FORMER CHAMPION THOMPSON CHASING MORE BTCC RACE WINS AT OULTON PARK James Thompson says he's out to do the double again at Oulton Park this Sunday (31 May) having become the first driver of the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship...
FORMER CHAMPION THOMPSON CHASING MORE BTCC RACE WINS AT OULTON PARK
James Thompson says he's out to do the double again at Oulton Park this Sunday (31 May) having become the first driver of the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season to achieve two race wins.
The Yorkshireman, the BTCC Champion in both 2002 and 2004, won in wet and then dry conditions at Donington Park nine days ago and believes his Team Dynamics Honda Civic will again be well-suited to the Oulton circuit in Cheshire.
Although he missed the season's opening round at Brands Hatch, he is still up to sixth overall in the Drivers' standings. Furthermore, because he is not yet in the top five, his Honda will go into qualifying at Oulton Park and the first of Sunday's three races carrying no success ballast - increasing his chances of taking more points out of series leader Matt Neal whose Vauxhall Vectra will be laden with an extra 45kgs.
Thompson, aged 35, said: "I think the Honda will be very strong at Oulton, strong enough to put us towards the front of the field again. Zero ballast is a big help at Oulton because it's a circuit that is exceptionally hard on the brakes. The target is to qualify on the front row of the grid for race one. The dream scenario of course would be to repeat what we did at Donington."
But Thompson, these days with bases in both York and Leeds, says thinking of a third BTCC title is unrealistic having missed Brands Hatch's opening round. He is also surprised to be winning again so soon - his victory tally in the series now is up to 35, the fifth highest of any driver in the BTCC's 50-year history.
He added: "I only came back in at round two at Thruxton and we all used that to find out about one another and form a plan of attack. I expected to win races, but maybe not so early. That is testament to the team's hard work. Now our expectations have been raised and I know there is still more performance to come from the car
"I've raced and helped develop just about every one of the top touring cars there has been for the past 15 years or so. Maybe that experience is helping us to fastrack the car where we want it to be in terms of performance.
"If people are saying I'm in with a chance of the title, though, that's their call. I'm not thinking about anything like that. To be honest, I don't see myself being in with a shout - I missed the first round and you can't do that and really attempt to challenge for the title. The opposition is too good to give them head starts like that."