The fight to decide the destiny of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is set to further intensify this weekend (August 11/12) as the series heads to Rockingham for rounds 19, 20 and 21.
Following on from a weekend of Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Snetterton last time out, the annual visit to the Corby-based circuit will likely play a pivotal role as drivers battle to stamp their authority heading into the title run-in.
Since the BTCC’s first visit in 2003, Rockingham has continued to deliver a feast of entertainment on its partial-oval 1.94-mile layout. Whilst this weekend marks the seventh stop on the BTCC calendar, it is also set to be the last for at least one year after it was announced that Rockingham would not be part of the 2019 BTCC schedule.
Leading the way to Northamptonshire is Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram who is six points clear of double-champion Colin Turkington. Ingram produced a stellar performance at Snetterton last time out, salvaging his race day with a storming driver from P27 to third in the second encounter, before adding another podium in the Diamond Double.
With two wins to his name and momentum on his side, Ingram has shown no signs of wavering at the moment and his hunt for a maiden BTCC title could well pick up steam at a venue that holds fond memories for himself and the team.
Turkington’s consistency has been second to none this year and the Team BMW driver will be focused on recapturing the points lead he lost last time out.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal currently sits in third and he emerged as the big winner from Snetterton as he closed the gap to summit with victory in the double points race at the Norfolk venue.
Jack Goff, another winner from Snetterton, trails Neal by a single point – meaning the top four are covered by a mere 17 points and that it is all to play for as the title battle heats up.
Beyond the top five sit a host of drivers that are all also on the fringe of the championship battle and one good result away from throwing themselves into further contention. BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan has yet to win but has been in the mix at each event and will be keen to repeat his winning performances of Rockingham from one year ago.
Defending champion Ashley Sutton has the most victories this season, three, but no points in the Diamond Double saw him lose crucial ground in the title race. Tom Chilton, Adam Morgan and Sam Tordoff round out the championship top ten and all three could yet have their say on the title fight too.
Whilst the likes of Daniel Lloyd, Dan Cammish, Senna Proctor, Brett Smith and Jason Plato, amongst others, have all also starred this year and will be focused on adding further strong results.
The BTCC will see three new faces join the fray this weekend too as Ricky Collard replaces father Rob Collard at Team BMW, Glynn Geddie returns to fill the vacant MG seat at AMD Tuning and Ollie Pidgley completes Team HARD’s Volskwagen driver line-up.
With a total of 11 different race winners already and a title race seemingly wide open, the BTCC is for another ultra-competitive weekend as Rockingham signs off.