BTCC: Silverstone: Vauxhall Motorsport preview

Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) Rounds 7&8 - Silverstone, Northamptonshire - June 1/2/3, 2002 Vauxhall drivers to fight it out. Tied at the top of the points standings, Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller and James...

Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC)
Rounds 7&8 - Silverstone, Northamptonshire - June 1/2/3, 2002

Vauxhall drivers to fight it out.

Tied at the top of the points standings, Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller and James Thompson and Egg Sport's Matt Neal are all set for their showdown this weekend as they go head-to-head for Rounds 7&8 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship. And in the world of touring cars where not even two is company, we can be sure that with three Astra Coupé drivers tied on 59 points, the Jubilee Weekend races at Silverstone are sure to see some explosive action from the Vauxhall camp.

Vauxhall Motorsport Operations Manager, Mike Nicholson is delighted to see three Vauxhall drivers on equal points but he is also expecting the fight to be a clean one.

"This is a great position for us to be in and it really does prove the competitiveness of the Astra Coupé and the excellence of our drivers. They are all free to race as we know they are professional enough to do so cleanly and we don't anticipate any problems this weekend. It is good for Vauxhall to be in such a strong position at this stage of the season as our competitors are improving all the time and we expect them to keep fighting us all the way!"

Buoyed by his win and second place podium at the Thruxton thriller at the beginning of May, Vauxhall Motorsport's Thompson feels he is now back on track and is approaching the Silverstone weekend with renewed vigour.

"This situation with the three of us will definitely add an even greater competitive edge to the racing this weekend but we know what we're doing and will be using our heads. For me, to have drawn back the deficit from earlier in the season and to go to Silverstone off the back of a successful weekend at Thruxton is a real confidence booster."

He will however, have to pay the penalty for his Thruxton success and the man from York will be carrying 30kgs in success ballast. Although not as much as his team mate, Muller, who will have to carry 42kgs for the two qualifying sessions and the 15-lap Sprint Race, Thompson is realistic about his chances.

"The ballast will affect us in a big way. Silverstone is renowned for its long straights, slow corners and heavy braking and that's going to hurt. Ballast at Silverstone, more than any other circuit on the calendar, is a real penalty."

As the Vauxhall camp heads for Silverstone, the marque tops the Manufacturers' championship with 171 points to MG's 80 whilst Vauxhall Motorsport heads EggSport in the Teams' championship by a clear 14 points.

Rounds 7&8 commence with BTC Touring car free practice on the morning of Saturday, 1 June whilst qualifying takes place on Sunday at 12.10pm. Monday's events kick off with Pitlane Walkabout at 11.05am with the 15-lap Sprint Race getting under way at 12.10pm. The 25-lap main Feature Race starts at 4.10pm. Granada Sport's coverage will be shown the following Saturday on ITV1.

-vm-

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers James Thompson , Matt Neal