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O'Neill aims to impress at Oulton Park BTCC races

Friday, June 03 2011

Fans' favourite Paul O'Neill heads to Oulton Park this weekend (4/5 June) with high hopes of a good result at his local circuit. The British Touring Car Championship driver rarely needs a reason to smile but performing well in front of his home crowd will certainly see him grinning from ear to ear.

Nine years ago Paul scored his maiden victory in the BTCC when he was a works driver with the Triple 8 Vauxhall team back in 2002. However ill health put a hold on his racing career and after a few seasons campaigning an ageing Honda Integra that last saw championship success five years ago, the Widnes-based driver is back in a front-running car.

However it hasn't been a fairytale story so far in 2011. With a deal being done less than a month before the opening round of the season and little time to get used to the car, results were hard to come by, despite a podium at Brands Hatch. This culminated in a point-free weekend at Thruxton but with a break after the rush of the initial rounds and recent rule changes providing a boost to normally-aspirated machinery such as his Chevrolet Cruze, theres every chance that Paul will be able to capitalise on his home advantage.

"If we can get the weight out of the car that we are now allowed to take out, then that is going to help us move up a few places in qualifying and get into the top ten," Paul said. "Then we can focus on building on that in the races. The lower base weight is a start, but we found a few things on the car that we wanted to look at and the guys have worked hard to make some changes ahead of the weekend. I'm sure the car will be mint and it's going to be interesting to see what impact those changes have when we hit the track.

"Oulton Park is my home track and I do a lot of work there so I'm keen to see what we can do this weekend. I want to put on a good show and it's vital that we have a good weekend. We can't afford to have another weekend like Thruxton, and we won't have another one like that."

O'Neill's ride for this season is in a GM-manufactured car that saw championship success in the hands of Jason Plato, just as it was in 2002. Does this bode well for the weekend? "I'm looking for big things", Paul said, "and the whole team have the appetite to do well."

Raceday tickets for the BTCC at Oulton Park this weekend are available on the gate for £30. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click the link below.