Paul O’Neill is set to return to the MSA British Touring Car Championship grid at Knockhill after confirming a deal to drive the Team HARD Vauxhall Insignia, previously raced by James Cole and Robb Holland.
O’Neill drove for Tech-Speed in 2012 for the Croft and Knockhill rounds and has been sat on the sidelines this year after failing to secure a budget for a full season. The latest opportunity arose with the news earlier this week that Jack Goff would be sitting out the Knockhill round. With local driver Kieran Gallagher expected to be racing alongside Goff the Scottish driver will now take over Goff’s car for the weekend, which he tested at Brands Hatch earlier this week. O’Neill be taking on driving duties in the second car.
“I am delighted to be back in a Touring Car and to be invited to do so is even more flattering.” said O’Neill to BTCC.net. “My ITV commitments come first this season but they’ve been really supportive about this opportunity. We all feel it should provide an insightful spectacle for the TV viewers too, so I am really thankful to Tony [Gilham] and everyone involved.”
O’Neill admits while he is looking forward to being back on the grid it is going to be a tough weekend as he has never driven the Insignia and hasn’t done any testing this year. He remains optimistic about the opportunity though and hops to be aiming for the top 10 in the second race. “If I could do that in race two then I’d stand a chance of being up front for the final race, which would be absolutely fantastic.”
Team boss Tony Gilham is happy with the chance to get O’Neill in the car for the weekend “Hopefully it’s the start of a longer relationship,” said Gilham. “It’s great having someone like Paul in the car and we’d love to work with him in the long-term.”
Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will take place on the 24/25 August, full coverage of the weekend will be available on theCheckeredFlag.co.uk and at @tcfBTCC on twitter.