BTCC: Snetterton: Vauxhall Motorsport preview

Astras aim to make light work of Snetterton. Vauxhall's Astra Coupé drivers will be leaving their night vision goggles at home this weekend for what will be the first full weekend since 1998 of British Touring Car Championship action at...

Astras aim to make light work of Snetterton.

Vauxhall's Astra Coupé drivers will be leaving their night vision goggles at home this weekend for what will be the first full weekend since 1998 of British Touring Car Championship action at Norfolk's Snetterton circuit, held under the auspices of the sun. In previous years, although practice, qualifying and the first sprint race have been held in daylight, the main feature race has always been a star-studded affair with car lights blazing and decals glowing. What won't be missing though for Rounds 13 &14 this weekend are the fireworks - on track that is.

Vauxhall Astra Coupé drivers James Thompson, Yvan Muller and Matt Neal may well be on the same side when it comes to battling for manufacturer points but the drivers' championship is another thing altogether and currently, any one of the three could take the coveted prize. Only four race weekends remain of the 20-round series and whilst Vauxhall Motorsport's Thompson heads the standings with 118 points, Egg Sport Astra Coupé driver, Neal, is just one race win away and he in turn has French ace, Muller, breathing down his neck - spectators can expect fireworks a plenty!

One thing is for sure, unless you were driving a Triple Eight Race Engineering prepared 2.0-litre BTCC Astra Coupé this season, you wouldn't even get a look in.

However, daylight isn't the only factor under consideration this weekend. Thompson has every intention of capitalising on his unfortunate non-finish at Croft commenting that, "It is a matter of utilising the fact that I'll be running light in qualifying. With no success ballast I hope to be running at the front of the field and taking as many points as possible from the first race. A good haul of points will be the key for me this weekend as the championship is by no means done and dusted and it's always much better to be leading rather than chasing."

Playing cat and mouse however, is something Vauxhall Motorsport's Muller is beginning to get used to having had his share of both good and bad luck this season. Said Muller who will be carrying the maximum 42kgs of success ballast for Snetterton's qualifying and Sprint race; "Whilst I wouldn't wish bad luck on my rivals, I am beginning to think that the only way to win this championship is by having all the good luck." This is something the Egg Sport drivers, Paul O'Neill and the superstitious Neal would probably agree with after their troublesome weekend at Croft.

Touring car action at Snetterton commences with BTC Touring car free practices on the morning of Saturday, 27 July whilst qualifying takes place that same afternoon at 3.10pm. Sunday's events kick off with Pitlane Walkabout at 11.00am with the 15-lap Sprint Race getting under way at 12.05pm. The 25-lap main Feature Race starts at 4.25pm. Granada Sport's coverage will be shown the following Saturday afternoon on ITV1.

-vm-

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Yvan Muller , Paul O'Neill , James Thompson , Matt Neal