The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads to Oulton Park for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the 2019 campaign that’s hotting up rather nicely.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington leads the standings as the circus rolls into the Cheshire race circuit, but it’s BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan who heads to Oulton Park as the man in form having secured two race victories both at Thruxton and Croft last time out.
Jordan sits fourth in the championship standings, just 26 points behind his teammate and championship leader Turkington.
“Oulton Park has been one of my strongest circuits in recent seasons, and I love it,” said Jordan. “We need to hold our expectations in-check, but I do go to Oulton expecting to challenge for pole position and race wins – and if we can’t win, we need to keep bagging points.”
Sitting fourth in the championship means Jordan will be carrying 36kg of success ballast into qualifying and the first race of the weekend on the Sunday.
“Yes, ballast has a greater effect than at most places, but I’ve won races on full weight this season, so it’s not something I think about,” said Jordan. “We’ve found the sweet spot with the new 3 Series, and the confidence level is sky-high. I think we are the strongest package on the grid right now, so we need to use that positive momentum to keep moving forwards.”
After a challenging weekend at Croft last time out with an 11th, seventh and 16th, Tom Ingram and his Speedworks team will be looking for more consistent points finishes at their home track this weekend.
“For me, Oulton Park is one of the best race weekends of the season,” said Ingram. “From a driver’s perspective, it’s a thrill ride from start to finish, all challenging corners and undulations and massively rewarding when you get it right.
“Qualifying counts for more than at most circuits simply because it really isn’t easy to overtake there when you start further down the order, and success ballast plays a significant role when it comes to extracting single-lap speed.
“I think the Toyota Corolla should be well-suited to the track, though, and one of the advantages of conceding a little bit of ground at Croft is that we go to Oulton carrying less weight than we have done previously. With that in mind, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be able to qualify inside the top ten and then move forward from there.
“I was reminded last week of the slightly jarring statistic that Oulton is the only circuit on the BTCC calendar at which I haven’t yet been on the podium, so one of the first objectives this weekend has to be to set that record straight…”
Ingram heads into Oulton Park ninth in the driver’s championship, 47 points adrift of championship leader Turkington.
Turkington holds a slender 11-point lead in the driver’s standings over second placed Josh Cook but admits this weekend won’t be an easy one.
“I feel happy with where we are with the 3 Series and the development, so the plan is to go into the summer break with the momentum on our side,” said Turkington. “Oulton Park incorporates some of the most demanding corners in British motorsport such as Cascades and Druids, which require a lot of commitment, and it’s narrower than most tracks, which enhances the sense of speed.
“You really need to be on point if you want to be on the pace. Going there as championship leader obviously presents its own challenges. It won’t be easy on maximum ballast though.”
Oulton Park always throws up a surprise too, last year saw Matt Simpson take pole position and his maiden BTCC victory. Could there be another surprise result this weekend?
You can catch all the races live on ITV4 this Sunday.
Header image from BTCC
By Jordan Hollands.