OULTON Park will aim to repeat the success of last year when the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to the Cheshire circuit this weekend.
The event attracted a record crowd of 35,000 in 2008 – the largest crowd at any BTCC event in a decade – and the crowds will flock once more for this year’s action on Saturday and Sunday.
The 2009 season is wide open, with seven different winners from nine races to date.
Among the competitors are 11 former race winners including four champions – Vauxhall’s Fabrizio Giovanardi and Matt Neal, Racing Silverline Chevrolet’s Jason Plato and Team Dynamics Honda’s James Thompson.
Neal has the advantage in this year’s title chase, holding a 13-point lead over the Team RAC BMW of Colin Turkington. However, with more than 45 points available from this weekend’s three BTCC races, the series lead could easily change hands at Oulton Park.
Thompson says he’s out to do the double again at Oulton Park, having become the first driver of the 2009 season to achieve two race wins.
The 2002 and 2004 BTCC champion won in wet and then dry conditions at Donington Park last time out and believes his Team Dynamics Honda Civic will again be well suited to the Cheshire circuit.
Although he missed the season’s opening round at Brands Hatch, he is still sixth overall in the drivers’ standings.
But Thompson says thinking of a third BTCC title is unrealistic having missed the opening round. He is also surprised to be winning again so soon – his victory tally in the series is up to 35, the fifth highest of any driver in the BTCC’s 50-year history.
He said: “If people are saying I’m in with a chance of the title, that’s their call.
“To be honest, I don’t see myself being in with a shout – I missed the first round and you can’t do that and really attempt to challenge for the title. The opposition is too good to give them headstarts like that.”
Admission to Oulton Park is £23 per adult and free for children aged 12 and under.
A number of other activities will be taking place on the day and tickets can be booked online at www.oultonpark.co.uk. For further information, call 0870 950 9000.