BTCC: Oulton Park: Team B&Q Jet York City Racing preview

The British Touring Car Championship returns to the scenic Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire for rounds 3&4 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship next weekend, the 20th and 21st April. Oulton Park is very similar to Brands ...

The British Touring Car Championship returns to the scenic Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire for rounds 3&4 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship next weekend, the 20th and 21st April. Oulton Park is very similar to Brands Hatch in many respects, with climbs and dips combined with an exciting mix of fast and slow speed corners, it really is a circuit that has it all.

One quite crucial difference between the two though is track width, or rather the lack of it, a factor that has played its part in previous years - especially on the start line. Many past BTCC masters have described Oulton Park as a mini Nurburgring and, just like the German circuit, it will provide a real challenge as our men Jim Edwards Jnr and John B&Q do battle with 30 others into the first corner.

"The track is tough on the brakes with two hard deceleration zones - into Island and then immediately after into the Knickerbrook Chicane. At the other end of the track you have corners such as Druids which are all about momentum and are vital for a really good lap time," explains Peter Cate.

Jim Edwards Jnr meanwhile looks forward to his second meeting for Team B&Q Jet York City Racing, "I am looking forward to Oulton as this track is one you can really get your teeth into, very challenging both technically and in terms of danger." Jim lies in 6th place in the championship standings despite finishing just one of the two races at Brands Hatch after retiring with a fuel related problem in the Feature Race.

This weekend will see the debut of our second Honda Accord, newly delivered from Synchro Motorsport. Jim Edwards Jnr will be driving the 2001-spec car at Oulton Park, whilst John Batchelor will return to the team in the 1999-spec car that Edwards ran at Brands Hatch.

John Batchelor describes his views on the upcoming race, "I really can't wait to get back behind the wheel at Oulton Park and go out and have some real fun! Jim has proved that the car is capable of running much closer to the front of the field than I have been used to with the Integras and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do with the car. I am horribly short of testing mileage -- I think I have about 3 laps of Brands Hatch under my belt -- but where better to return than my home circuit of Oulton Park ? The car has been repaired after Jim's moment at Paddock Hill in the last round, and a new suspension system has been installed -- the car is ready and I'm raring to go!"

Although the second car will mean more work for the team, it does have its advantages. With the extra track time that comes with running two cars, we should be able to improve the cars much more speedily and hopefully move them closer to the front of the grid, and up the championship table in the Teams Championship.

Our aim at Brands Hatch was to get to the finish and hopefully score some points. We achieved that in the sprint race, finishing a creditable fourth, and narrowly missed out on a repeat score in the feature race. At Oulton Park though our aims will be much higher:

Jim Edwards: "My hopes for the weekend will be for two solid results and a trip onto the podium would be a real treat, I've also got this feeling that keeping the wheels under the car wouldn't be such a bad idea either

John Batchelor: "I am terribly short of mileage in the car. Apart from a couple of laps of the Brands Hatch GP circuit, during the first test session, the last time I ran in a race car was back in October 2001, so don't expect great things from me! I will be aiming to simply bed myself in and get used to the new car and the fact the steering wheel is on the wrong side."

So the motto for Oulton has to be "Progress" and plenty of it, as the team has now blown away the cobwebs and got the early season dramas out of the way. Come along and say hello at the Team B&Q Jet York City Racing garage to see how we are getting along. <pre> Saturday 20th April

09.00 BTCC Free practice 40 mins 09.55 National Formula Ford Qualifying 30 mins 10.40 Michelin Porsche Cup Qualifying 20 mins 11.15 BTCC Free practice 40 mins 12.10 Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge Qualifying 30 mins 13.10 Lunch Break 40 mins 13.50 Formula Renault UK Qualifying 30 mins 14.35 BTCC Qualifying 43 mins 15.30 Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup Qualifying 30 mins 16.15 National Formula Ford Race 14 Laps 16.50 Michelin Porsche Cup Race 14 Laps 17.25 Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge Sprint Race 20 mins 18.00 Legends 2002 Championship Heat 1 10 mins

Sunday 21st April

10.50 Pitlane Walkabout 45 mins 12.00 Legends 2002 Championship Heat 2 10 mins 12.40 BTCC Sprint Race 15 Laps 13.25 Formula Renault UK Race 20 Laps 14.10 Michelin Porsche Cup Race 20 Laps 14.55 National Formula Ford Race 18 laps 15.40 Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup Race 14 laps 16.35 BTCC Feature Race 25 Laps 17.35 Heritage Grand Touring Car Championship Endurance Race 30 mins 18.15 Legends 2002 Championship Final 15 mins

-b&q-

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Series BTCC