BTCC: Silverstone Vauxhall preview

Yvan Muller's two third-place podiums at Oulton Park last weekend have given him a fighting chance of taking a podium position in this year's Auto Trader British Touring Car Drivers' Championship. With the final two rounds of the Championship...

Yvan Muller's two third-place podiums at Oulton Park last weekend have given him a fighting chance of taking a podium position in this year's Auto Trader British Touring Car Drivers' Championship. With the final two rounds of the Championship at Silverstone's night races this weekend (September 16), Vauxhall Motorsport's French ace currently lies fourth in the drivers' standings, only a handful of points behind Ford's Rickard Rydell. He will however, be carrying an extra 40kg ballast for Rounds 23 and 24 as a result of his success at Oulton Park.

"It's going to be tough at Silverstone for sure," said Muller. "Not only are we racing at night, but I'll be weighed down by the extra 40kg on a circuit where you really need to have power and speed to challenge for podium positions. But, as I have said all season, anything can happen in races and you just have to make sure you are in a position to take advantage of every opportunity and be ready to pounce. I'm looking forward to it, I won the Feature Race here earlier this year and think I will be a genuine challenger."

Team-mate, Jason Plato currently lies fifth in the drivers' standings but is also looking forward to the end of season finale. The Briton took a win and second place podium at Snetterton's night races in July and with no added ballast, is hoping for a repeat performance on the 2.268 mile Silverstone circuit.

"Silverstone is a great circuit to finish the season with and I'm feeling positive about my chances," said Plato.

He continued, "I'm also confident about racing under the cover of darkness, it can catch some drivers out but having had a win at Snetterton, I expect to be up at the front of the field."

Driving the third Triple Eight Race Engineering-prepared Vauxhall Vectra is Vincent Radermecker. Radermecker showed off some of his new-found form at Oulton Park last weekend, qualifying third on the grid for the Feature Race. Although unable to convert his high grid position into a podium finish, the Belgian is in determined form declaring, "We still have Silverstone to come yet!"

This weekend will also see two of Vauxhall's drivers celebrating a milestone in their British Touring Car Championship careers as the final rounds of the season mark Jason Plato's 100th BTCC race start and Yvan Muller's 75th.

"This weekend's Feature Race will definitely be that little bit more special," commented Plato. "It's a great way to finish what has been a really exciting season and to get a podium position for my 100th would be the icing on the cake!"

The weekend's action kicks off with testing and night practice on Friday 15, September. Feature Race qualifying takes place on Saturday at 11.15am with the One-Shot session at 2pm. Saturday evening's race action commences with the 15-lap Sprint Race (Round 23) at 6.30pm and is followed by the 30-lap Feature Race (Round 24) at 10.10pm.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to meet the Vauxhall Motorsport Touring Car Team drivers during the traditional Pit Walkabout/Autograph session, which takes place on Saturday afternoon at 3.40pm.

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