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Carl Breeze believes his Alfa Romeo’s prodigious straightline speed can carry it to a home victory for Team Sureterm in one of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship’s opening three rounds at Thruxton on 11 April.
In Donington Park’s recent official BTCC test, Breeze’s European Touring Car-spec Alfa Romeo 156 was fastest through one of the speed traps. And with more updates – including a 2004-spec engine, rear suspension, transmission and braking system still to come for Thruxton – Breeze is sure the Alfa will be well-suited to the Hampshire circuit, the fastest on the BTCC calendar.
If Breeze wins, he will become the first driver to give Italian manufacturer Alfa a race victory in the BTCC since its official team won the title in 1994. It would also mark the first outright BTCC race victory for the Thruxton-based Sureterm squad.
Breeze, aged 24, told tocatour.com: “The only thing the BTCC cars, like the Astras and Hondas, can do better is brake later. At Thruxton, there are only two corners you need to brake – the Complex and the Chicane. As soon as the Alfa has braked for the Complex, I think we’ll be waving ‘bye-bye’ to a lot of people.
“We know the engine is very strong and the handling is at least the equal of the Astra I drove last year. It should be excellent around the fast twists at the back, which is where you gain a lot of time. It could be a game of cat and mouse with the BTC cars, with them closing up under braking and us getting away on the faster stuff.”
Breeze says a season and a half after switching to Touring Cars from a successful single-seater career (he was Formula Renault UK champion in 2001), he is capable of giving the BTCC’s established star names a run for their money.
“They might have more experience, but I’ve got the racecraft and know how to handle pressure. I’ve won in everything I’ve raced in before and against some serious competition,” said Breeze.
“I’m sure if I’m leading into the chicane at Thruxton on the last lap and I’ve got a Muller or a Neal trying to get past, I’ll suddenly find the Alfa can brake just that little bit later!
“I’m wearing the Alfa badge with a lot of pride and passion. Knowing it’s there on the bonnet is very exciting. ‘Quietly confident’ is perhaps the best phrase to use.”