www.theAA.com British Touring Car Championship
Rounds 19 and 20
Oulton Park, Cheshire
25th / 26th August 2001
'Peugeot Coupe Just 0.5 Of a Second off Pole Position'
The Peugeot 406 Coupé Race Team made a positive start to Rounds 19 and 20 of www.theAA.com British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park today after Soper took fourth in qualifying for tomorrow's Feature race ahead of Vauxhall's James Thompson.
After a constructive free practice session this morning, qualifying proved Peugeot's potential after recent rounds on occasions have left the team deflated. Both Peugeot works drivers qualified ahead of Erdos (Lexus) and Blair and Harvey (Alfa Romeo) in the Sprint and the Feature races.
Beaconsfield based Steve Soper, who celebrates his 100th BTCC start tomorrow commented; "It's a bit late in the year for us to be on the pace, but it's a step in the right direction. We need to see what happens tomorrow as the Vauxhalls are generally quicker in qualifying, but I anticipate that being 0.5 off pole today will make for competitive racing tomorrow."
Cheltenham based, Peugeot 406 Coupé driver Dan Eaves did not fair so well in qualifying, the team giving Eaves a alternative specification car to Soper's to speed up the development of the 406 Coupé. Soper's specification showing to be the better route. Eaves commented; "It's frustrating as my team-mate has found time and I haven't. But its good to be ahead of the Lexus and Alfa's for both races. "
VLR Team Manager, Vic Lee who prepares the 406 Coupe's at the Peugeot Sport competitions department commented, "The positions don't really reflect the hard work and mechanical advancements that we have made to the car. Although its good to see Steve mixing with the Vauxhall's."
Motorsport Manager of Peugeot Motor Company Plc, Mick Linford commented, "Its taken a lot longer than I anticipated to be able to truly take the race to the Vauxhall's, but I am confident now, that that time has come. I expect the 406 Coupé to come into its own during the second half of the race."
<pre> Qualifying results:
Sprint: 8 Andy Priaulx GBR Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.047 4 Yvan Muller FRA Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.267 5 Jason Plato GBR Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.341 9 James Thompson GBR Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.413 44 Steve Soper GBR Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:28.559 22 Dan Eaves GBR Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:29.501 16 Tim Harvey GBR Alfa Romeo 147 1:29.766 42 Thomas Erdos BRA Lexus IS200 1:30 320 17 Mark Blair GBR Alfa Romeo 147 1:32.608
Feature: 1. 8 Andy Priaulx GBR Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.968 2. 5 Jason Plato GBR Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.395 3. 4 Yvan Muller FRA Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.439 4. 44 Steve Soper GBR Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:28.659 5. 9 James Thompson GBR Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.727 6. 22 Dan Eaves GBR Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:29.262 7. 16 Tim Harvey GBR Alfa Romeo 147 1:29.733 8. 42 Thomas Erdos BRA Lexus IS200 1:30.341 9.17 Mark Blair GBR Alfa Romeo 147 1:32.149
Oulton Park Schedule:
Sunday Races: BTCC Sprint race 12.55 (15 laps) with the Feature race at 16.05 (30 laps)
Pit walk-about and autograph signing (only Sunday) which allows the general public into the pits to meet their favoured drivers for 45 minutes begins at 11.00am.
TOCA radio 1602MW will be live throughout the weekend at Oulton Park and to surrounding villages. You can also catch up with the action from Oulton Park on BBC Grandstand the weekend following. (Check local press for details).