Snetterton set for big weekend with British Touring Cars’ visit
- Credit: Archant
The BMW 330i M Sport has dominated the opening half of this year's Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, which resumes at Snetterton this weekend, with reigning title holder Colin Turkington looking to consolidate his lead.
The Northern Irishman has chalked up four wins with his new machine so far, having won only once last year on his way to the title, with team-mate Andrew Jordan clocking up five victories - he trails Turkington by 33 points.
Jordan's deficit can be traced back to round two at Donington Park when the Pirtek-supported racer was knocked out of the meeting in race one when he received a hefty hit in the driver's door which required a precautionary trip to hospital and zero points. With Turkington averaging 39 points per meeting and Jordan 40.5 from the four rounds he has been able to score, and the pair driving identical cars, the latter is going to need a little help in closing the gap.
Josh Cook, Rory Butcher and Ash Sutton are the BMW's nearest challengers, with Jordan needing a little assistance from them in stealing points away from the series leader, if he is to close the gap. Cook trails Turkington by 47 points, with Butcher and Sutton one more behind, but each will need a dominant performance to start off part two of the series to make inroads into the BMWs' advantage.
Sutton's Subaru Levorg is probably one of the fastest cars around the corners, but one of slowest on the straights, putting him at a massive disadvantage on the Snetterton layout unless it rains when the combination has, in the past, proved phenomenal at the Norfolk venue.
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Cook races the FK8 Honda Civic Type R while Butcher competes in the older FK2 version which has a great history at Snetterton, with both needing to add to their race winning tally this weekend if they want to challenge for the crown.
The works Honda Civic racers, Dan Cammish and Matt Neal, have six podiums visits between them, with the majority going to the former, but are only five points apart, and 65 and 70 from the lead, which looks impossible to breech so race wins may well become the target.
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Tom Chilton and his Ford Focus has looked very quick at times but horrific meetings at Thruxton and Oulton Park have left him way off the pace, but four podium visits include a race victory.
Chilton was fastest on the first day of the recent BTCC test at Snetterton with his team-mate and former Attleborough resident Olly Jackson quickest on day two, so both have the equipment to trouble the front-runners this weekend.
It's taking a while for Tom Ingram and the Speedworks team to get on terms with the new Toyota Corralla but his immense car control was in evident at the Snetterton test and could be a springboard to a better second half of the season.
The local EXCELR8 MG6 team worked wonders to make it to the test at their home track after both cars were heavily damaged at the previous round and will be hoping to breaking into the top 15 and claim championship points.
Elite Motorsport, based at Shipdham, has dominated both the Ginetta GT4 Super Cup and Junior Championship with Harry King holding a 48-point lead coming into the team's home track in the former.
Meanwhile, the consistent James Hedley holds a whopping 95-point lead over the chasing Junior pack, having been off the podium only once this season.
There is little to chose between Max Coates and Jack Young as the two youngsters battle for supremacy in the Renault UK Clio Cup with the former holding a slim six-point advantage as the series heads to Norfolk.
A hat-trick of Formula 4 race wins at the last round has elevated Zane Maloney into a healthy lead which his rivals must peg back this weekend if they are to stop the Barbadian youngster from claiming the title with the Ginetta GT5 Challenge completing the line-up.
9.30am-10.10am: Free Practice, Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship
10.30am-10.45am: Qualifying, Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship
10.55am-11.15am: Qualifying, F4 British Championship
11.25am-11.45am: Qualifying, Ginetta GT5 Challenge
12pm-12.40pm: Free Practice, Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship
1.40pm-2.10pm: Qualifying, Renault UK Clio Cup
2.20pm: Race - Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship (seven laps)
3pm-3.30pm: Qualifying, Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship
3.45pm: Race - F4 British Championship (20 mins)
4.20pm: Race - Ginetta GT5 Challenge (12 laps)
10.05am: Race - Renault UK Clio Cup (10 laps)
10.45am: Race - Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship (nine laps)
11.20am: BTCC pit lane opens
11.35am: Race - Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (12 laps)
12.15pm: Race- F4 British Championship (20 mins)
1.05pm-1.35pm: Pit lane walkabout/autograph session
1.55pm: BTCC pit lane opens
2.10pm: Race - Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (12 laps)
2.50pm: Race - Ginetta GT5 Challenge (12 laps)
3.25pm: Race - Renault UK Clio Cup (10 laps)
4.05pm: Race - Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship (nine laps)
4.40pm: Race - F4 British Championship (20 mins)
5.15pm: BTCC pit lane opens
5.30pm: Race - Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (12 laps)