Team HARD have confirmed that there will be no Paul O’Neill racing for them in the British Touring Car Championship’s next round at Rockingham, although the squad are pushing towards a full-time drive for the former two-time race winner in 2014.
O’Neill returned to the wheel of a BTCC car from ITV duties to race a Vauxhall Insignia for the RCIB Insurance Racing/Team HARD team at Knockhill in place of Jack Goff – who returns to the series at Rockingham – the weekend in Scotland proving a bruising one for O’Neill after an accident with Nick Foster in the opening race of the weekend dented his comeback trail.
Fan favourite O’Neill will not race in the next event at Rockingham, Team HARD boss Tony Gilham saying: “We spoke to Paul numerous times to try to make this happen but it just wasn’t possible for the Rockingham rounds.
“Both the team and Paul wanted to pair up again to show once again the pace of the Insignia and also to achieve the results that we both feel are possible. Knockhill didn’t go exactly to plan but the main thing was that Paul was reintroduced to the BTCC fans with Team HARD. and we continue to do everything we can to keep him racing.
“We have introduced a competition on www.owhard.co.uk to assist with a long term drive with the team.”
Despite O’Neill’s participation with the team looking out of the picture for the time being, Gilham added that the squad are pushing towards securing a full-time return for O’Neill to BTCC for the 2014 season.
“At this early stage, we are very close to putting a package together for Paul O’Neill to have a full time seat with us for 2014”, enthused Gilham.
“The amount of positives that came from Knockhill and the interest despite what happened was phenomenal and we would love to continue the partnership moving forwards.”