Tuesday, July 8 2003. Vauxhall Racing heads for Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2003 British Touring Car Championship at Croft, leading all three championships --manufacturer, team and drivers - at the halfway stage. With five wins for Yvan Muller, the Frenchman is pleased with his season so far. Local hero, James Thompson, is close behind with three wins and is intent on closing the gap this weekend. VX Racing newcomer, Paul O'Neill, has also enjoyed six trips to the podium, but has yet to reach the elusive top step.
Croft is renowned as a challenging circuit which offers plenty of overtaking action and on track excitement, and is well supported by an enthusiastic crowd. Local boy, James Thompson is looking forward to his annual trip to the circuit driving the Vauxhall Astra Coupe for VX Racing, saying, "It's back to my roots this weekend. I love coming to Yorkshire and racing in front of the home crowd, I always get great support here. Croft is a tricky, demanding circuit. It's a mix of high and low grip sections, some smooth and some bumpy, so it's not the easiest of tracks to get the setups working well. And the weather can also be a big factor in the mix with this circuit. All in all, it should be a challenging weekend. Last year I notched up a double pole, a win and a fastest lap here, so I'll be looking to repeat this success again.
Yvan Muller is looking forward to forging ahead with his championship title goals, saying, "Last year, I had a puncture when lying second with just two laps to go, so my weekend didn't get off to the best start. In the main race, I recovered to take the win. For this year, I'm looking to be competitive in both races, although with the ballast I'm carrying, it'll be tough to get out front. My biggest threats are my teammates and, as we reach the halfway stage, there is no room for complacency. I'll be working hard to keep my lead in the championship. "
VX Racing's Paul O'Neill adds, "Croft is a demanding circuit and it's quite physical for the driver, so I'm training hard and preparing for a tough weekend. I caused quite a bit of excitement last year when I made a mistake at Clervaux, resulting in a small fire and oil on the track, so this year I'm planning to keep it clean and tidy. I'm aiming for a good points paying position and want to be mixing it up at the front with my teammates. It would be good to get on the podium and that's definitely my goal."