VX Racing heads to Snetterton for rounds 25, 26 and 27 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, and the penultimate race weekend of the year. Yvan Muller retains his lead in the drivers' championship, just three points ahead of team mate James Thompson, but with a maximum of 49 points on offer both will be racing for victory.
The clear lead established by VX Racing in the team, manufacturers' and drivers' championships in the early rounds has been steadily eroded, but after a bruising weekend at Brands Hatch the Vauxhall works team has again pulled away from the chasing pack in an ongoing game of cat and mouse.
Tension is mounting as the season draws to a close and with just three points between Muller, the reigning champion, and former champion Thompson it couldn't get any closer. Thompson says "There really is nothing between me and Yvan at the moment, we are very closely matched. We have said it all along, but it is more than likely that the championship will be decided by mechanical failure or an accident rather than anything else. It would be a shame if that were to happen, but we will just have to wait and see. The other teams and drivers are also very close to us and so it is not over yet."
Frenchman, Muller comments "Jimmy and I are very similar, and we are driving the same car, so it is not a surprise that we are so close. The gap between us has never been more than six or seven points in the whole season, but with six races to go a lot can happen. There has been some dangerous driving and that could determine the result of the championship. You expect some bumping in BTCC but it is not the way a championship should be decided."
Muller and Thompson will not only be battling each other for points, but also the rest of the field, including VX Racing young gun Luke Hines driving the third Vauxhall Astra Coupe. "I am getting closer and closer to James and Yvan all the time," says Hines. "I am aiming to continue to score points at Snetterton. The circuit should suit the Astra so we'll be on a charge, and hoping for the best results we can. It is almost the end of the season and every point counts. "
VX Racing currently tops the team, manufacturers' and drivers' championships and is looking to extend its lead.
Last time at Snetterton… the first race saw an all-VX Racing podium, but the second race turned into a disaster as both James and Yvan failed to finish
Luke Hines recorded the fastest Production Class lap in both races at Snetterton last year with the quickest time of 1:17.957 in the second race
G'day mate… Yvan has made a flying visit to Australia this week to test in preparation for what is widely known as ‘The great race', Australia's Bathurst 1000
The VX Racing Guide to Snetterton
"Snetterton is a very fast circuit, especially the first corner, Riches, it's a fifth gear corner. You need a different set-up from the rest of the circuits so it can be challenging. There is a long, quick straight and Corham is very slippy and bumpy. There is not much space if you go off, so it's a good place to watch. I'd say either Corham or at the end of the straight are the best places for spectators. You may even get to see three cars side by side at the end of the straight."
Yvan Muller, VX Racing, No.1 Vauxhall Astra CoupePublished 5 September 2004