With a new driver leading the championship standings of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship following the high speed of Thruxton, the tour continues towards Cheshire and the Oulton Park circuit. A scene of many pivotal and historical moments for the championship.
With only one point splitting the top two drivers in the championship, all eyes will be on whether there will be a weekend long battle between Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport driver Adam Morgan and Power Maxed TAG Racing man Josh Cook. As much as the championship is more of a marathon than a sprint, these two have been mightily quick when they have topped the podium and to discount them from taking another trip to the rostrum at Oulton Park may well be foolish.
Whilst Adam Morgan has been taking his victories in the reverse grid races, Josh Cook has been taking his within the first two races of the day. However, it is worth noticing that his Vauxhall Astra does tend to be affected by ballast. When it’s removed, it is turned into the rocket we have been used to so far this year.
Following pole position and victory for race one at Thruxton, Halfords Yuasa Racing now have a proven race winning car on their books once again. The duo of Matt Neal and Dan Cammish should be mighty around the Cheshire circuit and with a car continually improving it won’t be long until we see both cars fighting at the sharp end of the field.
BTC Norlin Racing sees a new driver race their Honda Civic Type R for the remainder of the season following the shock departure of James Nash. Although his replacement Dan Lloyd has driven in the BTCC before, he may be surprised to find out that he isn’t going to have the typical leisurely Sunday drive that he is used to in TCR UK.
Every week it’s the same press-release from Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher that this will finally be their weekend for silverware. If the season so far is the barometer, the race pace of the Ford Focus RS is certainly not there yet. Both Tom Chilton and James Cole will be striving to get their machines to the head of the field and this author certainly believes it will happen at some point in the future. Whether it happens at Oulton Park is a possibility but a certainty would be later in the year.
In a weekend where he didn’t score a podium finish and suffered electrical issues in race one, Speedworks Motorsport star Tom Ingram will be chomping at the bit to regain his championship lead. Whether a similar rot he suffered in 2017 at this point of the season is to set again remains to be seen. But, with a car known to be mega so far this season and with a cool head, Tom will certainly bounce back towards more champagne showers this weekend.
Following a relatively disappointing Sunday at Thruxton, early season pace-setter Jack Goff will be hoping for better this weekend. Outqualified by his team mate Brett Smith and struggling for pace in the first two races of the day, Jack put that behind him and showcased the potential of his Civic Type R by taking second place in the third race. The momentum from this will be keenly nurtured to make sure WIX Racing with Eurotech doesn’t have a slow start to the weekend again.
Colin Turkington managed to put Donington Park disappointment behind him when he scored two second place finishes in the first two races of Thruxton. Colin proving once again that a mature head could possibly make the difference come the end of the season. Oulton Park will probably be the circuit where the Team BMW man takes his first victory of the season.
Typically, Oulton Park is usually when the Subaru Levorg GT starts to find its pace and begin an impressive assault upon the standings. Whether this trend continues into 2018 and with new engines will be pretty difficult to say. Ashley Sutton and Jason Plato have had polarising weekends so far where JP has remained pointless. But, a welcoming return to the front for both drivers could make the long term championship story very interesting indeed. Adrian Flux Subaru Racing would have probably had this weekend circled on their calendar for a long time and performance will certainly tell fans and pundits alike what kind of year they will have for the remainder of the season.
The BTCC returns this weekend 9/10 June at Oulton Park where qualifying will be live on itv.com/btcc Saturday and all three races shown live on ITV4 on the Sunday.