|The Porsche Carrera Cup GB pack in action at Donington. Thruxton is sure to provide them with a big Challenge|
The Hampshire track comes at the end of a busy period of three weekends and six races in five weeks. Thruxton is the fastest track on the calendar for the 450bhp 911 GT3 Cup cars, with a lap record at more than 113mph, and the notoriously abrasive surface at the Hampshire track always offers the potential for unpredictable races.
April has been a very good month so far for Redline Racing’s Meadows. With a busy start to the season, it was vital to hit the ground running and Meadows has done just that. Currently, the Banbury racer has an eleven-point championship lead but he knows well enough that one non-finish will wipe that out, and more. However, if Meadows maintains his current form through the Thruxton weekend, he will go into the six-week break until the next races with an advantage in both points and psychology. Ominously for his rivals, Michael set the pace in pre-race testing at Thruxton before Easter.
Leading the chase of Meadows right now is Lithuanian racer Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) and he has been on the podium every time out so far. Gelzinis has the natural speed to take the fight to Meadows and a debut overall Carrera Cup victory in Hampshire would be a major boost to his title ambitions.
Three fine young racers from Yorkshire pack out the front end of the grid for Team Parker Racing and it is Richard Plant who bagged victory in the opening race at Brands Hatch when Meadows was penalised for running wide. However, Plant has had a run of poor fortune since then and will be determined to get back onto the podium. Sam Tordoff will be right up there and so, too, will be Carrera Cup Scholarship racer Daniel Lloyd who has already starred with two podiums and some mighty performances.
Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) will be eager to bounce back from a shunt last time out at Donington and get back onto the podium as he races at Thruxton for the first time, while Glynn Geddie (Redline Racing) and Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) fly the St Andrew’s cross in style.
Heading to Thruxton, Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) has built a handy 15-point lead in the Pro-Am1 category after an impressive double win at Donington. Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) stands out as the big challenger to Al Harthy at this point of the season, but a gaggle of other quick drivers are all chasing a share of the Pro-Am1 glory. The hard-charging Michael Leonard (Naas Court Hotel with Parker), Oly Mortimer (GT Marques) and Spanish racer Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air) are all podium contenders, while George Brewster (Celtic Speed) and Liphook’s Keith Webster (Redline/Marque 1) add to the depth of quality in the category.
Pro-Am2 is headed by Carrera Cup newcomer Tania Mann (SIBSport) and the Australian lady is showing impressive form as she learns about racing at this level. Her main rival should be Lithuanian businessman Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing).
After qualifying at 14.35 on Saturday, round five will start at 12.20 on Sunday, with round six at 16.25. Both races are due to be broadcast live on ITV4 during the extensive BTCC programme.
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