BTCC title race arrives at Silverstone
Vauxhall's Yvan Muller is the driver the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship field must beat at Silverstone this weekend, 7th/8th June, if he is to be prevented from adding to his already sizeable points lead. Synchro Honda Racing's James Kaye and Edenbridge Racing's Michael Bentwood, meanwhile, know they have their work cut out if they are to stay ahead in the BTCC's Hilton Independents Trophy and Production class.
One of the biggest crowds outside British Formula One Grand Prix weekend is expected at Silverstone to watch the BTCC stars do battle around the Northamptonshire venue's International circuit.
French ace Muller arrives at Silverstone with a 20-point lead over Vauxhall team-mates James Thompson, the reigning champion. Muller's Astra Coupe will be handicapped with maximum success ballast, although this did not stop him winning both races at Thruxton a fortnight ago. This weekend, he could make it five wins in a row.
Vauxhall's chief rivals, Honda and MG, have shown they have the pace to win races, but know they must deliver the goods at Silverstone if they are to prevent the Luton marque building an unassailable lead in the drivers, manufacturers and teams' championships.
Kaye, in his Synchro Honda Civic Type-R, took over the lead of the Hilton Independents Trophy for privateer teams at Thruxton. Just 13 points cover Kay, GA Motorsports' Gavin Pyper and previous leader Rob Collard at the top of the Independents table. Collard has spent the past fortnight working round the clock rebuilding his Astra after it was wrecked in a heavy crash at Thruxton.
Michael Bentwood still leads the Production class in Edenbridge's BMW 320i, but at Thruxton was powerless to prevent Peugeot 307 driver Tom Boardman taking his and Team Varta's first victories. Bentwood's closest rival, however, remains Luke Hines in Barwell Motorsport's Honda Civic Type-R.
Silverstone's Green Flag BTCC action begins on Saturday with two 40-minute practice sessions at 09.35 and 12.00 ahead of timed qualifying from 15.20-15.40. Sunday's two races, both 25 laps, are scheduled to start at 12.00 and 16.20.
For all the latest Green Flag MSA British Touring Car news, results and images, visit the official championship website www.tocatour.co.uk