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Record crowd sees first BTCC rounds at Snetterton 300

Monday, August 08 2011

A record crowd of 35,000 basked in glorious sunshine at Snetterton last weekend (6/7 August) to see the first BTCC races on the new 300 circuit. With a mile of extra track surrounded by new spectator banks, most of those attending headed straight for the newly-constructed section, creating a stadium atmosphere unique to the series.

Three-drama filled races provided wins for title contenders Jason Plato, Gordon Shedden and Mat Jackson, whilst Matt Neal endured a nightmare weekend, losing his championship lead to Jackson in the process. Plato experienced a resurgence in form, which resulted in the championship fight closing up: just twenty points now cover the top four, with fifteen awarded for a race win.

Plato said: "When I first drove the new layout I was a bit disappointed that the old Coram corner had gone because it was such an epic corner, but now I've spent a day's racing on it the new Coram is a really difficult, challenging and fun corner, particularly in a touring car. The infield section from a spectators' point of view is fantastic and I've heard great feedback from the fans. For the drivers it is very challenging.

Out of all the circuits in the UK the new 300 is without a doubt the circuit that over the course of a lap drivers are most likely to make mistakes on - I would not say I produced one perfect lap. I think it's good to have a circuit which is a bit longer than the rest on the touring car calendar. 

"My fondness grew over the course of the weekend for the new circuit and I think it produced some good racing. It's a nice feeling to have gone down in the record books as the first person to win a British Touring car race on the Snetterton 300."

The weekend also saw fine performances from Frank Wrathall, Dave Newsham and Paul O'Neill, plus the debuts of Daniel Welch's new Proton Gen-2 and AmD Milltek new boy Martin Byford from Colchester. The 39-year old was full of praise for the new circuit: "The new infield is really, really good fun," he said. "It keeps you really busy and there's more to do than on the old circuit. There are a lot of places where you can lose time very easily but it's very difficult to gain.

"Because it's so technical," Byford continued, "you have to be very accurate to carry the speed to gain a good lap time. I must admit the more I drive the new Coram the more I like it - it's just as much a challenge as it ever was but in a very different way. Overall it's great that the circuit has seen some investment; long live Snetterton!"

BTCC frontrunner Andrew Jordan was also impressed: "It makes for good racing," he remarked. "The hairpin is a good overtaking opportunity. The infield is good and challenging - sometimes the slower corners are more challenging than the quick ones!"

Fans' favourite Paul O'Neill said: "The circuit's mega, it's been really good. I think the spectators have had one of the best days of racing they've had for a long time here."

Whilst the BTCC stars raved about the new challenges brought about by the changes, they were also impressed by the improvements for spectators. Airwaves' Liam Griffin remarked: "I think it's more of a stadium circuit now - it was slightly outdated before, more of an airfield that had been turned into a race circuit. Now it feels like a proper race circuit."

The crowds were also entertained by a full support programme from Ginetta Juniors and the GT Supercup, Formula Renault and the Clio Cup, plus the Porsche Carrera Cup. Michael Caine, who competes in the latter series, also jumped into a BTCC Airwaves Focus to race against the world's fastest ice cream van courtesy of Laverstoke Farm, complete with chimes!

Ginetta GT Supercup leader and King's Lynn resident Carl Breeze said: "Palmer's done a great job - it's a lot more challenging. I think it's the best circuit in the country now. I love Coram, it's very difficult and catches some of the drivers out. There are great corners that encourage overtaking."

The next major event at Snetterton is Modified Live. Tickets are available from £17, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information, click the link below.

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