BTCC 2019: Thruxton – Preview

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship roars into Thruxton this weekend for the second time this season.

The last time the series visited the UK’s fastest circuit in May, it was Andrew Jordan who stole the limelight with two race wins whilst Josh Cook just pipped Rory Butcher in the third race of the day.

Jordan comes into this weekend still second in the Championship, 36-points behind his teammate and Championship leader, Colin Turkington. Despite this, Jordan is looking forward to the challenge of Thruxton this weekend.

“I think we should be strong at Thruxton and I’m looking forward to it,” said Jordan. “I had a good double win there in May when we had the BMW absolutely flying. We were strong with no ballast in race one, and then also fast in race two, so we can take plenty of confidence from that weekend, even though the temperatures should be a fair bit higher this time, which will provide an extra challenge.”

The 2013 Champion left Snetterton a little disappointed last time out having lost a few points to Turkington in the Championship fight. Jordan scored a fifth, third and another fifth in Norfolk and admitted he and the team ‘played things pretty safe.’

“We played things pretty safe at Snetterton and lost a couple of points to Colin (Turkington), so now’s the stage where I have to really start pulling points back on him to make this title fight go the distance,” said Jordan. “If he has any bad luck, I need to be in a position to gain from it.”

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Jordan will hope to close the gap to Turkington this weekend. 

Turkington took a fourth, a first and a ninth at Snetterton to extend his Championship advantage with the reigning Champion admitting the weekend ‘went to plan.’

“Snetterton went to plan for us,” said championship leader Turkington. “It was always going to be a tough weekend given the official test day back in July, where everybody was able to get a feel of the circuit and get up to speed – we knew it was going to be ultra-competitive.

“It was great to win again and win with a heavy car heading into the weekend as championship leader with the maximum complement of success ballast on-board. We were consistent over every session and we’re hoping for more of the same at Thruxton.

“We’re more than halfway through the season, but there’s still plenty of racing left!  Things have closed up since we last raced at Thruxton in May and looking back we did a super job at coming out of the starting blocks very quickly.

“I come into the weekend with maximum ballast, whereas last time I had 36kgs so we’ll have to do all we can to maximise our performance in qualifying. The process for me on a race weekend will remain the same; I’ll focus on doing my job, and we’ll aim to convert every opportunity that presents itself. The team have done a fantastic job this season and we should be very proud looking back at how much this project has grown since our last trip to Thruxton.”

The West Surrey Racing team have won 10 races so far this season after Turkington’s win at Snetterton, giving them the most wins ever in a season yet. This also see’s them lead both the manufacturers and teams Championship.

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Team BMW have enjoyed a lot of success so far in 2019. 

Team principal Dick Bennetts was full of praise for his entire outfit following the weekend.

“Snetterton was our toughest event of the season,” admitted Bennetts. “Our BMWs weren’t capable of being the fastest cars, but through some good, old-fashioned engineering and a terrific performance by our drivers, we came away with our 10th win of the year.

“The whole team’s done a brilliant job this year, whatever’s been thrown at them through outside factors. We haven’t had a single reliability issue in the races with the new 3 Series while our main rivals have thrown away points all over the place for a number of reasons, and that consistency has helped keep us at the top.

“Thruxton is a very tough place to come with full ballast and if the track temperatures are high, that adds an extra factor. Our aim is to score good points again and try to consolidate our series lead.”

Speaking about the Championship fight between Turkington and Jordan, Bennetts admitted ‘it’s going to be a fantastic second half of the season’ and that he will allow both drivers to ‘race hard and clean!’

“Thruxton gave BMW Pirtek Racing a fantastic set of results in May with AJ (Andrew Jordan) winning twice. We’ve worked extremely hard to make the new BMW 3 Series a car that can run well with success ballast, and this certainly paid off on that occasion.

“AJ wants to win the title; pure and simple. He’s had more podiums than anyone else this year and the same number of wins as Colin. He’s going to race Colin and everyone else for this championship and I think this is going to be a fantastic second half of the season for all the fans that come to the circuits and watch on television. We allow our drivers to race hard and clean!”

This weekend could prove pivotal in the Championship fight as there is still and long way to go and plenty more points up for grabs.

Header image from BTCC

By Jordan Hollands.

 

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