BTCC post-Oulton Park news round-up

Ford team mates Alain Menu and Anthony Reid go into this weekend's BTCC finale neck and neck in the battle for the drivers' championship, with the third Ford driver Rickard Rydell the only other man still in with an outside chance of taking the crown

BTCC post-Oulton Park news round-up

'Mr Consistency' Reid's excellent weekend at Oulton Park (where he picked up a win and a second place) has put him well clear in the overall points standings (196 to 184), but once the series requirement that all drivers must drop their worst four scores is factored in, he and Menu are effectively level.

Assuming both score reasonably well at Silverstone, Reid will then have to drop 14 points and Menu two, which brings them both to a theoretical starting point of 182...

Rydell's win-or-bust season means he can count all his scores, but he's still behind on 165, with a mountain to climb to win it. The Swede has to gain a whopping 28 points (33 is a maximum) to overhaul Reid. That's because the Scot's minimum final score is 193 points (two fat zeroes at Silverstone for him would be replaced by a six and a five in his final tally).

That calculation also finally puts Vauxhall's Yvan Muller out of the picture. The Frenchman's theoretical best score (with a 33-point Silverstone maximum) is 192 - one away from Reid's 193 minimum.

So, Reid has the comfort of points in the bag, but he also has to focus on the number 40. That's the weight disadvantage in kilos he will suffer in comparison to Menu, thanks to the success ballast picked up at Oulton.

"I'm still confident, though," said Reid. "My Mondeo seems to be carrying the extra weight pretty well now, and I out-qualified Alain at Brands Hatch, when I was on 40 kilos and he had nothing, so there's everything to play for."

Menu has to score well at Silverstone to win it. He must score a minimum of 11 points to move into the equation and then be sure to out-point his Scottish rival. With the likes of Jason Plato, James Thompson, Rydell and Tom Kristensen all running without success ballast and desperate to finish the season on a high, it's set to be some finale.

The battle for the Class B title also goes down to the wire between Alan Morrison and James Kaye, with Peugeot's Morrison on top, but not out of sight, and unlikely to benefit from the support of a second Peugeot due to the next round of the National Saloon Championship being at Spa a week later.

Chris Hodgetts, the last driver to win two back-to-back BTCC titles (in 1986 and '87), is planning to return to the series in 2001 as a team owner.

Hodgetts wants to run a two-car team with Clio championship front-runner Daniel Buxton as one of his drivers. "We're just waiting to see the final details of the privateer support package," said Hodgetts. "If they're right we'll definitely do it."

Former Nissan test driver, and Renault Spider Champion Bryce Wilson is to drive the RJN Motorsport Class B Nissan Primera in the final rounds of the championship at Silverstone on Saturday.

Andy Middlehurst drove the car at Oulton Park, but already has a clashing commitment at the Goodwood Revival meeting next weekend. Middlehurst made steady progress in sorting the Primera over the Oulton weekend, finishing fifth in class in the sprint race, but dropping out of the feature race with a blown engine.

"It was virtually untested before the weekend," he said. "We're working through a long list of things to sort, and it's going faster every time we go out."

The BTCC's caretaker boss (Brands Hatch Leisure's Mike Debono) says he hopes to be able to present a precis of the definitive 2001 BTCC sporting regulations (which cover things like race formats and privateer support packages) at Silverstone this weekend.

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