Current leading touring car team, VX Racing, heads to Oulton Park for the final race weekend of the season, and the climax of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship. Having already claimed the manufacturers' title for Vauxhall, the three drivers are locked in a battle for the drivers' championship.
VX Racing's Yvan Muller currently tops the drivers' championship in his Vauxhall Astra coupe with 210 points. Close behind and still in with a chance on 181 points, team mate and current BTCC champion James Thompson, is looking to retain the crown. It would be a tough feat for the Yorkshire man to accomplish at this late stage, but is still possible. Paul O'Neill is battling with Honda's Matt Neal for third place; both drivers are currently on 132 points. With 35 points on offer this weekend, it could go right to the last lap. VX Racing will be looking to complete the drivers' championship one, two, three, to add to the manufacturers' and team titles. Although still yet to be decided, the drivers' title will certainly be going to one of the VX Racing drivers, it's now just a matter of which one.
Local, Liverpool-based VX Racing driver, O'Neill, claimed his maiden touring car victory in 2002 in front of an army of friends and family at Oulton Park, so the venue is particularly special for the young driver. With regular stints as one of the team of track instructors at this Cheshire circuit, O'Neill is familiar with the sweeping corners and long, fast straights and will be looking to use his local knowledge to stay ahead of the competition. O'Neill will be hoping to repeat his performance this year, in his bid to secure vital championship points.
The three VX Racing drivers preview the Oulton Park weekend:
"There are 35 points available at Oulton and I am 29 points ahead at the moment, so it is still not enough. I need six points and then it will be OK. I'm just going to try and do the same as always -- score points. Oulton is usually a bit better for me than Donington, I like the circuit, so hopefully I can be lucky. Last year I was first and then tenth in the second race after some problems. We will just have to wait and see what happens this year; only time will tell."
"I'm not going to make it easy for Yvan, he is close but I'm going to make him work for it. There is still a chance that I could do it, so I'll be fighting all the way. If I look at it selfishly I need Yvan to have a disastrous race, but that wouldn't be very good for Yvan or the team. He made it very hard for me last year and I intend to do the same for him."
"Oulton Park is close to where I live so I've got loads of people there to support me, which is great. I just hope I can hang on to third place in the championship and give them something to cheer about. Matt (Neal) is giving me a good fight, but I love driving at Oulton, and it was where I had my first win, so I'm looking to bring home some more points."