The British Touring Car Championship returns to Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire to host Rounds 19-21 of gripping motorsport action.
After a couple of weeks since Thruxton, the UK’s most premier touring car championship heads to the north.
The seventh event on the calendar welcomes a number of key talking points which will make this weekend’s races worthwhile to watch.
The circuit stretches two miles of fast and challenging tarmac with long straights, thrilling chicane complexes, and tight hairpins.
The fight at the front opens up
When we headed into Thruxton last time out, Tom Ingram was continuing his chase onto Ash Sutton’s championship lead.
However, the reigning champion’s strong weekend at Thruxton left him to improve his margin up from 14 points to 30 points.
As a result of Sutton’s form, Ingram will have his work cut out to narrow down the gap this weekend.
Meanwhile, Josh Cook and Jake Hill put themselves up into the sharp end too.
The MB Motorsport driver was one of the standouts from Thruxton and will naturally look to continue his strong form in both qualifying and the race.
Behind these two sits Colin Turkington who needs to land another victory, or at least a podium, if he wants to edge himself closer to the outright championship fight.
His current form seems to struggle in qualifying and only takes charge to the front end during the final reverse grid race.
Counting 700 races for West Surrey Racing
It was just over a month ago at Knockhill when Colin Turkington secured the team’s 100th BTCC race win.
Now another anniversary will be hit this weekend – 700 races for one of the most successful outfits in the championship.
The official BMW works team find themselves third in the overall teams’ standings so a good points haulage from Turkington, Stephen Jelley, and Tom Oliphant will stand crucial against BTC Racing and Laser Tools Racing.
Furthermore, a key aspect to mention is about how Sutton is carrying the main points haulage for his team, as Cook and the recently-on-form Senna Proctor are doing for BTC Racing.
Their tie on points showcases a good opportunity for the rear-wheel drive BMW saloon package will utilise the hairpins and low-speed corners to make up ground on the front-wheel drive hatchbacks.
And as far Ash Sutton is concerned, it will be a challenge to keep up his pace.
Targeting a redemption for Team Dynamics
The Droitwich-based team have always been the favourite hatchbacks to challenge the upper end of the field, but it was anything but strong at Thruxton.
Dan Rowbottom sits eighth in the standings two points ahead of Gordon Shedden, who didn’t run himself any favours with his contact into Jade Edwards.
In due fairness, the team have not suffered many reliability calamities so far this season.
At Thruxton however, the hammer dropped notably and Rowbottom missed out on what could have been a good points haul after his pole position.
After losing only one place in the standings, we should expect him to be challenging for that top qualifying spot yet again this Saturday.
As for Flash, he has yet to finish on the top podium spot with a proven competitive package.
Croft may have more turns (and therefore overtaking opportunities) than Thruxton, but the narrow circuit means he must land an upfront qualifying spot to set about climbing valuable race positions for more points.
Regardless of his returning status, Rowbottom has claimed a win, two podiums and showed his form (with weight ballast) when he fended off the championship’s top drivers at Oulton Park.
Shedden is lacking on the form many expected from a three-time champion, perhaps down to a lack in poise and precision at the moment.
Croft is the place to bring in much-needed results and get back to fighting at the front.
|Croft, 2021 Schedule||(BST)|
|Qualifying||2.50pm||Saturday 18 September|
|Race 1||12.05pm||Sunday 19 September|
|Race 2||2.35pm||Sunday 19 September|
|Race 3||5.05pm||Sunday 19 September|