travelling down to Brands Hatch today (Thursday) ready to get set up for practice and qualifying on Saturday ahead of the first race, which begins at 11.47am on Sunday.

As usual, there are 10 meetings featuring three races each with the next round coming to Donington Park on Easter weekend, April 20.

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