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    After securing its 101st British Touring Car Championship win at Brands Hatch yesterday, Vauxhall has confirmed it will be running in the championship next year.

    The Luton-based manufacturer’s Brand Manager, Stuart Harris, said the decision was made easy by the growing popularity of the championship – Britain’s best attended domestic series – which now regularly attracts TV audiences approaching one million viewers.

    “The British Touring Cars is definitely on the ascent,” said Harris, who has not yet confirmed which model will be used in 2007. “The competition is diversifying with more teams entering and larger grids, which is attracting a great fan base – we’d be crazy to pull out now.

    “There’s no denying that 2006 has been a difficult year for us but that’s all the more reason to redouble our efforts, regroup and attack."

    Next year will see the new Super 2000 touring car rules introduced and, whichever car Vauxhall decides to race, any BTCC campaign will involve extensive development.

    VX Racing’s Team Principal, Ian Harrison, is looking forward to the challenge. “It’s fantastic news that Vauxhall has committed to the touring cars for 2007,” he said. “We never take anything for granted and we know we’ve got to try to improve for next year. It’s going to be a tough season with the new rules but exciting too.

    ”We know what a great position we’re in with Vauxhall. We’ve got a partnership in its tenth year now and long may it continue.”

    Development of the new engine has already begun, ahead of schedule, and the team has an extensive testing schedule planned for the off-season.

    In the meantime, Vauxhall is concentrating on extending its impressive tally of wins, when the BTCC arrives at Silverstone in three weeks’ time.