Snetterton ready to host British Touring Car Championship
It is a marquee meeting for Snetterton and when the 2011 British Touring Car Championship really gets going – so it promises to be some weekend at the Norfolk circuit.
The bustling grid of 26 cars will blow away the cobwebs from an eight-week mid-season break over the next 48 hours with its first trip around the new Snetterton 300 lay-out, following on from the Norfolk track's �4m winter redevelopment.
And with more corners, the usual bump and grind brought to the table by the BTCC could well be something extra special this year.
All eyes may well be on old hand Matt Neal, who narrowly leads the championship from Mat Jackson. Or maybe Jason Plato: a legendary figure, the defending champion, but in 2011 fighting to maintain a faltering title challenge.
But a couple of places down is an unassuming driver from Staffordshire who is having a superb season in his Pirtek Vauxhall and could yet mix it with the big boys – Andrew Jordan.
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'The season is going really well, we are fourth overall and second independents,' said Jordan.
'We have won a race and had seven podiums so we've had a good year so far, but now it gets a bit more intense into the latter half of it, so we've got to keep scoring through to the end.
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'I'm looking forward to getting back to it. It's always nice to be back on the track and get going again. I'm sure it takes a little to get back into the swing of things, that's why we came to the track day on Wednesday – and a lot of people did that as well.'
Obviously Jordan wants wins from Snetterton's trio of races on Sunday – with an eye on the bigger prize come the end of the season at Silverstone in October.
'I'd like to be top three overall and independents' champion, that's what we are working for and we are all working very hard to achieve that,' added Jordan. Before that, Jordan hopes to take his Vectra to Snetterton success – and the key to that could well be learning the flowing new three-mile section added to the Norfolk track during the winter.
The British Superbikes drew a 43,000 weekend crowd – similar is expected this Saturday and Sunday – and they witnessed plenty of exhilarating action as Jonathan Palmer's track designs had the desired effect. Jordan is confident similarly special action will be on show this weekend.
'I think it's going to be a pretty entertaining circuit for racing,' said the 22-year-old. 'There will be a fair amount of contact if I'm honest, because a lot of the hairpins, there are a lot of fast long straights into them and that will make it exciting.
'Coram is a little bit different to what it was previously too, so no one has that much knowledge of the circuit. It will just be a case of who can do best with what they have got in the practice time.
'There maybe a little bit more of the bump and grind stuff but not a huge amount. The circuit will induce that with a lot of the slow speed stuff with big braking areas, but the aim for me is to keep out of trouble and score as many points as possible.
'But I think the circuit is very good to drive. There are a lot of challenges with the slow speed stuff which can sometimes be as challenging, if not more, than the quick stuff. Then there is a mix of the quick corners and Coram is a really challenging.
'So I like it and I think it'll make for really good racing.'
As for Jordan's independents rival James Nash, he will be hoping it is third time lucky at Snetterton.
In 2009, the then BTCC debutant took the chequered flag – only to be controversially excluded from the race – before last year leading until a last lap spin robbed him of glory.
Nash said: 'I want to be the top Vectra driver this weekend, which means beating Andrew Jordan who is very quick.
'But the main aim is to qualify inside the top six and leave still comfortably in the top six in the championship. I have a good feeling about things.'