Vauxhall to stick with Astra

Vauxhall has decided to continue running its ultra-successful Astra Coupe in the British Touring Car Championship this year, rather than switch to the new Vectra

Vauxhall to stick with Astra

The move was confirmed on stage at AUTOSPORT International today (Friday). The Astra Coupe has won the last three drivers' and manufacturers' championships in the BTCC.

"We tested the Vectra and the Astra back-to-back," said Vauxhall motorsport spokesman Stuart Harris. "The Vectra was part of a far bigger programme because it will be racing in 2004 in Germany, but we will be continuing with the Astra Coupe this season."

Vauxhall driver James Thompson, who won the 2002 championship driving an Astra, said: "I think with the Astra the motto is 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' The car is exceptionally good, especially with the team we've got. You only have to look at the fact that in three years, nobody has really challenged us. I think this year we'll move the car on a little bit more and hopefully we'll win some more races."

However, Harris confirmed that Vauxhall will continue the development of the Vectra, and hinted that it could race later this season.

"We are going to continue developing the Vectra programme, in partnership with our guys in Europe," he said. "There is a possibility that the Vectra will make an appearance either this year, or potentially in 2005.

"There are more and more reasons to use a four door car in touring cars, such as aerodynamics and the like. However, we're pretty confident that in 2004 the Astra will do the business for us."

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