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VX RACING RETURNS TO SCENE OF RECORD-BREAKING WIN

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  • VX RACING RETURNS TO SCENE OF RECORD-BREAKING WIN

    VX Racing is hoping to maintain its tradition of winning at Donington Park this weekend - a circuit where it has stood at the top of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium for the last five years running.

    It was at the Leicestershire circuit in 2004 that Vauxhall wrapped up the team, manufacturers' and drivers' titles for an unprecedented fourth year in a row, elevating the Vauxhall Astra Coupe into the record books.

    In 2003 the Banbury-based team secured the Manufacturers' Championship at Donington Park with a round still in hand and the year before James Thompson emerged as the 2002 champion at the picturesque venue.

    This year the team has struggled to find its dominant form, but is confident of a good weekend's racing nevertheless.

    "You have to be optimistic going into every weekend," said Gavin Smith, VXR's Irish driver. "Put all the disappointments behind you and focus. The team has made some pretty dramatic changes to the car since Croft and I think they've found a lot of progress so we're going to be quick.

    "I've progressed a lot from last year myself. Looking at my points compared to my team mates, I think I've had more finishes and more fastest laps - I've just been more consistent than them in general. That's all I can compare myself with, so I'm really quite happy."

    Tom Chilton currently has the most points of all three drivers after scoring three podiums. "If the rear suspension hadn't broken at Croft I would have been first or second in that race," said the 21-year-old, from Reigate.

    "It's not as though we're bad on our tyres anymore but we're looking for more. I'm trying a radical new set up at Donington with new springs to improve suspension - I do believe it will work.

    "I've always done well around Donington Park. It's a really exhilarating circuit to drive with the Craner Curves, which drops down a steep hill. I keep my foot flat but if you look at the data you sometime have a little lift even when you didn't mean to. Your leg just comes off the throttle without you knowing it, so you have to concentrate hard on keeping it down. It's worth about a tenth-of-a-second, and that can make all the difference in qualifying."

    Team Principal, Ian Harrison, is also concentrating on the positives. "This is the one time we've been to a track where all the drivers know the circuit, so we'll be able do more constructive work in practice than we've been able to before," he said. "You can't predict motor racing, but we're optimistic."

    BTCC Drivers Championship 2006 (after round 15 of 30)
    1. Matt Neal (167)
    2. Colin Turkington (12
    3. Jason Plato (123)
    4. James Thompson (114)
    5. Gordon Shedden (86)
    6. Tom Chilton (75)
    7. Gavin Smith (59)
    8. Robert Collard (5
    9. Fabrizio Giovanardi (52)
    10. Mike Jordan (49)

    BTCC Manufacturers Championship
    1. SEAT (327)
    2. Vauxhall (250)

    BTCC Teams Championship
    1. Team Halfords (239)
    2. SEAT Sport UK (237)
    3. Team RAC (183)
    4. VX Racing (160)
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