Sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport will be looking to continue the form which saw them secure four points finishes and an outright podium finish during the season premiere at Thruxton over the Easter weekend.
The team, which runs a pair of Honda Integra's for popular Widnes racer Paul O'Neill and Guernsey man John George had their strongest weekend to date with the Honda’ – O'Neill currently sits fourth overall in the drivers' standings while the team are fourth in the HiQ Teams Championship standings.
O'Neill took three top six finishes at Thruxton, including his first podium of the season during the second race and is looking forward to the Northamptonshire circuit – O'Neill's adopted home track – as it was here in 2009 that he took his best qualifying performance of the season, with fifth on the grid.
Ahead of the Rockingham round, O'Neill is confident of another strong weekend: “It will be the first time we have had to run with extra weight due to our championship position, but we hope to be quick again despite the ballast onboard,” he said. “I qualified well at Rockingham last season and am confident that we can score more points. We have to focus on finishing as high as we possibly can and scoring the maximum points possible from the weekend. If we could get onto the podium again, it would be fantastic. As everyone saw at Thruxton, the car is running really well at the moment and we have to make the most of it.”
For team mate George, the opening round of the season saw a welcome return to the top ten. Having failed to score during the 2009 season, ninth in race one signalled his first Championship points since 2008.
Rockingham also brings back some great memories for George; the 2007 race weekend saw him start the final race of the day on pole position after the grid reversal put him on pole. George has said his aim for 2010 is to score at every race weekend, and has marked off one out of ten.
George said: “I am really looking forward to returning to Rockingham, It has some great memories for me after I picked up pole in the third race of the day in my first year racing an Integra. I will always remember leading the field away; it was a real buzz and my foot was shaking so much I thought I would stall the car!
“This time around I am feeling very positive about the weekend. We ran strongly at Thruxton and the more I drive the Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed car, the more confident I get. My target is another top ten finish and to get my pace closer to Paul. Roll on Rockingham!”
The Tech-Speed outfit saw the Thruxton weekend reflect the work which the team has put in over the winter to improve the potent Integra's. Team Principal Marvin Humphries is confident of another strong weekend at the Northamptonshire circuit: “We learned some new things on the car at Thruxton and there is no reason why we can't go well again this weekend, we want to build on what we achieved at Thruxton and move forwards. Paul's confidence is high after his podium and John is also looking to build on his points finish, so we are targeting another good weekend at Rockingham.
“We want to try and keep our position in the standings and score more solid points. We need to keep the pressure on the other teams and show that we aren't here just to make up the numbers. The competition in the BTCC is strong but there is no reason why we can't fight near the front again. We've started the season well and the whole team is optimistic of a good weekend.”
For title sponsor sunshine.co.uk, the Thruxton weekend was the perfect start to the season. The UK's leading independent travel agent is based closed to the airfield circuit in Hampshire and their MD, Chris Brown, is understandably hopeful that the Thruxton form could be shown again at Rockingham: “We're looking forward to the weekend as we had our best qualifying at Rockingham last season, although we suffered a bit from tyre wear on race day, Tech-Speed has worked hard on the cars over the winter and we shouldn't see any repeat of those issues this time around. We have to put the demons from last year to rest and try and build on the strong results we gained at Thruxton.”
Due to the Indian Premier League cricket finale this weekend, the live television coverage for the BTCC has been altered. Races one and two will be shown live, while race three will be shown in its entirety along with race one and two highlights later in the evening.