31 March 2007
The Class of 2007.
The 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship looks set to be one of the most exciting of recent seasons, with a bumper field and numerous drivers capable of fighting for honours.
Ahead of the opening rounds of the season at Brands Hatch this weekend, we look over the 'runners and riders' for the season ahead...
Drivers: Dave Pinkney, Richard Marsh
Car: Alfa Romeo 156
“We have got two brand new cars with new chassis and new engines, it's all brand new. It's hugely important as anything that was learned on the WTCC circus last year will be on these two cars that are coming. Alfa Romeo will be watching us to consider possibly coming in as a works team in 2008 so the pressure is huge. This car, compared to the Honda, will be the latest spec and we expect to be fighting for podiums” - Pinkney
With Alfa Romeo watching on, there is little doubt that the newly formed team needs to perform well during the coming season with its 2007 specification machines. Pinkney showed his pace last season in the Integra, while Marsh will relish the chance to drive a competitive car for the first time in his BTCC career. A lack of running means the early rounds could be tough, but as the year progresses, the 156 should be a points contender with the odd podium possible.
Drivers: Rick Kerry
Car: BMW 120d
“We've had a real battle just to get everything ready for Brands Hatch. We know that the car has potential but it is still very early days, so people shouldn't expect too much from us just yet. We could have missed the first meeting and focused on Rockingham, but after all the hard work we have put in, we want to be there. We are just treating this weekend as a big test session and aren't setting ourselves any big goals, but if we can not finish last then that would be great!” - Kerry
Taking on the development of a new diesel car would be a big task for a works team, so Kerry and his little team should be commended for taking on the challenge. With a small budget, things will be far from easy, but if enthusiasm scored points, Kerry would be right at the front. One to watch with interest as the season progresses as the team attempts to move its way up the grid.
Drivers: Erkut Kizilirmak
Car: Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch
“The reason why I am here for this competition is the high level of competition and I am very happy to be here. It's just the beginning, the following seasons I will be more competitive. For this season I want to keep a low profile and keep out of trouble and try to finish the races – that is my aim” – Erkut
A learning year for Erkut means he is keeping his feet on the ground, but with an experienced outfit in Techspeed overseeing the programme, the Turkish champion has a good package with which he will continue his BTCC education. While the Sport Hatch may have won its final race, Erkut could score the odd points finish during the year ahead if things go his way.
Drivers: Chris Stockton, Nick Leason
Car: Lexus IS200
“Going into a Super 2000 car you still want to do the best job possible. The good news is that I know have a team-mate, it's a bigger team and a lot of work has gone into the car so there are some big expectations. They have done a lot of work over the winter months and we should be there or thereabouts. I think we will shock a few of the big boys” - Leason
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