Rockingham first appeared on the BTCC calendar in 2003
(Photo from: www.btcc.net)
Seven rounds down, three to go as the British Touring Car Championships heads into the finals stages of the 2017 season, with four drivers realistically in the race for the title. 2017 has provided many ups and downs throughout with this weekend expected to be no different as the series heads to Rockingham for races 22, 23 and 24.
Rockingham is the Britain’s newest circuit having been completed in 2001, located two miles away from Corby, Northamptonshire. As well as Rockingham being the newest circuit in Britain it is also the only banked oval in the country and the first since the closure of Brooklands in 1939. In doing so, it also became Europe’s fastest circuit and was initially used for the CART Championship in both 2001 and 2002, races won by Giles de Ferran and Dario Franchitti.
Since 2002 the entire oval has not been used for a major event although it remained in use annually until the end of 2007. Since then the infield has been used to host series’ such as the BTCC as well at GT racing and single seater championships.
Leading up to the three races this weekend many at the top of the championship standings have spoken to the press as the battle intensifies for this season’s crown.
Before looking ahead to this weekend Andrew Jordan has taken responsibility for the crash in race 2, which saw himself, Senna Proctor and Stephen Jelley heavily affected by contact. Jordan ran into the rear of Matt Neal’s Team Dynamics Honda after the triple champion had backed off from a fight with Tom Ingram and Proctor. This then caused the carnage that ensued with Proctor’s Vauxhall facing the wrong way which was collected by Jelley. For his part in the crash Jordan was fined £1000 and give three points on his licence.
Following the events of the three races of Knockhill many teams at the front have spoken out about the boost level of their cars in comparison to their rivals, namely Honda, BMW and Subaru.
Both Team Dynamics and WSR have voiced their concerns over the levels of boost the Subaru’s have in comparison to their cars, following the three races at Knockhill. However Subaru driver James Cole has responded following his strongest ever BTCC race weekend by saying “Were there any issues at Thruxton when they had a bazillion Hondas at the front?”
Regarding the top teams Honda has also announced that team orders will be in play from now on in a bid to help Gordon Shedden win his third championship in a row. The Scotsman is currently third, twelve points behind current leader Colin Turkington whereas teammate Matt Neal is sixth, 92 points behind the lead. Although it is still mathematically possible for Neal to win his fourth title, all efforts will be towards Shedden’s own bid for a fourth title.
Rockingham has always been a circuit which has favoured cars with low amounts of drag and rear wheel drive, so expect to see the BMW’s and Subaru’s up the front once more. Qualifying will be live on the ITV Motorsport website from 3:30 with the three races being shown live on ITV4 on Sunday. The times of each race are:
Race 1: 11:37
Race 2: 13:57
Race 3: 16:40