Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher heads to Yorkshire looking to get its championship challenge back on track as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship gets back underway at Croft Circuit this coming weekend (June 15/16).
The Motorbase-run outfit is eager to recover from a challenging meeting at Thruxton last month. Tom Chilton and Ollie Jackson battled back from a less than perfect start on the Hampshire circuit, with BTCC stalwart Chilton collecting crucial championship points in the final contest of the weekend.
The Reigate-racer arrives in Yorkshire third in the Independent Standings, and 7th overall, and is eyeing a strong haul of points to keep his championship hopes alive.
Team-mate Ollie Jackson is also hopeful of a more fruitful weekend. After falling foul of a number of on-track incidents in the opening three meetings, the 35-year-old is keen to add to his points-scoring tally and break into the top ten.
Historically a circuit which favours rear wheel drive machines, Croft has been a happy hunting ground for the Kent-based squad in recent years. Chilton celebrated his third podium of the year here last season in the Focus RS. The #3 Ford is also lighter this time around, carrying only 18kg of success ballast into qualifying and race 1, so hopes of a return to winning ways on the newly-refurbished track are high.
“Croft will be really interesting this year;” commented Team Manager Oly Collins. “The circuit has been completely resurfaced since we were last there and none of the BTCC guys have been on the new track yet. So we’ll all be learning that together.
“Tom is still in a good position in the championship, but with a little less weight than we’ve been carrying into the last two events. Hopefully, we can capitalise on that and look for a solid points haul this weekend.
“Ollie needs a good weekend of results. The pace has been there but the luck, unfortunately, hasn’t. He’s due a good weekend. We had a strong meeting here last year with podiums and points. Traditionally it’s been a RWD favoured circuit but we competed with them last year so the aim is to achieve the same results again.”
#3 Tom Chilton:
“We ended on a high at Croft last year with P2. We all need to keep that momentum going now to remain in our top position in the championship. It’s all very close at the top as always.
“We can’t afford another bad round like Thruxton. Everybody has been working hard on the car and thinking ahead to Croft.
“We all have a new circuit to work with this year as the tarmac has been resurfaced. It’s a lot smoother now. This will be the same for everybody to learn as nobody has tested on it. We just need to be fast from the minute we start our engine especially now I’m not carrying as much championship ballast going into this weekend. It’s a good opportunity to qualify high and score lots of points.”
#48 Ollie Jackson:
“We’re definitely ready to put Thruxton behind us. One thing it did do was made us have a look at exactly the direction we were heading in. We’re going into Croft a lot stronger as a whole team. The changes we have made will give us a much better chance of finding we need on Saturday to get a strong qualifying result.
“I think the resurfacing at Croft will make things interesting this weekend. The Focus was strong there last year and it’s always been one of my best circuits so hopefully the combination will be good.”
Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Croft Circuit, North Yorkshire on June 15/16. Live coverage of Sunday’s (June 16) events will be shown on ITV4, ITV4HD and via the ITVhub from 11:15 – 18:15; with itv.com/btcc featuring live timing and streaming of Saturday’s (June 15) qualifying session from 15.00.