BTCC: Mondello Park: Vauxhall Motorsport preview

Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) Rounds 9&10 - Mondello Park, Ireland - June 22/23, 2002 The Mondello maestro returns. Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller returns to Ireland's Mondello Park next weekend, June 22/23, for the...

Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC)
Rounds 9&10 - Mondello Park, Ireland - June 22/23, 2002

The Mondello maestro returns.

Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller returns to Ireland's Mondello Park next weekend, June 22/23, for the first time since his all conquering visit of 2001 which saw the French ace take not only the victor's laurels for both Sprint and Feature races of the British Touring Car Championship's visit to the 2.25-mile circuit, but also a stunning double pole and points for fastest lap in both events.

It's a tough act to repeat but after a disappointing outing at Silverstone two weeks ago, Muller is focussed on making the most of his permitted -24kgs weight reduction. And if he can repeat the feat there is no doubt that a maximum points haul would be a considerable boost to his points tally which currently sees him lying in overall third place in the drivers' standings.

"Going to Mondello with low ballast should mean that qualifying will go in my favour. Mondello is a quick circuit though so we'll see what happens," he commented earlier this week after his Astra Coupé topped the times at the final TOCA Test this season at Donington Park.

Team mate and current Drivers' Championship leader, James Thompson, is also looking forward to the challenge of this notoriously demanding and bumpy circuit - a circuit at which he took second and third place podium positions last year. Declaring it a genuine drivers circuit, the Yorkshireman acknowledges that carrying the maximum ballast of 42kgs due to his success at the last round at Silverstone, will be of hindrance.

"It's a real shame I'll be carrying the ballast for qualifying and the Sprint race at Mondello but I'll just have to get on with it. Yvan will be difficult to beat but I've got to try to win as many races as possible."

The Egg Sport Astra Coupé drivers meanwhile will also be looking for some Irish luck to help them capitalise on their championship standings. Matt Neal currently lies second overall whilst his team mate, Paul O'Neill, took a good points haul at Silverstone to push him up the ranks to joint fifth place.

As the BTCC camp heads across the water for its annual trip to Ireland for Rounds 9&10, the Manufacturers' Championship sees Vauxhall heading the standings on 200 points to MG's 119, Honda's 84 and Proton's 70. The Teams' competition meanwhile sees Vauxhall Motorsport on 75 points, 20 ahead of the Egg Sport Team.

Touring car action at Mondello commences with BTC Touring car free practices on the morning of Saturday, 22 June whilst qualifying takes place that same afternoon at 2.15pm. Sunday's events kick off with Pitlane Walkabout at 11.00am with the 15-lap Sprint Race getting under way at 12.15pm. The 25-lap main Feature Race starts at 3.30pm. Granada Sport's coverage will be shown the following Saturday afternoon on ITV1.

-vm-

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Yvan Muller , Paul O'Neill , James Thompson