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VXR BTCC TEAM WARNS: "NOW WE CAN FIGHT"

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  • VXR BTCC TEAM WARNS: "NOW WE CAN FIGHT"

    VX Racing has the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Manufacturers Championship in its sights and the thrill of the chase has invigorated the Banbury-based team in the run up to this weekend's round at Snetterton.

    At the beginning of the season, it seemed the lighter SEAT Léon had the championship all sewn up, but a change in fortunes at Donington Park two weeks ago saw VX Racing halve the gap in the title chase after scoring three podiums in as many races.

    Now the squad is hoping to narrow the gap further as it arrives in Norfolk for the fastest venue on the BTCC calendar. The long straights at Snetterton should play right into the hands of the Astra Sport Hatch, which has one of the best straight line speeds of all its competitors.

    "Making up so much ground on SEAT at Donington has given us something to fight for," said John Morton, VX Racing's Technical Director. "If we're in with a sniff of getting that Manufacturer's Championship then we'll be mad for it.

    "The data shows a lot of potential in the car but so far we've not fully exploited it either because of crash damage, inexperience or failures.

    "Snetterton should see a turnaround. Since last year the main change with the car has been a more powerful engine and Snetterton is the circuit where that will give us the biggest advantage. It's basically a series of long straights, so engine power is vital."

    Snetterton is the favourite circuit of VX Racing's prodigy, Tom Chilton. "Last year I got two wins back-to-back and I think I'll be good again in the Vauxhall," said the 21-year-old, from Reigate. "We can run the car a little bit more aggressively because the tyre wear isn't an issue here, which will really help us. We could find ourselves in a good position.

    "To get the most out of this circuit you have to put mind over matter. When you lift off the throttle the weight of the car pitches to the front and you have to floor it to get the front back around. It gets to the point, especially on a circuit like Snetterton, where you just don't lift at all!"

    Fabrizio Giovanardi is keen to put the disappointment of the last race behind him, when Colin Turkington took the race win after passing the Italian on the last corner. "Losing my first win at Donington still hurts but I'm not angry like I was," said the two-times European Touring Car Champion. "I will never make the same mistake - I learn very fast.

    "I know something about Snetterton because I've tested there before but only in the wet. It's quite difficult - really fast - but it's a circuit where drivers can really make the difference. We've taken a big jump on performance. Now we can fight."

    That sentiment is echoed throughout the team. "Vauxhall has got a lot closer to SEAT and we're starting to rattle their cage," added Chilton. "Hopefully we can keep the pressure on."


    BTCC Drivers Championship 2006 (after 18 of 30 races)

    1 Matt Neal (183)
    2 Colin Turkington (161)
    3 Gordon Shedden (130)
    4 Jason Plato (129)
    5 James Thompson (114)
    6 Tom Chilton (86)
    7 Fabrizio Giovanardi (83)
    8 Gavin Smith (82)

    BTCC Manufacturers Championship
    1 SEAT (357)
    2 Vauxhall (321)

    BTCC Teams Championship
    1 Team Halfords (296)
    2 SEAT Sport UK (254)
    3 Team RAC (216)
    4 VX Racing (214)
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