Mike Epps is hoping his career-best BTCC finish at Brands Hatch this past weekend will springboard him onto further success next year.
Bringing his second year in the series to a close, the Team HARD racer took a breakthrough top five finish having started the final race of the season from pole position.
Kicking off 2017 with a trio of top tens around the Indy layout of the Kent circuit, the 25-year-old arrived at back at Brands Hatch keen to build on his strong Silverstone showing.
Battling to P18 in race one, the Volkswagen CC driver picked his way through the field in a frenetic second encounter to take tenth. Virtue of Murray Walker picking number ten out of the bowl for the reverse grid, Epps would line up on pole for the first time in his BTCC career.
Leading off the start, Epps was powerless to prevent himself being shuffled down to fourth in the tricky conditions early on. Composing himself, the AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing ultimately went on to hold off outgoing champion Gordon Shedden to cross the line fifth.
“It’s a slightly bittersweet moment to cap off an interesting day,” Epps said. “We’ve had some good racing through the day and got ourselves into that position for race three, but ultimately we just didn’t have the pace in the car to keep it up there in podium contention which is a shame.
“It’s been an up and down day to cap off a rollercoaster season. We started the year with top ten finishes here at Brands Hatch and we’ve ended it the same way. We haven’t maximised the promise in the car at points this year, but we’ve ended it in the mix at the front which is good.
“Overall it was a positive way to end the season and I’m happy. It’s the team’s best finish of the season, so I’m glad I could give them that, and my career-best result which hopefully can serve as a springboard for me into a successful 2018.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography