Paul O'Neill says he is confident of challenging at the front of the field when the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to Thruxton this weekend for the third round of the year.

O'Neill clinched a podium finish at Brands Hatch on his first weekend in the with Tech-Speed Chevrolet Cruze, but then endured a more trying time at Donington Park as the NGTC-engined cars made the most of their turbo engines at the East Midlands circuit.

However, with changes to the turbo boost for this weekend and a car that should suit Thruxton's sweeping bends, O'Neill said he was confident of at least challenging for podium finishes.

"Donington was a tough weekend, but it's forgotten now and I'm looking forward to Thruxton," he said. "Despite the change in boost, the turbo cars will still be quick over a single lap in qualifying and we have to aim to get into the top six on the grid and go from there.

"At the minimum, we have to target a podium finish on race day and a win could possibly be on the cards; Thruxton is our best chance yet.

"Thruxton is mainly one long corner so there is going to be a lot of pressure on the front left tyre and it could cause problems for the turbo cars when they are on the power. I'll be happy to pick them off and work my way to the front."

Team-mate John George is also hopeful of a strong weekend at the circuit where he took his best finish of the 2010 campaign.

"The turbo cars have been turned down a bit and Thruxton is a circuit that should suit our car," he said. "Donington was a difficult weekend for us, but I've always gone well at Thruxton and it's the closest thing I have to a home circuit, so I'm looking forward to it.

"The circuit may be high speed, but it's not a high torque track like Donington, which is where the turbo cars had a big advantage. We need to see what impact the turbo change has, but I'm confident we'll be stronger this weekend."



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