Knockhill to host next rounds of Britain’s biggest championship
The atmospheric Knockhill circuit in Fife is the next stop on the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship calendar as the UK’s biggest and best motor sport series makes its annual trip to Scotland.
Honda’s hometown hero Gordon Shedden led the championship at the midway stage of the season but endured a miserable event at Snetterton last time out, resulting in the 2012 champion relinquishing his standings advantage.
Shedden will be banking on support from the hugely passionate and partisan crowd expected to descend on the circuit next weekend (22/23 August) for what is a pivotal event in the season. If the Scotsman is to get his championship challenge back on track then he’ll have to take on and beat some 30 other touring car stars, including fellow countrymen Derek Palmer, Aiden Moffat and Kieran Gallagher.
Last time out: Turkington’s Double Delight
Reigning champion Colin Turkington fired himself into the title hunt with a sensational double win at Snetterton earlier this month.
Gordon Shedden topped the table from Jason Plato going into the event but the former had a torrid time at the Norfolk track, whilst his Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate Matt Neal faired only slightly better.
Turkington led home an historic Team BMR 1-2-3 in qualifying and the opening race before the Ulsterman doubled-up in the second contest. Team-mate Plato walked away from the weekend with second, third and fourth place finishes, moving him to the standings summit with Turkington now tucking in behind.
Honda’s Shedden and Neal dropped to third and sixth respectively with West Surrey Racing’s Sam Tordoff and MG Triple Eight’s Andrew Jordan wedged between them in the table.
Two podiums for WSR’s Andy Priaulx at Snetterton pushed him up to seventh overall while a hugely popular maiden victory for MG’s Jack Goff also keeps his championship hopes alive.
The odds on who will eventually prevail change on an almost daily basis as the championship has seemingly swung from Shedden to Plato to Turkington in recent weeks. The lead trio certainly won’t have it all there own way, however, with arguably the top ten or eleven drivers still in contention.
Talking point: Rear-Wheel-Drive Heaven
The tight, twisty and undulating nature of the short Knockhill circuit should suit rear-wheel-drive machinery next weekend, which bodes well for West Surrey Racing and Rob Austin Racing.
WSR swept all before it in 2014 – winning four titles – but its changed line-up for this season has taken time to spark their respective championship challenges.
Few have mentioned Sam Tordoff as a genuine title contender but any doubters may be forced to re-evaluate that stance post-Knockhill.
The young Yorkshireman won races at Oulton Park and Croft prior to the mid-season break and secured a solid points haul at Snetterton to remain fourth in the championship standings. What’s more is that Tordoff started from pole position at Knockhill last season – albeit in MG machinery – and it’s possible that his BMW 125i M Sport could be even better suited to the 1.27-mile circuit.
Tordoff’s biggest challenge may come from inside his own team, as a relatively ballast-free BMW of Andy Priaulx should contend. The Triple World Touring Car Champion admitted he is again ‘thinking of winning the championship’ after dragging himself back into the reckoning in recent rounds.
Rob Collard’s season has been littered with inconsistencies but the BMW stalwart has already won twice in 2015 and also took victory at Knockhill in 2014. With the experienced driver targeting race wins he’s sure to be a threat when the BTCC circus rolls into town.
On a similar theme Rob Austin will be looking to put a challenging 2015 so far behind him and target podiums in Fife. Pole position there in 2013 for the Audi A4 driver was followed up by three podiums during the last two visits to the venue, so there’s every chance the fans’ favourite could be scoring his first rostrum of the season.
Timetable and Tickets
Three BTCC races will take place on Sunday, with the entire day broadcast live and in high definition on ITV4.
In addition to the BTCC, there will be a number of races on the support bill, including popular sportscar contests in the shape of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Ginetta GT4 Supercup and Ginetta Junior Championship.
Tin-top fans get an extra fix with the Renault UK Clio Cup while single-seater enthusiasts are also covered with the MSA Formula – the first wrung on the ladder to Formula 1.
Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill are available from £28, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. Advanced booking discounts apply to all pre-booked tickets either online or by calling 01383 723337. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased on the day at the gate. All admission includes access to Sunday’s autograph session with the BTCC drivers in the pit lane as well as free parking.