Drivers prepare for Knockhill battle
The 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has made its annual pilgrimage north of the Scottish border to the unique and undulating Knockhil circuit for rounds 19, 20 and 21. Ahead of what is always a thrill-a-minute race meeting, a number of the drivers have been giving their thoughts and ambitions…
Gordon Shedden: “I think Snetterton was the worst accumulative score Matt and I have ever had at a race weekend! But that round is done and dusted, there’s nothing that we can do about it other than come out fighting at Knockhill – I always look forward to racing north of the border. It’s awesome to race at my home circuit, especially in front of a home crowd – the Scottish love their motor sport and it’s great to be part of that.
“In terms of the circuit, Knockhill is everything that the BTCC is about – a ‘real roller-coaster’. It’s aggressive and always produces spectacular racing. Qualifying is going to be really tight but every cloud has a silver lining and we head into the weekend with slightly less success ballast – we are definitely going to use that to our advantage.”
Matt Neal: “Snetterton’s result is what it is and we have to look forward. We have a great car under us and going into the weekend with significantly less success ballast, we should put in a good performance. Knockhill is very much a rear-wheel-drive circuit and given the strength of the Type R, I’m hopeful that we will be up there with the rest of the real-wheel-drive cars.
“I like Knockhill as a circuit – it’s completely different to everywhere else we visit in the series. We all know that the track breeds very intense racing and for sure qualifying will be extremely close so we can’t afford to make any mistakes. However, the Type R is our potent weapon and having the weight off, we should be somewhere at the sharp end of the pack. Our target as a team is to get some solid points on the board for both ‘Flash’ and I.”
Andrew Jordan: “The guys in the team have been saying that this has never been the MG’s best circuit but I love the place, so hopefully we can get the car somewhere near the front and hustle it around what is a cracking little circuit. It’s tough to guess how much progression has been made since the team last visited; if I’m honest I’m not too sure what the car is going to be like around there but if we can qualify within the top four then I’ll be very happy. It’s a great event though, it’s a very short lap at Knockhill and you don’t get time to take a breather because it is really full-on – there is lots of undulation and big kerbs. I love driving around there because you have to be quite aggressive but that being said you have to be quite disciplined as you’ve always got to keep one eye on attacking and the other on defending. The aim is to bank some solid points and if we are in with a shout of a win or a podium then we have to take it. I said at the start of the season that this championship will be as much about how well you score points on your bad days as opposed to the good ones and I stand by that. We are still in the championship hunt and until it is mathematically impossible then I won’t give up.”
Jack Goff: “It’s great to now be heading into a race weekend as a BTCC winner and the messages of support since Snetterton has been unbelievable; I’ve always had the belief in both myself and the team that we could get the job done. I’m over the moon we did it. Heading to Knockhill, the car in the past has never really been suited there, but with that being said the team have changed a lot of things over the winter with the pace increasing. I’m quite hopeful that we can go there and be on the pace from FP1 straight away, but we’ve got to nail that lap in qualifying. If I got three top five’s or six’s then I would be very happy given how it won’t be one of our strongest circuits. If we set a quick lap time for race two or even luck in on the reverse grid and we’re near the front, I won’t be giving a position up for anybody. Last year was my first time ever competing at Knockhill so I’ve only done a handful of laps there but I loved it – it provides a real challenge. The undulation makes it even harder as well and track knowledge is more of a factor than any of the other circuits we visit so it will be important to bank the laps in practice. I’m really looking forward to the weekend though.”
Adam Morgan: “Things are going ok at the moment, I am happy with third in the independents’ standings but, a top five in the drivers’ championship is our aim this year. The WIX Racing Mercedes-Benz has proved to be ultra-reliable and the Ciceley Motorsport team continue to provide me with a fantastic car every weekend. Qualifying is everything here and luck can have a lot to do with it. There is nearly always waved yellows or a red flag due to cars leaving the track and becoming beached in the gravel trap, you have to get a ‘banker’ in as soon as possible. I do like the track though it’s full on concentration and commitment everywhere.”
Mike Bushell: “I really hope we can build on the top ten result we picked up at Snetterton and have another strong weekend. The aim is to hit the ground running in FP1 and then work to hold onto and build on that pace through Saturday to try and secure a good place on the grid. Having won the Jack Sears Trophy last time out, I want to win it again this weekend and the fact it could be wet should play into my hands as I’ve always been good in wet conditions.
“I have fond memories of Knockhill as I almost scored points on my BTCC debut – ironically before I was taken off by someone in a Ford Focus – and I won there in the Clios last year. I love the circuit and I’m keen to see what progress we’ve made as I know the team has been hard at work on the car to make some changes to help push us forwards. Circuits like Knockhill play to the strengths of the Focus and if we can break into the top ten in race two as we did at Snetterton then we have a chance or benefitting from the reverse grid draw. If we can do that, then anything could happen…”
Aiden Moffat: “I’m absolutely delighted to back at Knockhill this weekend! The car has been repaired and now sports my favourite Knockhill set-up. The team has worked very hard to make sure everything is ready for racing at our favourite circuit and the support and good wishes I’ve had from the fans and fellow BTCC drivers and team members has been amazing — I’m certainly ready to bounce back this weekend!’