Returning under a new banner, Welch Motorsport was back to a single car and driver for the 2016 season. Dan Welch scored only a single point last season, with engine problems making for a frustrating year, so the focus was on starting the climb back to where Welch has been in the past. It would be another difficult season for Welch though, including a devastating crash that could have ruled him out of the rest of the season.
Welch got off to a great start, with two points finishes in the opening two races, despite a difficult qualifying session. Race three would be a different matter though. The Proton was left damaged when Ashley Sutton collided with Welch, but he continued, eventually finishing the race in twentieth. At Donington, Welch was at the receiving end of even more damage contact, forcing his retirement in the first two races, and a stone in the engine brought an end to race three.
Luck seemed to be turning for Welch when the team arrived at Thruxton. After fixing the problems the team had seen at Donington, Welch started the weekend with two top ten finishes. Ninth in race two earned Welch pole for the final race of the weekend. He wouldn’t stay there for long though, as he fell back through the field and eventually retired for the third time this season.
That was pretty much the theme of the season for Welch. Though the Aldershot driver took points on six occasions, the weekend was plagued with retirements, the most memorable being during the second race at Snetterton. Ollie Jackson collided with Welch, a crash which snowballed into a multi car collision. The damage to Welch’s Proton was so bad he couldn’t compete in the final race of the weekend, and actually had to set up a fundraiser to raise the money needed to get back onto the grid at Knockhill.
Luckily for Welch, the fundraiser was a success and he arrived at Knockhill with a shiny new car, taking two more points in a weekend full of race finishes.
Welch eventually finished the season twenty third in the championship with twenty three points. It’s still a while away from the results of Welch’s early BTCC career, but it’s a promising start to the recovery.
Image Credit: Caroline Rhea