Get down on your knees and praise the Touring Car Gods by name because the Summer break which holds no Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship action finally ends this weekend at Snetterton.
Plus, with a special “Diamond Double” third race in celebration of sixty years of the championship. Fans and pundits alike have been looking forward to this special event for most of the year and it’s chance for the teams and drivers to go head to head completely ballast free away from the first race of a season.
Testing at the Norfolk circuit during the break saw both iterations of the Honda Civic Type R appear to be the cars to beat this weekend. Dan Cammish led a days testing in the FK8 Type R whilst Jack Goff led two sessions in an FK2 Type R. As is always noted, testing results should be taken with a pinch of salt and the unpredictable nature of the BTCC always ends up victorious.
Matt Neal is gunning for all out victory as he aims to move up from third in the drivers championship. With confidence aplenty the triple champion will be one to watch in this improving Halfords Yuasa Racing Civic.
Two former BTCC drivers will be making a return to the championship as replacements for the outgoing Tom Boardman and Jake Hill.
Ant Whorton-Eales will be making the return to AmD as he pairs up with Rory Butcher in the MG6 GT whilst Dan Welch will be making a return to the series after last competing in 2016. Welch was one of a multitude of drivers Team HARD brought along for testing at Snetterton during the break and he obviously impressed enough to be given a seat for this weekend.
Whorton-Eales returns as the current MINI Challenge leader. He will be hoping to channel Dan Lloyd as a mid-season replacement race winner. Alongside Butcher the team could hope for some strong results and also good points when the double points race reaches the flag.
Both new drivers will have to run the 45kg of success ballast that all mid-season entries have to carry.
Boost was the buzzword of the day last time out at Croft and if nothing of note has been rectified to appease all those angry at the new Subaru speed, you could see Ashley Sutton and Jason Plato being two of the drivers near the front most of this weekend.
Plus with the third race of the day running no ballast in both its qualifying and race, the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Levorg duo might be out of sight by the end of the first lap. From a fan standpoint this would be bitterly disappointing but the speed that they showed at Croft Saturday and Sunday it might be ineveitable.
Whether they have been pegged back slightly is unknown but Sutton will be this authors pick for victory in the Diamond Double race three.
Championship leader Colin Turkington has made his rise to the top look effortless. Two podiums at Snetterton last year shows that the BMW 125i M Sport can go well at the Norfolk circuit. Rob Collard also enjoyed similar results in 2017.
It would be foolish to discount Colin or Rob from appearing at the front again this weekend and along with the rear-drive Subaru. The rear-drive BMW will is seldom seen trundling around the back of the field unless reliability issues return.
Fresh from victory in the BTCC battle at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Andrew Jordan will also be one to watch in his BMW Pirtek Racing machine. Fourth in the championship and surprisingly still without a race victory to his name in 2018, Andrew will be aiming to go for glory whether it’s in the normal races of one and two or the Diamond Double.
Tom Ingram still hasn’t hit the mid-season slump he tends to have when he’s near the top of the championship. Worries about whether it’s even going to happen should not be there as the Speedworks Motorsport driver has been the class of the front-wheel drive field. With two podiums at Croft he’ll be more than willing to go one better and hit victory lane this weekend and keep on towards title glory.
We only hope that this double distance, double points race is going to be as action packed as it has been hyped up to be. The dream would have been to have had a race like this every weekend this season but there must have been reasons why that wasn’t possible. Hopefully by Monday we would have enjoyed some high class racing action that only the BTCC knows how to provide.
The BTCC returns this weekend 28/29 July at Snetterton where both qualifying sessions will be live on itv.com/btcc Saturday and all three races shown live on ITV4 on the Sunday.