Thompson's rivals weighed down

Honda's James Thompson believes that the ballast that his rivals will have to carry at the Donington round of the British Touring Car Championship will give him an advantage

Thompson's rivals weighed down

"The weight is going to make a difference. Because we haven't got any weight penalties, we should have an advantage of about three tenths of a second per lap. Hopefully that will help us have a good weekend and get our season going," said the Yorkshireman.

Part of a series of new BTCC rules introduced for 2000, success ballast is added to cars which finish a race, or qualify, in the top three. After his sixth place, and non-finish at Brands Hatch, Thompson's car carries no extra weight whereas his rivals carry between an extra 20kg and 40kg.

"I could have had two podium finishes at Brands if it hadn't been for a spin in the first race and the crash in the second. I feel we didn't do ourselves justice in the first two races - so I want to rectify that at Donington. We started well last year and finished badly; hopefully this year we'll start badly and finish well."

However, the current championship leader, Vauxhall's Jason Plato, is confident that the ballast will not give Thompson a tangible advantage.

"The only effect I think the penalty will have is that it will make the car heavier!" said Plato. "I don't think it will have a crucial effect on the car's performance. If it does make a difference, I hope to be quicker than the others by more than that anyway."

Plato adds: "I'm dead chuffed I'm leading the championship, but it's only by two points and the season's only just started. I'll start thinking about the championship if I'm still in front with two races to go! The best thing about the first meeting was that I won a race with the Vectra and recorded a fastest lap. There's still plenty to come from the car; we have to improve its qualifying set-up and keep on improving its race performance."

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