BTCC news round-up

Ford's high-scoring BTCC drivers have put the marque's points tally in the manufacturers' championship beyond the reach of Vauxhall and Honda - but the Blue Oval cannot yet be officially confirmed as champion

BTCC news round-up

Titles are never officially confirmed until the end of the season, but there could be a potential snag for Ford. The Prodrive-run team still has an appeal to be heard by the sport's governing body, the Motor Sports Association, over Anthony Reid's exclusion at Silverstone in June for an irregularity in his Mondeo's ECU.

If that battle is won, the team's victory margin will be even bigger, but if it loses the penalty could theoretically be made more severe, costing both Reid and Ford points. The appeal is due to be heard on September 6.



The return of Alfa Romeo to the BTCC is set to continue after an impressive debut from the Gary Ayles Racing 156s at Brands Hatch. Both GAR's teenage drivers, Tom Ferrier and Gavin Pyper, lapped on the Class B pace. Ferrier wound up with a third and fourth place, having run a strong second for much of the feature race.

Team boss Gary Ayles said the cars were more competitive than they have been in the National Saloon Championship due to ongoing development. Ayles also pointed out that the series switch means a move from Dunlop tyres to Michelins, for which the car was originally designed by car-builder Bigazzi.

Ayles says his team will now contest both remaining BTCC meetings. He is also hard at work trying to put together a 2001 BTCC programme with the Italian marque's new 147 hatchback. The team entertained several guests from Alfa Romeo at Brands Hatch. Sergio Limone, the man who designed the successful BTCC and DTM 155s, is reported to be hard at work designing a Super Production version of the 147.



The BTCC grid could be up to 23 cars for the penultimate meeting of the season at Oulton Park on September 9/10, as Class B numbers continue to swell. The nine Class B cars seen at Brands Hatch last weekend are all set to reappear.

Dan Eaves will drive the second Peugeot 306 in place of Brands Hatch star Toni Ruokonen and there will be two GR Motorsport Ford Focuses for former Peugeot works driver Simon Harrison and young Fiesta graduate Gareth Howell, as well as a third Nissan Primera.

The third Nissan was built for the Spa 24 Hours by former Nissan Motorsport Europe man Bob Neville and it is set to be driven by former Nissan works driver Andy Middlehurst. In addition it is still possible that Independents' Cup Nissan team PRO Motorsport will field its Super Touring Primera, absent at Brands Hatch, for David Leslie.

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