BTCC: Oulton Park: VX Racing preview

VX Racing Hopes For Clean Racing At Oulton Park 17 May 2004--// VX Racing heads to Oulton Park, for rounds ten, 11 and 12 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, hoping it won't have to endure the same rough and tumble racing...

VX Racing Hopes For Clean Racing At Oulton Park

17 May 2004--// VX Racing heads to Oulton Park, for rounds ten, 11 and 12 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, hoping it won't have to endure the same rough and tumble racing that scuppered the team's progress at Silverstone.

Oulton Park staged the last BTCC race weekend of the year in 2003, and VX Racing were riding high as the team headed to the Cheshire circuit, having already secured both the team and the manufacturers' titles. VX Racing's Yvan Muller led the drivers' championship ahead of his team-mate James Thompson, and with the title at stake the pressure was intense. Muller took the victory spoils that day, for his first championship laurels.

This year Oulton plays host to the fourth race weekend of the season, again both VX Racing drivers head the championship but this time Muller is trailing Thompson, in the sister Vauxhall Astra Coupe. However, this year the run-up to Oulton has been different; both drivers suffered disappointment in the last round at Silverstone when Muller failed to start the race after suffering an oil valve failure, and hostile opponents battered Thompson back into seventh position.

Despite the set backs at Silverstone Muller is philosophical, "That's just racing," says the Frenchman, "It was no one's fault, it just happened. It cost me the chance to score points but it also means I will be going to the next race without any success ballast. Oulton is an interesting circuit to drive, and it's where I won the championship so I have good memories. It is still fairly early in the season and I will be working hard to score as many points as I can."

Thompson also goes to Oulton with the advantage of racing in a lighter car, the Yorkshireman comments, "The success ballast plays a crucial role, and that added to some dubious driving from other people meant I was seventh at Silverstone. I don't mind a good clean scrap for position, but when someone tries to purposely punt you off the track it is a different matter. Hopefully there will be less clowning around at Oulton and we can get on with scoring some points. I won't be carrying any ballast so hopefully we can qualify well."

VX Racing young gun, Luke Hines, in the third Vauxhall Astra Coupe, also suffered disappointment at Silverstone, but is determined to put it behind him "I learnt a lot at Silverstone," says Hines, "I made it hard for myself by having to battle through the field but I suppose it's good experience and will ultimately make me a better driver. I'm just looking forward to getting back on track at Oulton. I came second there last year in the production class, so hopefully I can repeat that performance and finish on the podium. "

VX Racing currently tops the team, manufacturers' and drivers' championships and is looking to extend its lead at Oulton Park.

Hot Facts

* Last year at Oulton Park-- Luke Hines recorded the fastest lap in the production class with a time of 1:34.599 and an average speed of 84.71mph

* Champers for Yvan! So far this year, Yvan has finished on the podium seven times in nine races, but can he keep up his record of at least two podiums per race weekend?

* James Thompson is the only BTCC driver to win at every race weekend this year and has won the most races so far this season, with three victories

* Going to Oulton Park for the last round of the 2003 BTCC Yvan was leading James in the drivers championship by 29 points, this year as VX Racing heads to Oulton James is leading Yvan by just four points.

The VX Racing Guide to Oulton Park

"I like Oulton, it's a great circuit and very interesting to drive. It's quite hilly and there are changes in the camber so it's certainly not boring. I think Cascades is probably the best place for spectators, from there you can see everyone come down the hill.

"I think Chester is probably the best place to go out around Oulton. It's a great city and there is plenty to do."


    James Thompson, VX Racing, No.2 Vauxhall Astra Coupe

-vxr-

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Yvan Muller , James Thompson , Luke Hines