British Touring lifts off to the Midlands

This weekend will see the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship visit Donington Park for rounds 7,8 & 9 in Derby, situated next to the East Midlands Airport. After six different winners from six different races its anyone's guess who will come...

This weekend will see the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship visit Donington Park for rounds 7,8 & 9 in Derby, situated next to the East Midlands Airport. After six different winners from six different races its anyone's guess who will come out on top.

One driver who hopes to break his BTCC luck will be VX Racing youngster Andrew Jordan; who has clearly shown he has the pace to be at the front although has not yet had the chance. He hopes for a change of fortune at Donington and says, "I've been over the moon with my pace and the team knows I am there. In race two at Brands I drove probably my best race to date. But otherwise I just haven't had the results to show it, which is very frustrating. It's not been the start I wanted and I'm not where I should be in the points standings, but there's no point dwelling on it, particularly as most of it has been out of my control."

Although he feels that Donington will suit the Vectra especially without any success ballast, he also has happy memories from their last year and went on to say, "Donington is where I hope it starts to turn around. It's the kind of flowing circuit that I love and my Vectra will have no success ballast -- last year in that trim it was one pole position. It was also at Donington last year that I got my first two wins in the Independents Trophy so I hope those are good signs."

Jordan's other two VX teammates hope they can become the first driver to reach the top step of the podium for the second time. Matt Neal leads the championship going into this weekend's races having taken 5 podiums out of a possible 6. He also has happy memories from the circuit where he took his first BTCC race when he became the first independent driver to win an outright race back in 1999, picking up GBP 250,000 in the process while Fabrizio Giovanardi won a race here last year and will always be a major threat.

Another driver hoping to reach the top step of the podium for the first time this year will be James Thompson; who had a podium finish in his return to the series last time out at Thruxton. After testing the Civic during the winter at Donington he thinks he might also have a good chance of winning by saying, "My gut feeling is that the Honda will go better at Donington. The car is already very good -- it just needs refining. It's very good on the brakes and also has a good engine, which is what you need at Donington. The top speeds at Donington aren't as high as at Thruxton, which hinders a car with a hatchback shape like the Civic. On top of that the chassis is also very good which makes it strong through the medium-to-high speed corners, which make up a lot of the Donington layout. We've got a very good plan in mind and I'm sure we will be in stronger shape as a team at Donington."

Airways BMW also hope to have a better weekend after a disappointing time at Thruxton with only two fifth places finishes by Rob Collard to show for their efforts. Jonny Adam hopes to have a better weekend after having a win taken away from him at Brands and then failing to score a single point from Thruxton said, "I'm raring to go to Donington and do well so I can put the last round behind me. I want to get back to a front-running pace and take three good results away from the weekend."

Expect challenges also from the usual suspects such as Team RAC with Colin Turkington and RML Chevrolet's Jason Plato and Mat Jackson. Despite no track time before Thruxton these three have already all taken wins. After a podium at Thruxton you can now even put in the two Clyde Valley Racing Seat's to that list with Adam Jones and Dan Eaves, who hopes to have a much better weekend than last. Maybe even add Paul O'Neill after he enjoyed a fantastic return to the series despite his terrible luck in race 3, when in second position suffered a puncture.

This weekend the BTCC will use the national circuit and is a favourite among drivers with its fast flowing corners with plenty of dips and undulations. You enter the first corner Redgate at 122mph before flowing downhill through the Craner kerbs flat out, where at the bottom you swing to the left setting yourself up for the right hander of the Old Hairpin; where there has always been plenty of incidents over the years including a nasty crash for Nigel Mansell back in 1993 during the end of season Toca Shootout. From then on it's past the famous Starkey's Bridge, through Schwantz kerb and onto the right-hander of Mcleans. This is followed by an even trickier right hander of Coppice, taken at 103mph, before heading onto the Dunlop straight under the bridge, where the cars will reach their top speed on the circuit at 133mph, before braking heavily down to 54mph for the tight chicane of Goddards; another place where you will always find plenty of action, leading back out onto the start finish straight ready to start another lap of Donington Park.

So who will become the first driver to take a double victory for the season or will we see another newcomer take to the top step of the podium for 2009? Be sure not to miss out and come back for full reviews and pictures after the event.

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Series BTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Dan Eaves , Paul O'Neill , James Thompson , Jason Plato , Matt Neal , Rob Collard , Adam Jones , Andrew Jordan , Mat Jackson , Jonathan Adam