Flying the flag for Britain ...
PLACE YOUR BETS: WHO WILL WIN AT BRANDS HATCH?
With less than two days to go until Britain's round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship gets underway at Brands Hatch this weekend, it's getting harder than ever to pick a winner.
After a pre-event press conference in London earlier this week, the three top British drivers, Andy Priaulx, James Thompson and Robert Huff, are now all fully focussed on the big race.
For Priaulx, only one task remained: the launch in London of his autobiography at BMW Park Lane. The book was presented to the media alongside the BMW 320si in which he won the second of his three consecutive touring car titles.
According to the Guernseyman, who was recently awarded an MBE, his task will be tougher than ever this year. "Realistically the title is a long shot now, although I'm not giving up until it's mathematically over," explained Priaulx. "I know that to win at Brands Hatch I'm going to have to come up with something special, so that's my aim now. It's been a lot of fun to meet everyone at my book launch. As is the case with everything I do, I've put my heart and my soul into this book, so I hope people enjoy reading it."
James Thompson, who drives for Honda, is determined to go one better than the second place he managed last year, and despite some technical problems at the last race in Estoril, the Yorkshireman is well worth a punt for the win at Brands Hatch.
"A win at home is the one I'm missing, although I've come extremely close to it a few times before," he said. "That just makes me more determined than ever. The truth is that it's hard to predict how we will get on, as we missed track time at the last round. But I know the track as well as anyone, so if we get everything hooked up I'm sure we've got a chance to do very well."
The dark horse is Chevrolet's Rob Huff. The Cambridge youngster doesn't have the same experience as his colleagues, but he has already established his credentials as a race winner and would make an excellent outside bet for victory at home.
"I'm extremely motivated and Brands Hatch is a track that I love," added Huff. "When you've got your home crowd as well as friends and family cheering you on, it makes a massive difference. Brands Hatch was where I took my first big win in the British Touring Car Championship, so it's got happy memories for me and I think our car is very well suited to it."
Tickets will be on sale on the gate with adult admission on Sunday 27 July costing 30GBP while children aged 12 and under go free. Advance booking is now closed.
Grandstand seating starts at 5GBP and the raceday pit walkabout, which opens at 09:00 on Sunday, costs 12GBP.
-credit: wtcc uk