BTCC 2019: Donington Park – Preview

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads to Leicestershire and the Donington Park circuit for rounds four, five and six of the 2019 campaign.

Josh Cook leads the driver’s championship after the opening weekend of the season at Brands Hatch, after gambling on slick tyres in mixed and foggy conditions to take the first race win of the season.

Cook also finished seventh and fourth in the second and third race respectively to grab a healthy points haul from the Kent circuit.

“To head to Donington Park as leaders is pretty good, I’d say!” said Cook. “We’ve not had a lot of running and the guys at BTC Racing have done a great job of putting the new car together over the winter.

“It was a fact-finding mission at Brands Hatch to try and see what worked and what didn’t. The first race was a gamble that paid off and to score two more points finishes was great.

“We have a data share with Team Dynamics, and they’ve given us a platform to work from. It’s great to have a partnership with such a strong outfit, but all credit to the guys back at base – they’ve drawn it all together.

“Arriving at Donington Park with maximum ballast will make things a lot more difficult, but we know what our strengths are, and we’ll play to those. There’s a long way to go but we just need to keep scoring points and see where we are at the end of the season.”

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Josh Cook scored his first ever BTCC victory at Donington last year, and was impressive at Brands Hatch last time out.

Team Parker Racing’s Stephen Jelley endured a stunning opening weekend to the season last time out, scoring the team’s maiden podium in the finale at Brands Hatch.

The Team Parker Racing outfit outscored their overall points haul across their four previous seasons in the BTCC in just one outing and head to Donington third in the driver’s championship and fourth in the team’s standings.

“The result at Brands Hatch was just perfect,” said Jelley. “The podium for Team Parker Racing was by far the most important thing – I wasn’t thinking of risking it for the race win.

“The car was great all weekend. The team asked for three solid points finishes and that’s what we came out with, and a first trip to the rostrum for the team as well – it was absolutely mega.”

Team Manager Stuart Parker added, “I think we outscored what we’d done in four years in race one alone, and we head to Donington Park third in the championship having had three top ten results at Brands.

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Can Jelley carry that momentum from Brands Hatch into Donington?

“It was absolutely outstanding and fair play to all the lads who work so hard on the car and to Stephen, they all did a fantastic job.”

West Surrey Racing’s Andrew Jordan secured the new BMW 330i M Sport’s maiden victory in only its second ever race at Brands Hatch and will be looking for more silverware this weekend.

“I think we’re looking in strong shape,” said Jordan. “We don’t carry much weight going to Donington and I think we should be particularly quick in race trim.

“I felt confident in the 3 Series from the get-go – it really feels like my car – and in a championship as close and competitive as the BTCC, you can never underestimate the importance of that. I felt really comfortable in the car in race two at Brands – and that was reflected in the result.

“My philosophy is just to drive every lap in a brilliant new car flat-out – not to worry about winning races or championships. I want to enjoy it and it’s a different mindset for me this year.”

The 2013 champion currently sits eighth in the standings after the opening race weekend of 2019.

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Jordan has felt comfortable in the new car from the get go.

Tom Chilton heads into Donington second in the driver’s standings after a strong showing at Brands Hatch but will be looking for redemption after his race three win was taken away from him for his overtake on Matt Neal.

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Chilton’s move on Neal was deemed to be too aggressive by the race stewards.

“Donington Park is a great track,” said Chilton. “We had a really productive test there a couple of weeks back. We found some extra time in the car and made some great headway with the handling and the balance of the Focus. That work should hold us in good stead.

“We’re in a great position going into the weekend. The BTCC title fight is all about consistency and scoring points. That’s the plan for Donington, to pick up straight from where we left off at Brands.”

Rounds four, five and six of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be live on ITV4 on Sunday.

By Jordan Hollands.

 

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