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Sep 03, 2014 - 05:36 PM
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BTCC: Consistency Not Enough Now For Triple Eight Duo
Posted by: newsla on Sep 03, 2014 - 05:32 PM
Sports Cars
BTCC: Consistency Not Enough Now For Triple Eight Duo


With just three weekends left in the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, the MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save team of Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff are looking to jump their championship rivals and finish on a high. First up for the MG duo is the Rockingham Motor Speedway this weekend (September 6-7), located just outside of Corby in Northamptonshire.

 

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Billed as ‘the fastest track in Europe’, the huge oval circuit at Rockingham leaves a lasting impression on every visitor. Situated inside the oval is the 1.94 mile International Super Sportscar Circuit (ISSC), and the arrival in Northamptonshire marks a critical point in the title race. With just nine races left of the 2014 season, title contenders must make their mark now.

Triple Eight are the engineering brains behind the MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save squad and Team Principal Ian Harrison believes there is everything to play for still.

“We’re not going to win anything this year by finishing behind Colin (Turkington) and Gordon (Shedden). In a series as competitive as the BTCC, consistency isn’t enough. We’ve been the quickest front-wheel-drive cars in the series all year and we have to push more. We must maximise that advantage with both cars over the coming races to stand a chance of winning a trophy this year. Last year we locked out the front row at Rockingham – we need a similar performance this weekend.”

Perennial title challenger Jason Plato is once more firmly in the championship challenge, sitting third in the standings, 39 points adrift of leader Colin Turkington. Already the most successful driver in the BTCC in terms of outright victories, Plato is looking to secure title number three, ultimately gunning for Andy Rouse’s record of four championship wins.

Young British ace Sam Tordoff has had a tricky second year in the BTCC and sits eighth with 143 points. Since taking a win at Donington the Yorkshireman has been a consistent points finisher, but hasn’t made a return to the podium, denied by a brake issue at Snetterton and an electrical issue at Knockhill. Both those weekends saw impressive fight backs, which keep the BRDC SuperStar above returning multiple champions, Alain Menu and Fabrizio Giovanardi in the standings.

While Plato is clearly in the mix for the 2014 BTCC title, the team are very much supporting both MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save cars, and hoping to help Tordoff rise above his sixth-place finish last season in his rookie year of the series.

“Sam has come on over the last twelve months and matured a lot. He’s up against some of the best in the world, not just the UK, and we will see him on the podium before the year is out.

“He has endured a couple of mechanical issues recently which we are working hard with the suppliers to rectify. Obviously that’s frustrating for him and us, but he is a professional driver and will be pushing hard with us for the remainder of the season.”

The MG6 GT is now in its third year in the BTCC and it has shown itself to be the class of the front-wheel drive pack, as Harrison explains:

“The MG6 is a good race car and can remain at the top of the BTCC in the FWD category for several years to come. What we’ve seen this season is a significant advancement by some of the other teams, which were on the periphery last year. The process we go through at Triple Eight with a new car means we hit the ground running and we arrive at the peak of a chassis’ development curve quicker.

“That said, we made changes over the winter with the cars, which have really worked, especially in qualifying. As you’ve seen we had improved performances at some of our bogey circuits such as Croft and Knockhill. That’s no fluke; it’s hard work from the team.

“We’ve improved on the soft tyre and in the wet too, so in many respects, 2014 has been a big success for us in engineering terms. There are more developments in planning for 2015.”

Rockingham track action gets underway at 9:30 on Saturday for the first of two free-practice sessions, the second running at 12:40. Qualifying will be shown live on ITV.com and begins at 15:40.

The highly popular KX Question Time takes place on Saturday evening from 18:30 at the Welcome Centre in the Rockingham Building, and features Marc Hynes, Mat Jackson, Tim Harvey and of course the MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save’s Jason Plato. Media, fans and rivals are all welcome!

Sunday sees the usual format of three races begin at 11:37 before the autograph session in pit lane at 12:30. Race two starts at 13:52 with the final race of the day, the reverse grid thriller, going green at 16:40.

Race Weekend Information
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Rockingham
Rockingham Motor Speedway, Mitchell Rd, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 5AF
1.94 miles (3.12km), 12-turn race circuit
September 6-7 2014

2014 BTCC driver standings (after round 21 of 30)
1 Colin Turkington (eBay Motors) 309
2 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) 286
3 Jason Plato (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save) 270
4 Rob Collard (eBay Motors) 220
5 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) 217
6 Mat Jackson (Airwaves Racing) 207
7 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 190
8 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save) 143

2014 BTCC Manufacturers Championship
1 Honda/Dynamics 659
2 MG/Triple Eight 641

2014 BTCC Teams' Championship
1 eBay Motors 531
2 Honda Yuasa Racing 473
3 MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save 407

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