Thruxton: Team sunshine.co.uk preview

SUNSHINE.CO.UK TARGETS STRONG START AT THRUXTON Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport will aim for a strong start to its second season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as the 2010 campaign gets underway at Thruxton...

SUNSHINE.CO.UK TARGETS STRONG START AT THRUXTON

Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport will aim for a strong start to its second season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as the 2010 campaign gets underway at Thruxton this weekend.

The opening three races of the new season will mark the home event for title sponsor sunshine.co.uk, adding extra excitement to what is already a hotly anticipated year for the team.

The corresponding race meeting last season saw fans favourite Paul O'Neill make his return to the BTCC, and the popular Widnes-racer came close to securing a dramatic victory before suffering an unfortunate puncture while battling for the lead in the final race.

Paul heads into the weekend hoping to once again fight near the front of the field, with solid points from the opening weekend being the main target.

"We've got to be confident heading to Thruxton after the way it went last year -- we just need to hope we don't have a repeat of the tyre issue we suffered in race three!" he said. "I'm sure we'll be qualifying inside the top ten and hopefully we can knock on the door of the top six.

"Three top six finishes on race day has to be the aim with at least one of those being a podium finish. It won't be easy but we can certainly do it."

New team-mate John George will be making his debut for the team in what is the closest thing to a home event for the Guernsey-based racer.

Having lapped strongly during the recent media day test, John makes the trip to Thruxton hoping to enjoy his best weekend to date at the Hampshire venue.

"I'm really looking forward to the weekend," he said. "It's only a 300 mile trip so it's the closest thing I get to a home race! At Brands Hatch last week I was able to match my previous qualifying times despite running on old tyres during the morning, and that was without doing many laps during the afternoon as I was feeling under the weather.

"That was really good news for me and I'm feeling confident that I can have my best weekend at Thruxton so far. The car suits the circuit and working with Paul has been great so far, he's been really helpful. I'm keen to see what I can do."

Leading team Tech-Speed has worked throughout the winter to improve the Honda Integra, with O'Neill and George both encouraged by the performance of the car during last week's Brands Hatch test.

After running well last season at one of the quickest circuits on the calendar, Tech-Speed boss Marvin Humphries said the team was hopeful of again battling towards the front end of the field in the season-opener.

"The boys can be proud of the work they have done on the cars over the winter; they have been busy working to improve them and the new livery has come out looking great," he said. "The competition is strong but we are taking a positive attitude into the weekend. We ran well at Thruxton last season and hopefully we will again this year. We'll be giving it our best shot."

Added incentive to impress comes from the fact that title sponsor sunshine.co.uk is based just 40 miles away from the Thruxton circuit, and managing director Chris Brown said he was excited to start the season at a venue where the Honda will be a strong package.

"We're looking forward to seeing what we can do this weekend after Paul's performance last season," he said. "Tech-Speed has worked hard on the car over the winter and Neil Brown has been working on the engines, so we are looking forward to seeing the impact that those changes have.

"It's nice to start the season with our home race and at a circuit where the car will be strong. We know it will be quick round Thruxton and we can show what we are capable of. We are starting the year at a circuit that really suits the Honda and it would be brilliant if we can pick up some top five finishes. If we can get on the podium, it would be even better!"

-source: sunshine.co.uk

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Series BTCC
Drivers John George , Chris Brown