Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher on the hunt for highland glory
Team Shredded Wheat with Gallagher heads north of the border this coming weekend as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship arrives at Knockhill Racing Circuit in Fife for its annual Scottish outing.
Just three race meetings remain in the battle for the highly-covered BTCC crown, and with over 200 points still up for grabs, this weekend will play a vital role in keeping the Motorbase-run squad’s title hopes alive as the season enters its final stages.
With four podiums already under his belt, Tom Chilton currently lies tied on points for sixth in the Driver Standings, and is just seven points off fourth place heading into the weekend. The 33-year-old is also within striking distance of the Independents’ Trophy lead as he looks to close the gap at the top of the championship and claim Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s maiden win of the season.
“Last time I raced at Knockhill in a Ford Focus was back in 2011, which saw me qualify in pole position and go on to win the race,” said Chilton. “It would be great if we could repeat history again this weekend.
“I’m gutted I lost a potential win at Rockingham last time out and can’t believe how disappointed I felt with only a third and a 10th. The car has a lot of promise and I need to make sure we maximise the most of what we have this weekend, as I can really feel that win is getting ever so closer.
“I love racing at Knockhill and can’t wait to be back on two wheels having fun again.”
After securing six top 10 finishes in the opening four meetings, James Cole has struggled to unlock the full potential of the RS in recent rounds. However, the 30-year-old is optimistic that the tight and twisty nature of the Scottish track will play to the strengths of the Ford’s chassis and signal a return to the strong form shown at the start of the season.
“Knockhill is unlike any other circuit that we race on in the BTCC. If you like rollercoasters, you’ll like Knockhill! I think it will suit our car,” said Cole. “We’ve been consistent this season, apart from the last couple of rounds where we tried something different. We’ve learnt a lot from that though and can adapt that to what we already have and get back to a car that can challenge in the top five and push for podiums.
“We’ve had a mid-season slump, so we’ve got to pull back up and end the year as we started. Knockhill seems like the best place to do that.”
The unique and much-loved circuit has become a firm favourite for the Kent-based Motorbase outfit in recent years, with the previous Ford Focus ST model taking a fifth win of the season in 2016 and a commanding double podium celebration the year before. Chilton also has a winning past with the blue oval on the picturesque circuit, having taken pole position and a win here in the Ford Focus back in 2011.
Team Manager Oly Collins added: “Knockhill is an awesome challenge for the drivers, engineers and the whole team. We know the Focus has been quick this season and we’re looking to convert that pace into results this weekend.
“With such a short lap it will be as close as ever, and qualifying will be the key to unlocking the chances of a strong weekend. Tom is well placed in the Championship and we’re looking to build on that with only three meetings left. James also needs a turnaround weekend and change in fortunes to make sure that we stay in title fight.”