Croft: Circuit preview

CROFT TOURING CARS SET TO LIFT NORTH EAST SPORTING GLOOM The 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship reaches the halfway stage when the series makes its only visit of the year to the North East as Croft Circuit near Darlington plays hosts...

CROFT TOURING CARS SET TO LIFT NORTH EAST SPORTING GLOOM

The 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship reaches the halfway stage when the series makes its only visit of the year to the North East as Croft Circuit near Darlington plays hosts to round five of the popular series next weekend (June 13/14th).

And with two of the region's Premiership football teams being relegated in recent weeks, sporting fans in the region are in need of a timely boost which the all-action, no holds barred series will provide.

The North Yorkshire circuit never fails to draw a huge BTCC race day crowd and this year, with the championship at its most competitive and exciting for a decade, tens of thousands of fans are expected to file through the gates to see their heroes including local aces James Thompson from York and Newcastle's very own Jason Plato and Harry Vaulkhard.

Just two points separate series leader Matt Neal (VX Racing Vauxhall Vectra) from Ulsterman Colin Turkington (Team RAC BMW 320) with Italian Fabrizio Giovanardi in the second of the VX Racing Vauxhalls in third place.

Last time out at Oulton Park, Turkington took a double victory with former champion Thompson winning the day's third race so rounds 13, 14 and 15 are expected to be a feast of action for the race-starved North East fans.

Vaulkhard said: "We've not been having a good time of it lately, sports-wise, in the North East but the BTCC always brings a really big feel-good factor to the area. Croft has also had a few problems recently but the BTCC gives people a great opportunity to get behind the circuit and show their support. It's a real jewel in our crown.

"People don't even have to be mad about cars or car racing to enjoy Croft BTCC race day either. The kids get in for free and the crowds can meet the drivers in the paddock. It's a social event as much as it is a motor racing event and is a great thing for the North East to have."

Topping the bill of action are the BTCC's latest three races of 2009 but also on the schedule are races for the Elf Renault Clio Cup, Ginetta G50 Cup, Ginetta Junior Championship, Michelin Formula Renault UK and Porsche Carrera Cup GB. One star name is former World Superbike ace and British Touring Car Championship racer Aaron Slight who is a surprise entry for Porsche's supporting Carrera Cup races.

The action gets underway at 9.30am on Saturday with qualifying and then four races and racing commences at 12.00 noon on Sunday with a further ten races and adult admission costs GBP12 and GBP26 respectively with accompanied children aged 15 and under admitted FREE. Prices include access to the BTCC paddock and 'Pit Lane Walkabout' session when the public can meet the star drivers for autographs, photos and give-aways.

-credit: croftcircuit.co.uk

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , James Thompson , Aaron Slight , Jason Plato , Colin Turkington , Matt Neal , Harry Vaulkhard