BTCC Heads Up North To Oulton Park

by Jake Kilshaw

The 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship goes to the north west this weekend for rounds 10/11/12 at Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit, in front of an estimated 40,000 fans.

The 2.26 mile Island circuit will host three races in what is turning out to be a fantastically unpredictable season, with six different winners in nine races so far. Going into round 10, the top five drivers in the championship standings are covered by just fifteen points, meaning that the standings after the weekend could be completely different.

Oulton Park always puts on a great show for BTCC fans, and it is a special event for a lot of the drivers and teams, with many calling it their home race.

Honda Yuasa Racing‘s Gordon Shedden leads the championship at the moment, after wins at both Brands Hatch and Thruxton. Behind him, 8 points behind, is 2014 champion Colin Turkington. Shedden’s teammate Matt Neal lies in third, followed by Turkington’s fellow Team BMR driver and BTCC legend Jason Plato, who has won no fewer than nine races at Oulton Park.

2013 champion Andrew Jordan has yet to win a race this season, after switching to MG Triple Eight Racing for 2015. Despite this, he is still fifth in the standings, thanks to consistent top-10 finishes.

Just one point behind is WIX Racing‘s Adam Morgan, who won round 9 at Thruxton: “Thruxton was one of the best days I’ve ever had and to be on the podium twice in a day in the BTCC is fantastic! It would be nice if we can do the same at my home track, there will be loads of fans there to cheer me on which always helps! I know the circuit like the back of my hand, but it is completely different to Thruxton. Oulton is bumpy, there are off-camber corners and it’s narrow. It makes for great racing.”

At Oulton Park last year, it was eventual champion Colin Turkington who made the headlines, having scored pole position and two race wins. Turkington is in one of Team BMR’s Volkswagen CCs this year, but his success is a good sign for the three West Surrey Racing-run BMW 125i entries. Drivers Rob Collard, Sam Tordoff and Andy Priaulx sit 8th, 9th and 11th respectively in the championship, despite a round 1 win for Collard. Since Brands Hatch, the BMWs haven’t been particularly fast, but this is likely to do with the high-speed nature of both Donington Park and Thruxton, where the BMW’s slightly ‘boxier’ design was a disadvantage.

Race three winner at Oulton Park last year was Aron Smith, who is still looking for a win this year. He finished on the podium twice at Brands Hatch, and started from pole position for the first time in his BTCC career at Thruxton.

As well as BTCC, Oulton Park will this weekend host plenty of support series action, including Ginetta GT4 SuperCup, Ginetta Junior Championship, Renault UK Clio Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup GB and MSA Formula. The Checkered Flag will report on all of the action over June 6/7.

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