Monday, 22 September 2014

FIA World RX 2014: Solberg takes Win No.4 in Germany

Petter Solberg established an early advantage at Red Kiwi World RX of Germany, round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, after a second and third fastest heat time projected the Championship leader to the top of the Intermediate Points. Team Peugeot-Hansen continued its run of good form with Timur Timerzyanov second overnight, while Team EKS driver Mattias Ekstrom is third in an Audi S1 Quattro Supercar.

A record-breaking 41 Supercars started today’s German RX event, which also forms the penultimate round of this year’s highly-competitive European Rallycross Championship (Euro RX).  Based 20 miles south of Hamburg, Estering is the second oldest track used in World RX having hosted international events since 1973. Eight German drivers are competing on home soil this weekend including World Touring Car team owner and driver Rene Munnich who made his long-awaited debut in the Audi A3 Supercar but had a torrid day after retiring from both heats.

Ekstrom posted the quickest time during free practice but it was Euro RX points leader Robin Larsson who clocked the quickest time in heat one with a time of 2m36s. Petter Solberg was second fastest, while his older brother Henning took third in his Monster Energy backed Citroen DS3 Supercar.

“I love this circuit – it’s really technical but that first corner can be crazy.  You need to get it just right and there’s more pressure with so many cars.  The tiniest mistake can knock you out of a heat and with 40 other cars and with the Championship to think about, I need to get the right balance between flat out and getting through all of the races,” explained Petter Solberg who leads the overall driver standings by 28 points.

Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Andreas Bakkerud also spoke of the difficulties on turn one, which saw the driver break his car’s suspension during the first heat.  The Norwegian explained: “There is a lot of traffic on the first corner, and I could feel the car start to dance. I managed to get round the corner but then I lost control again and the car was everywhere. I could see Anton [Marklund] and Davy [Jeanney] behind and I started to panic but they were gentleman and slowed so they didn’t hit me.  It was really scary but I made it through and now I will push to make the semis tomorrow.”

Ekstrom went on to win heat two, pipping reigning European Champion Timerzyanov to the post by 0.3 seconds. “The joker is what makes this circuit really difficult,” explained Timerzyanov who is currently seventh in the driver standings. “I nearly rolled the car at one point, you need to be very careful.  My times have been good today and now I will get a good night's sleep and hope to be fighting for the win tomorrow.”

Fourth overnight is Euro RX front-runner Tommy Rustad after a sterling drive in his Volvo C30 Supercar. Henning Solberg rounds off the top five and spoke positively about his performance at the end of day press conference: “I’ve been really happy with the car today and have enjoyed the gravel sections of the circuit.  I think we have shown the kind of speed that we should have had in the previous couple of rounds and I’m looking for a place in the final tomorrow.”

Solberg went on to win the Red Kiwi World RX of Germany, round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy in what is the sport’s closest ever finish in its 47-year history. In a nail-biting final race, Solberg pipped Sweden RX winner Mattias Ekstrom to the post by an unbelievable margin of just five thousandths of a second.  Robin Larsson completed the podium line-up finishing third in his Audi A1 Supercar.

Over 10,000 spectators travelled to Estering Circuit in north-west Germany today as mixed weather conditions and a record-breaking entry of 41 Supercars made for action-packed racing.  Amongst the 76 cars entered to compete in SuperCar, TouringCar and Super1600, there were eight local drivers including the likes of six-time Guinness World Record Holder Ronny C Rock and World Touring Car regular Rene Munnich.  As well as World RX, there were also 26 entries in the penultimate round of this year’s FIA European Rallycross Championship (Euro RX), which Ekstrom won.  Euro RX points leader Larsson took second and Tommy Rustad finished third.

“Wow, I don’t know what to say – I don’t think I have seen anything so close in my whole life,” grinned Germany RX winner Solberg who has now extended his World RX Championship lead to 52 points with just three rounds remaining.  “The plan today was not necessarily to win but when I saw Robin’s [Larsson] mistake, I knew I had a chance.  Then on the second last lap I made a mistake – I couldn’t remember if there was one more to go so I hesitated at the joker and lost some time. I heard on the radio that I needed to go flat out to the finish so I really pushed on the last lap. I didn’t even know if I had won when I crossed the line, it was a really incredible moment.”

Despite the closest win in RX history, two-time DTM Champion Ekstrom was satisfied with the runner-up spot. “If you are going to lose, then to lose by five thousandths of a second is not a bad way to do it,” joked Ekstrom whose team-mate Pontus Tidemand finished fourth after reaching his third final this season.  “Of course I really wanted a victory for Audi here but we have two on the podium and three made it to the final with Pontus which is a great result for Audi on its home event.  Congratulations to Petter on his win – you can’t buy a victory, you need to work hard and he certainly did that.  I’m happy with P2.”
One driver who looked likely to become World RX’s seventh different event winner this year was Robin Larsson, whose rapid start off the start awarded the 21-year-old Swede with the Monster Energy Super Charge Award. However, a mistake by Larsson on lap three gave Solberg the opportunity to move in front.  Larsson took up the story: “If you have Petter Solberg behind you, it’s really scary I can tell you. I was nervous and I made a mistake and of course Petter jumped on this and went ahead but I’m really happy to be on the podium for the second time this year.”

Proving that points really do win prizes, Volkswagen Marklund Motorsport’s Topi Heikkinen was catapulted to second in the overall driver standings after finishing fifth in today’s final.  The Finn steadily gathered points throughout the four heats before qualifying for the semis and reaching the all-important final.  Heikkinen’s move up the standings knocked Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss back into third after the 18-year-old Latvian suffered a setback when his car’s turbo failed during heat three.  Despite failing to reach the semis, Nitiss was feeling upbeat: “I have to be happy with the pace even if I didn’t make it past the heats – there were a lot of gravel sections here and I was happy with the driving. There’s still three events left so the Championship title isn’t over but Petter is so fast and of course the gap is bigger than before we came here. We’re leading the Teams’ Championship and to win that title is our ultimate aim.”

Team Peugeot-Hansen was unable to continue the team’s string of podium successes this weekend despite an impressive run in all four heats.  Both drivers were stuck in traffic at turn one of the semis but only Timmy Hansen progressed to the final. The 21-year-old Swede was running fourth for the majority of the race but after taking the joker on the final lap, Hansen dropped back to finish the event sixth overall.

Monster Energy World RX Team’s Henning Solberg was sitting third overnight in the Intermediate Classifications but a broken right steering arm during heat four knocked the Norwegian out of a chance in the semis.  Elsewhere, successful rally driver Ramona Karlsson had a difficult time on her return to World RX. Despite demonstrating raw pace in the Albatec Racing prepared Peugeot 208 Supercar, Karlsson was eventually forced to retire after breaking her car’s steering during the final heat.  “I didn’t get the best start, dropping a few places, but then took a hit on lap two which broke the steering,” explained Karlsson who is also an FIA Women in Motorsport Commission member. “Coming into turn two I just couldn’t steer and went off into the gravel, out on the spot.  It was a disappointing end to the day, as I desperately wanted to reach the semi finals this weekend, but that’s rallycross. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed driving the car and working with the entire team, it’s the most fun I’ve had for a long time.”
Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG Motorsports, concluded: “Today we witnessed one of the closest finishes there’s ever been and the organisers have done a tremendous job at dealing with such a huge entry of cars. For two drivers to be separated by five thousandths of a second is really incredible and helps to demonstrate how extremely close racing RX creates. We also saw four manufacturers in the final today which goes to show just how diverse an entry that Germany RX delivered this weekend.  With Ford Olsbergs MSE leading a three-horse race in the Teams’ Championship, our next event in Italy is shaping up to be pivotal in the title chase. Today delivered one of the best TV shows that motorsport can offer and again goes to show the true potential of our fledging World Championship – well done to all the teams and drivers for putting on such a fantastic show.”

Round 10 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will take place at the all-new RX track of Franciacorta in Brescia, Italy next week (27-28 September). 

Petter Solberg (PSRX), 212 points
Topi Heikkinen (VW Marklund), 160 points
Reinis Nitiss (Ford Olsbergs MSE), 158 points
Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Olsbergs MSE), 136 points
Timur Timerzyanov (Peugeot-Hansen), 128 points
Anton Marklund (VW Marklund), 124 points


Ford Olsbergs MSE, 294 points
Volkswagen Marklund, 284 points
Team Peugeot-Hansen, 250 points
PSRX, 204 points
Monster Energy World RX Team, 81 points
Albatec Racing, 32 points

Sunday, 7 September 2014

FIA World RX 2014: Solberg wins in France

Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen made a head start over the 36 other Supercar drivers competing at World RX of France after winning the opening two heats in Loheac. Current Championship leader Petter Solberg held second overnight in his PSRX run Citroen DS3 with EKS RX driver Pontus Tidemand third in an Audi S1 Quattro Supercar.

However it was Solberg who went on to win the Supercar Final and take his third World RX win of 2014.

American Gymkhana star Ken Block set the quickest time during Saturday morning’s free practice but incurred a 30 second penalty after failing to take the joker lap during heat one. Block and his Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta quickly fought back to finish heat two second fastest and was 13th at the intermediate points stage. Block explained: “I made a dumb mistake not taking the joker in the first heat but I honestly thought I had one more lap to go. I came here to win so I will come back tomorrow and do the best I can.”

One driver who shone from start to finish was Sweden’s Timmy Hansen. The 21-year-old was a model of consistency as he stormed to two consecutive heat wins in the Peugeot 208 Supercar. “It’s been an incredible day – to be leading for Peugeot on its home event in front of all these passionate fans feels amazing,” explained Hansen. “To do well in Loheac it’s really important to be quick off the line and fortunately we had good starts on both of our heats. The track also allows me to go flat out in a lot of places which I love doing. What is even better is that my brother Kevin Hansen won the Swedish national championship back home and he did it at exactly the same time as I was winning heat two, it’s been a perfect day.”

Another driver in high spirits was EKS RX driver Pontus Tidemand. “This is the best day I’ve had in RX so far,” grinned the reigning Junior World Rally Champion. “The competition is very tough with a lot of local drivers but I’m come here feeling confident after my WRC2 win at Rallye Deutschland last month and feeling good with the car. Now our aim is to be on the podium and to be back in the press conference.”

Fourth in the standings is Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss who was full of praise for the French RX round. “I love the Loheac circuit – it’s just like a karting circuit and it suits me really well. I won here last year in the Super1600s and want to do well again this year. Today we got stuck in a bit of traffic, especially in turn one but we made it through and now we will make some small changes to the car’s set-up and suspension before we get back in the game again tomorrow.”

Jerome Grosset-Janin leads out of the 16 French Supercar drivers competing on home soil as the reigning French Rallycross Championship rounds off the top five. Fellow countryman Gaetan Serazin is ninth and Fabien Pailler – who is currently leading the French national championship – is 10th.

Elsewhere, it was a difficult day for the Monster Energy World RX Team. Frenchman Davy Jeanney was excluded from heat one due to a technical infringement with his Citroen DS3 Supercar but recovered in heat two to post the third quickest time. Volkswagen Marklund’s Anton Marklund and Topi Heikkinen are sixth and 16th respectively, with both drivers reporting that the team will work on the car’s set-up overnight.  Andy Scott lies inside the top 12 for Albatec Racing as a race win in heat two sees him finish Saturday 11th overall.

Norway’s Petter Solberg took a sensational victory at today’s World RX of France, round eight of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy. The result marks the third win of the season for PSRX driver Solberg as the former WRC Champion extends his lead at the top of the overall World RX standings. Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss and Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen finished second and third respectively.

Blazing sunshine greeted more than 70,000 fans at Loheac in north-west Brittany over the weekend to watch 79 cars battle it out across the Supercar plus the Super1600 and TouringCar categories. As well as an experienced field of 32 French drivers, the line-up in France also included star-studded names such as American Gymkhana star Ken Block who made his second appearance in World RX – and finished fourth.

“I’m tired, exhausted, sweaty and happy - this has been an unbelievable weekend,” grinned Solberg who is a likely contender of becoming the first double winner of two FIA World Championships. “Yesterday was not perfect – we struggled with tyrewear but my mechanics worked really hard on the car [Citroen DS3 Supercar] until 1am this morning and I noticed a big change overnight. I have a lot of new parts for the next race in Germany so as long as we keep scoring points, everything looks very good for the Championship. My son [Oliver] also won the Swedish Championship in crosskart this weekend so it’s been a really great weekend all round.”

Successfully pushing Ford Olsbergs MSE back to the top of the Teams’ Championship this weekend was Reinis Nitiss who finished on the podium for the fourth time this season. “Last year I won in Super1600 in Loheac so I am really happy to be back on the podium again but this time in the Supercar. I love this event – there are so many fans and the circuit is amazing with lots of flat out sections.” Team-mate Andreas Bakkerud won heat four but was unable to match of his competitors during the semis in order to reach the final.

Arguably the most impressive drive of the weekend was that of Timmy Hansen for Team Peugeot-Hansen.  After winning three out of the four heats and showing an extraordinary pace in the Peugeot 208 Supercar, the Swedish driver was on course to take a win for Peugeot on its home event. “I am a little disappointed to finish third but I know that I won’t be tomorrow morning as it is a great result for the team,” explained 21-year-old Hansen at the end of day press conference. “I gambled a bit in the semi-finals – I had the RPM too low and didn’t have the best start. I was at the back of the grid for the final but I think I had one of the best races of my life as I fought my way up to second place before dropping to third. I know we’ve had a fast car this year and I’m really happy to have been able to have been able to produce a podium for Peugeot in front of the manufacturer’s home crowd.”

Timur Timerzyanov made it a two-car final for Team Peugeot-Hansen but a race tussle on turn three saw the Russian hit a wall and break his car’s steering. Despite the retirement, Timerzyanov ended the event in sixth place and helped Team Peugeot-Hansen close the gap on VW Marklund in the Teams’ Championship.     

America’s Ken Block put on a tremendous show for the huge amount of Hoonigan Racing fans that attended Loheac over the weekend.  After a string of top times including a second fastest time in heat two, Block and his Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ended the event fourth overall. 
Team EKS RX driver Pontus Tidemand was awarded the Monster Energy Super Charge Award after his rapid pace off the line during today’s all-important final.  In what was only his fourth World RX outing this year, Tidemand has consistently challenged the World RX permanent drivers in the Audi S1 Quattro Supercar and is proving to be one of the sport’s brightest prospects after finishing fifth.

Volkswagen Marklund Motorsport had a weekend of mixed results after the team reported difficulties with finding the right car set-up.  Team-mates Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund both made it through to the semis but missed out on a spot in the final after finishing fourth and fifth in their race. Heikkinen has slipped down the overall drivers’ standings to third place, nine points behind Nitiss.  Marklund remains fifth overall.

Albatec Racing’s Andy Scott showed good pace over the course of the weekend, making the semis for the Scottish-based team.  David Binks, who stepped in for regular World RX driver Jacques Villeneuve, made it an all-British team but the Englishman was unable to match the pace of the hugely competitive field of drivers in Loheac and was knocked out at the Intermediate Classification.

Monster Energy World RX Team’s Davy Jeanney finished third at last year’s Loheac RX and was a firm favourite with the home crowd.  However, a technical infringement following heat one saw the Frenchman disqualified and dashed the hopes of seeing him progress to the semis despite finishing second-quickest in heat two.  Team-mate Henning Solberg demonstrated good pace during the heats but was plagued by car issues which prevented him from going further.

Elsewhere, it was a strong event for the 18 French Supercar drivers who competed on home soil.  Reigning French Rallycross Champion Jerome Grosset-Janin was sixth at the Intermediate Classification stage but was caught in race traffic at turn one in the semis which caused significant damage to his car.  Serazin Gaetin also reached the semis but failed to make the final.

Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG Motorsport, concluded: “Loheac is home to rallycross in France and it’s not difficult to see why – the track, the atmosphere and the fans who come to Loheac make this one of the best events in the World RX calendar.  We always knew it would be tough to beat last year’s attendance figures as we had home hero Sebastien Loeb competing but I’ve been informed that we had over 70,000 spectators over the course of the weekend which is fantastic news for our growing Championship.  Congratulations once again to Petter for becoming the first driver in World RX to take a hat-trick of wins, he looked untouchable in the Citroen DS3 during the final and is an incredibly talented driver.  It is excellent to see Reinis back on the podium again, and of course I am delighted that Team Peugeot-Hansen have finished on the podium at Peugeot’s home event. Both Timmy and the entire teams have worked extremely hard this year and thoroughly deserve a podium here in France.”

Round nine of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will take place at Estering in Germany in two weeks time (20-21 September).  Entries for World RX of Germany will be announced next week.



1. Petter Solberg (PSRX), 185 points
2. Reinis Nitiss (Ford Olsbergs MSE), 157 points
3. Topi Heikkinen (VW Marklund), 147 points
4. Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Olsbergs MSE), 126 points
5. Anton Marklund (VW Marklund), 124 points
6. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot-Hansen), 118 points 


1. Ford Olsbergs MSE, 281 points
2. Volkswagen Marklund, 269 points
3. Team Peugeot-Hansen, 227 points
4. PSRX, 176 points
5. Monster Energy World RX Team, 79 points
6. Albatec Racing, 32 points

Saturday, 6 September 2014

BTCC 2014: The Turk rules at Rockingham

Rockingham was host to the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship which saw its Eighth weekend of racing as the series entered the final nine races that will see this years champion crowned.

MG’s Sam Tordoff has scored his second ever British Touring Car Championship pole position with the MGs being split by championship leader Colin Turkington in second.

Tordoff was on top for most of the session, rising to the top of the times inside the first ten minutes. Tordoff and Plato then proceeded to improve their times at the top, before Turkington split the duo inside the final two minutes of the session. Despite posting the second fastest time, Turkington was still 0.484 seconds off the pole pace.

It is Tordoff’s second-ever pole in the BTCC and his first of the season. The MG driver also starts from first for the opening race of the day for the second consecutive meeting, after inhering pole at Knockhill last time out.

Plato ended up third, unable to respond to the championship leader with his final timed lap. The former champion will nevertheless keep the position, after having his earlier grid penalty overturned.

Gordon Shedden was fourth fastest, ahead of Andrew Jordan in fifth, who ended the session early complaining of set-up difficulties.

Adam Morgan was sixth fastest in his WIX Racing Mercedes, ahead of the third MG of Marc Hynes in seventh, who enjoyed his strongest qualifying session in the BTCC to-date.

Team BMR’s Alain Menu was in the top ten for the sixth time this season in eighth, with Honda’s Matt Neal and Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson completing the top ten.

There were problems for a number of drivers further down the order in the half hour session. Tom Ingram (12th) and Hunter Abbott (31st) both endured off-track excursions at the Tarzan Hairpin early on, whilst Welch Motorsport’s Ollie Jackson and United Autosport’s Glynn Geddie both stopped on the circuit with mechanical problems.

Colin Turkington would go on to victory in the opening British Touring Car Championship race, beating poleman Sam Tordoff away from the line at the start and pulling clear thereafter.

Turkington was unchallenged in the race to take his seventh victory of the season and further extend his championship lead. Tordoff was forced to settle for second, unable to challenge Turkington once the BMW driver’s tyres were up to temperature.

Jason Plato finished the race in third, scoring his tenth podium of the season, having not been close enough to challenge his team-mate in front.

Finishing in a season-best fourth was Alain Menu, who continued to make progress in the race despite running on the softer option tyres. Menu pulled off convincing passes on several drivers at the Tarzan hairpin including a pass on both the Airwaves drivers of Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson on lap eight. He then set about and caught Jordan, and closed a near two second gap to Adam Morgan in the closing laps of the race.

Morgan himself was forced to settle for fifth after Menu caught and passed him on the penultimate lap, extending his run of top tens to eight in a row.

Reigning champion Jordan finished the race in sixth, ahead of Italian Giovanardi in seventh, who got past his team-mate on lap ten.

Eighth was Shedden, with the Scot losing ground on lap four when trying to pass Plato for a podium position. The Scot had a look at the MG driver into Gracelands but made contact, pitching him into a slide which lost him a handful of positions.

Completing the top ten were Airwaves Racing’s Jackson and Team BMR’s Jack Goff, who was forced to defend heavily on the final lap as eBay Motors’ Rob Collard and Exocet Racing’s Rob Austin looked to gain positions.

There was one safety car intervention for two laps during the race, which came about as a result of a big accident between Lea Wood and Warren Scott on lap five. Wood entered the turn two hairpin backwards, possibly as a result of contact, and hit the front-left of Scott’s car, causing significant damage to both cars.

United Autosport’s James Cole also failed to finish the race, having earlier been collected by BTC Racing’s Chris Stockton.

Colin Turkington was in dominant form as he took his second British Touring Car Championship victory of the day  finishing ahead of Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff.

Turkington led the entire race after a perfect getaway that gave him a clear advantage on the opening lap. In the end the eBay Motors driver was able to win by a massive 8.081 seconds.

Plato, who got the jump on team-mate Tordoff at the start of the race, had no answer for the Northern Irishman, and was two seconds down after just two laps.

Tordoff was third, despite losing out to Alain Menu on the opening lap of the race. However the Yorkshireman got back past the former champion a couple of laps later to take his second podium of the day, and only his fourth of the season.

Andrew Jordan was fourth, finishing as the top driver on the soft tyre after making up four places in the second half of the race. Rob Austin finished in fifth, following Jordan’s progress through the field despite running on the standard tyre.

Menu finished sixth, losing out to Jordan and Austin in the second half of the race. The Volkswagen driver will, however, start the final race from pole position after his number was selected for the reverse-grid draw.

Mat Jackson was seventh, ahead of Gordon Shedden in eighth whilst Rob Collard and Hunter Abbott completed the top ten, with the latter equalling his best race in the BTCC to-date.

Fabrizio Giovanardi finished in 11th position, having been earlier running as high as sixth. The Italian was once again found battling hard with team-mate Jackson, who found his way past on lap three at Yentwood with slight contact between the two Fords.

WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan was running in seventh position early on in the race, and was in ninth before slowing on lap seven with mechanical problems in his Mercedes. Also retiring from the race were Chris Stockton and Aiden Moffat, who made contact on the opening lap of the race.

Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram and eBay Motors’ Nick Foster both retired from the race with two laps left to run whilst running in the final two points positions.

Rob Austin emulated his 2013 success by taking victory in the final British Touring Car Championship race at Rockingham with a dominant display.

Austin used his rear-wheel drive advantage to get ahead of pole man Menu before turn one and never looked back, opening up a 1.5 second lead in his Audi A4 to take his second ever win in the series at the same venue he took his first victory.

Menu himself held on to finish in second and score his first podium since 2000, unable to close in on Austin and challenge for the win.

Reigning champion Andrew Jordan finished in third, scoring his first podium finish since Croft in June. The Pirtek Racing driver had to withstand heavy pressure from Turkington, although the championship leader settled for fourth in the end.

Mat Jackson scored his third top ten finish of the day in fifth and was involved in a close battle with Rob Collard, who finished in sixth.

MG duo Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff finished in sixth and seventh, with the latter passing Fabrizio Giovanardi for eighth three laps from the chequered flag.

Matt Neal finished in ninth and was the sole driver for the team to score points after title contender Gordon Shedden retired on the opening lap. The Scot had damage to the front-right of his car after contact with another driver.

There was a high attrition rate during the race, with nine drivers failing to finish. Marc Hynes retired on the opening lap along with Hunter Abbott after contact, whilst Adam Morgan also pulled into the pits with damage to his Mercedes. Aiden Moffat stopped exiting turn one with some emanating from his car, whilst Jack Goff stopped on the final lap after having been running in the top ten.

All of this now means that Turkington is 55 points ahead of Plato in the Drivers Championship, with Shedden slipping back to third place, 9 points behind Plato and out of the Championship hunt.

As the series moves to Silverstone in three weeks time, the scenario is simple: if Turkington can outscore Plato by 12 points, he will be Champion. However with Silverstone favouring the MG in the past couple of seasons, it may go down to the wire again at Brands Hatch.

Once again, after Rockingham, further comments were made about the state of play in the BTCC. Jason Plato has said he will now look to win the "Proper Championship" which he leads behind Colin Turkington who "is in a championship of his own." Plato has also stated that his plans for 2015 remain fluid until TOCA outline what changes, if any, are made to be made to the NGTC regulations. Rumours have come about suggesting that Plato could be in a WSR BMW next year.

Thats something I find difficult to believe

Now Jason works hard to setup a good sponsorship package and sets out to reward this by good on track performance. But remember that MG are in their final year of contract with Plato and although there has been race wins, there has been no title glory, something that weighs heavily with Plato. So if he decides to leave MG, then he will leave to pastures new.

Thats something I find easy to believe.

In another related issue, Matt Neal has spoken out about the lack of equilibrium in regards of Turbo Boost regulation. 15 of this years NGTC cars use the Swindon built TOCA engine. However with Honda considering using the Civic Type R next year, he has warned tha Honda would consider leaving the BTCC if the boost issue is not resolved. The team use Neil Brown Engineering built engines, as do WSR and they always seem to have a boost reduction before racing at the more faster circuits on the calendar.

This is due to the excellent chassis built by Team Dynamics that makes up for this issue by giving excellent handling. However Neal has expressed the manufacturers strong unhappiness at boost regulation, something the fans have been unhappy with since 2011, to the fact that TOCA are trying to force out Honda by giving them a boost reduction instead of staying level with the TOCA engines.

Allied to this, remember that Honda is re-entering F1, potentially affecting the WTCC and BTCC programmes and the fact that the budget for the 2015 BTCC is not yet confirm could see Honda leave the series if not agreed.

This I could believe to happen.

Now, this all means that both of this years Works teams have now openly challenged TOCA over performance and regulation of the NGTC regs. Alan Gow has defended the championship and its regulations, but what this also means is that over the off season, we will see a lot of change in the BTCC, whether this is teams leaving the series or drivers moving teams.

But one thing is for certain. The sporting regulations will change. TOCA is always predictable in doing this to try and give the best show and it will react, not proact, to these comments made by Plato and Neal.

Lets just hope that the championship doesn't lose its status as the best Touring Car series in the world because of unhappy teams, drivers and fans who are fed up with comments made during and after a BTCC weekend that overshadows the racing.

Something has to be done.