Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park will continue the ongoing championship title fight and more.
It has been five weeks since the racing at Brands Hatch Indy, but the BTCC is back in action at Oulton Park with another crowd of fans on 31 August/1 July.
There are a number of exciting talking points as we head onto the fourth venue of the season with reigning champion Ash Sutton at the top of the standings.
Recall the entire Brands Hatch Indy weekend:
- QUALIFYING: Rowbottom secures maiden pole, Team Dynamics 1-2
- RACE 1: Oliphant takes exhilarating win in opening race
- RACE 2: Ingram wins with last lap overtake
- RACE 3: Morgan secures controlled victory in Race 3
Jason Plato and his ever closer chase onto 100 victories
The championship’s most successful driver has been on the verge of winning a century of BTCC races.
Plato has been in the BTCC ever since his 1997 debut for Williams Renault and has claimed two championship titles, started 608 races, with a record-leading 232 podiums to his name.
There are 97 wins on his record which is the most the BTCC has seen with Matt Neal at 63 in second.
It would take winning all three races to get to 100, which is an unlikely circumstance given the competitiveness of the field and with such front-runners as Sutton and Tom Ingram working wonders to finish on the podium steps.
His urge to get to this number will not be numbed by the chances, seeing that his tally of 11 wins at Oulton Park is the most out of the 29 drivers on the grid.
Will his turn of 100 victories happen this weekend? Let’s say maybe and see what happens…
The fight for the title begins at Oulton Park
Nine races out of the 30 have been completed this season, and the fight for the title begins here.
Why? The championship victor needs to grasp two key aspects in order to secure the title: a momentum of healthy points finishes, and strong qualifying performances – perhaps more logically the other way round.
Admittingly, it is far too early to determine genuine title contenders but we can see who may be up there.
Ash Sutton has not lost any edge since winning his second title, and has seemingly replicated his familiarity of racecraft thus far.
An example of his signature climbs up the pack would be at Snetterton when he went from P11 to P1 – 10 positions gained.
Sutton entered the Brands weekend awaiting his maximum 75 kg ballast, and still came out on top by the end – thus repeats the cycle.
Needless to say, him and Ingram are the early emergers whilst Colin Turkington needs to start chasing the front end of the standings. However, in fourth spot, he is only 39 points away from Sutton and would use his quick, calculated driving style to start the push at Oulton Park.
Team Dynamics set to continue hit momentum from Brands
If the last race weekend taught us anything, is that Team Dynamics are just as buoyant to fight for the front spots regardless of a revised 2021 driver line-up.
Dan Rowbottom made a mark to his doubters when he secured his maiden pole position at Brands Hatch Indy, also on the Jack Sears Trophy too.
Furthermore, his three-time champion teammate Gordon Shedden qualified behind him just 0.005s away. Needless to say, the Honda Civic Type R package came alive for the duo to secure a podium from Race 1.
Read more on Dan Rowbottom in our three-part interview:
- Part 1 – Dan Rowbottom Interview: Being in-and-out of racing, partnering with Cataclean and the Clio Cup Trophy
- Part 2 – Dan Rowbottom Interview: Debuting into the BTCC, trying some NASCAR, and joining Team Dynamics
- Part 3 – Dan Rowbottom Interview: Re-entering the BTCC, recalling Thruxton and the journey
Given the nature of the ascents/descents of Oulton Park, plus the narrow margin for error on the Island configuration, expect the duo to be up there once again.
Rowbottom felt what it was like to battle at the front and will be forever more urged to claim his first victory. Gordon Shedden’s tangle at Brands will be put behind him since he would need to land a trio of consistent points finishes to propel him upwards on the standings.
But the task will not be easy ahead of what will be an intense weekend of racing if we have last year to learn from.
Oulton Park Island, 2021 Schedule
|Qualifying||3.10pm||Saturday 31 July|
|Race 1||12.20pm||Sunday 1 August|
|Race 2||2.45pm||Sunday 1 August|
|Race 3||5pm||Sunday 1 August|