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O’Neill shines in season opener
6 April 2010
Paul O'Neill produced a stunning start to the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton after securing fourth in the early championship standings.
The Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed driver went into the weekend in confident mood, with the high-speed Hampshire circuit being well suited to his BTC-spec Honda Integra.
O'Neill started the opening race from tenth on the grid but battled through to fourth place at the finish before securing a place on the podium in race two – making the most of contact between Matt Neal and Jason Plato to finish third.
A sixth place finish – with ballast onboard – leaves the former Vauxhall driver in fourth place overall heading to Rockingham and he admitted he was delighted with the way the weekend had panned out.
“We've shown we are a force to be reckoned with this weekend,” he said. “Everything I said was possible before the weekend has come true, but I didn't imagine I'd be leaving Thruxton so high up in the standings. The results in all three races were gained on merit, we weren't handed anything, and it shows that the car is still more than capable of being in the top six with good preparation – and the team has done a fantastic job with them.
“The podium at Snetterton last season was special as it was the first one for six years, but I really felt I deserved my third place this time around. We've been one of the top teams this weekend, the boys have worked to the maximum, and we have to try and build on it at Rockingham.”
Team-mate John George scored his first points for more than a season on his debut in the second car, bringing home a ninth place finish in race one.
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