Crash.Net BTCC News
Sunshine forecasts return to form at Oulton
3 June 2010
Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Motorsport will look to bounce back from a tough end to the weekend at Brands Hatch when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season resumes at Oulton Park this weekend.
Paul O'Neill maintained his position at the head of the Independents' standings in round three, despite failing to finish for the first time this season in the final race, while team-mate John George was forced to miss all three races due to a misfire on his car.
Oulton Park has been a happy hunting ground for O'Neill in the past and was the scene of his maiden BTCC victory back in 2002; a victory which saw him celebrate by kissing the tarmac after climbing from his car. With a large home following set to cheer the fans' favourite over the course of the weekend, O'Neill said he was hopeful of another fine showing at the wheel of his Honda Integra.
“I'm confident that we'll do our usual and get into the top ten in qualifying and score points in all three races,” he said, “We now need to take a step forward in qualifying and put a good lap together to get inside the top eight and then do our homework on race day to bring home at least one finish in the top four.
“Looking back at the year so far, my podium finish at Rockingham was brilliant as we got that result on merit after a hard fight. If I can do that again and get on the podium at Oulton Park then it would be great. Winning there in 2002 was mega and, hopefully, I'll come away from the weekend happy again.”
Team-mate George endured a weekend to forget at Brands Hatch, where he spent race day watching from the sidelines after the Tech-Speed team was unable to cure a misfire that had emerged on his car. However, with the problem on his Honda now cured, the Guernsey racer will seek to rebound with a points finish at Oulton Park to get his season back on track.
“I'm really looking forward to Oulton Park,” George said. “It's a really good circuit and one of my favourite tracks on the calendar. It is one where the Honda should be strong, but you need to be very precise as a driver because there isn't any room for error.
“Paul has done a lot of work at the circuit and knows it really well, so hopefully he will be able to pass on plenty of tips to help me during the weekend. Things were going well at Brands Hatch before my problem developed and I'm keen to keep improving. The team has worked hard to resolve the issues I had last time out and I really want to get back into the points. At least one top ten has to be my aim.”
Following the Brands Hatch race weekend, the Tech-Speed team has worked hard to resolve the issues encountered in Kent, with O'Neill completing a shakedown of both cars during BTCC testing at Rockingham last week.
With both cars running without problems during the test, Tech-Speed chief Marvin Humphries said he was hopeful that the team will once again be fighting at the front in Cheshire.
“The way the weekend ended at Brands Hatch was disappointing and it was a shame that John didn't get chance to race and Paul saw his run of points finishes end,” he said, “However, the cars are ready for Oulton and Paul was able to drive both for a shakedown during the Rockingham test, where there was no sign of the problems we encountered in the last round.
“We didn't have the best of weekends at Oulton Park last season but with the changes we have made since then, the car should be strong. We know for sure that the car will be better under braking, which is important at Oulton. There will be some added pressure on Paul this weekend in his home race but he loves the circuit and we are heading there hoping to do exactly what we have done in the early stages of the year.”
After missing the last round at Brands Hatch due to a family holiday, sunshine.co.uk MD Chris Brown will be back at the track to cheer on the team this weekend and shared Humphries' confidence of a strong showing at one of the most popular venues on the BTCC calendar.
“While it was nice to miss the weather at Brands Hatch, it certainly wasn't great to miss seeing the guys on track,” he said, “With Oulton Park being Paul's home event, this will almost be like another home race for the whole team as we expect he'll have a lot of local support, so it would be good if we can come away with some strong results.
“The gameplan for the weekend is to try and make sure that Paul retains his position in the championship and that as a team, we maintain out strong place in the standings. Paul knows Oulton Park like the back of his hand and there is no reason why he can't keep fighting towards the front and while Brands Hatch was tough for John, Marvin and the guys at Tech-Speed have worked hard in the last few weeks to solve the problem he had and he will hopefully also be pushing for the top ten.”