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BMW PAIR DETERMINED TO DEFEND BTCC TITLE LEAD THIS WEEKEND - 29 Jul 2016

Friday, July 29 2016

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship leaders Sam Tordoff and Rob Collard head to Snetterton this weekend (30/31 July) determined to keep the Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M-Sports at the top of the standings.

Collard held the joint points lead of the championship heading into Oulton Park, but Tordoff left the Cheshire circuit heading the title race, and maintained this at Croft, his home circuit. The pair are now the combination to beat at Snetterton as the second half of the season gets underway this weekend.

"It's fantastic, a great place to be in halfway through the year," Sam said. "It's a nice problem to have carrying all that weight into Snetterton, it would be nice to plan it strategically and arrive at the final round and just become championship leader at the end, but you have to win the championship on merit and learn how to deal with 75kg every weekend, so I can't fault the season I've had so far."

"The 2016 Touring Car Championship's been very good this year," said Rob. "We've had two wins already and we're P2 in the championship, which is my highest position going into the summer break. I do feel there have been some situations out of my control where we've lost some good points scoring opportunities, but generally I'm very happy with how the car's gone."

Sam's only had one victory so far this year, at Oulton Park, but came close to winning a wet race three at Croft, only to lose the lead to MG's Ashley Sutton two laps from the flag. "To have led it for so long in difficult conditions was something I was quite proud of," said Sam. "It's always difficult to be the guinea pig at the front of the pack in the rain like that. But we've got the championship to think of and I was aware from the radio that Ash was holding no prisoners on his way through and he had nothing to lose, so second place was more than a good enough result."

Now Sam has to defend the lead of the championship for the next 15 races, and that includes staying ahead of the other BMWs. "I've got to beat everyone on the grid and that includes my team-mate, so I don't expect any favours from Rob, but it's a great reward for the team, and for Jack [Goff] to be fifth."

"Team JCT600 with Gard-X is doing a fantastic job at the moment," added Rob. "Sam's doing a stunning job with his driving, although he's had three reverse-grid pole positions which you don't normally get in two or three seasons of racing! I'm hoping I can get some of that luck in the second half of the year and maybe leap-frog him."

Rob will have to try hard at Snetterton, a circuit that has been great to Tordoff in the past. "I won there in Renault Clios, Porsches and Touring Cars, so I love the place," said Sam. "With the long straights, I think 75kg might really hurt us round there in qualifying, so I'll be looking to do the best job I can and then shed some weight in race one.

"I'd expect to see the likes of the MG up there - I've qualified there on the front row with them before, I know that's a quick car, and Tom Ingram to be somewhere near the sharp end. All it's going to do is bring the championship closer together if people further down the order score well this weekend, so there's still all to play for."

"The BTCC is unbelievable," added Rob. "When you look at ten winners in 15 races, there's not a championship I can think of that is that close."