Early season BTCC Independent pace setters Sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport will head to Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this weekend looking to continue their lead in the Independent drivers Championship.
Rockingham last weekend saw popular Widnes driver Paul O'Neill secure his second podium of the season with a fine second place in the third race of the day – a result which leaves O'Neill fourth overall and leading the independents category, two points ahead of Airwaves BMW's Steven Kane.
Furthermore, the second place secured by O'Neill was Sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsports best result since they joined the grid.
The third weekend of the season on the Brands Hatch GP loop gives the team another opportunity to secure their first win – and the track characteristics should suit the Honda Integra.
O'Neill said about the Brands GP circuit and his chances this weekend: “On paper, the GP circuit at Brands Hatch should be just as strong for us, if not stronger, than Thruxton and Rockingham were, we will carry some ballast again thanks to our championship position, but there are no negatives for us to take into the weekend.
“Three solid finishes are the aim again, but instead of looking to get into the top six, we now have to be looking to get into the top three. We've had a third and second place so far, and if things go our way, maybe we could have a first win.”
O'Neill will be assured of at least one bottle of Champagne this weekend, after fans voted his drive to second place in the final race of the day at Rockingham as their moment of the weekend. This occasion means that O'Neill has won the honour twice, having claimed his first HiQ Champagne moment at Snetterton last year. O'Neill added: “The Champagne Moment is a great thing to win because it is voted for by the fans; you never know what people's perceptions are of the job you are doing, so when the fans vote for you like this, it is a sign that they feel you have done well.”
Sunshine.co.uk team mate John George will be looking to build on the encouraging pace he showed at Rockingham last weekend as he looks to secure another points finish this time out, to back up his two points from Thruxton, and it was only bad luck on race day which meant that the racer from Guernsey didn't add to his points total.
Speaking ahead of the weekend, George said: “I'm really looking forward to it, I believe the circuit is one that will suit us and after the results Paul has been able to get in the first two rounds, it's clear we have a good car. My aim is to be back in the points and hopefully we'll have a nice dry weekend with no sign of rain for a change!”
Marvin Humphries, Tech-Speed Motorsport chief is confident of another strong race weekend to back up the strong showings at Thruxton and Rockingham, which have left his outfit second in the Independents Teams Championship: “Brands Hatch GP should be a good circuit for us and if I'm being honest, I feel the car is much better suited to Brands that it was to Rockingham,” he said. “With the races being back-to-back, it was important to come away from Rockingham unscathed and luckily we've only had some superficial damage to the cars to repair. Confidence is on a high and hopefully we'll be on the pace again this weekend.”
Title sponsor sunshine.co.uk MD Chris Brown is also confident of another strong showing at one of the most famous circuits in the world, and that a third podium in three events has to be the teams target: “I'd be lying if I said I didn't think we'd be inside the top five this weekend,” he said. “With the way things have gone so far, we have to target the podium again and it would be nice if it was a case of third time lucky and we managed to get a win. Paul and John are both doing a fantastic job and I'm sure that will continue at Brands Hatch.”
Coverage of this weekend's action from Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit is live on ITV4 from 11.30am on Sunday, with live timings available online at www.tsl-timings.com. The first race for the BTCC is due to start at 11.45am.