returns to battle at Oulton Park

The team is targeted a hat-trick of top ten finishes on its return to action in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this weekend at Oulton Park.The West Thurrock-based team heads to the picturesque Cheshire circuit for the fourth round of the season having made good use of the extended spring break that followed the third meeting of the year at Thruxton at the end of April.The Thruxton meeting saw Attleborough-based driver Ollie Jackson secure three points finishes at the wheel of the team’s turbo-powered Volkswagen Golf, which has undergone a series of improvements over the past month.Making the most of Ollie’s ‘day job’ as a vehicle dynamics engineer with Lotus Cars, the Golf spent time on the Lotus shaker rig to allow the team to investigate areas where improvements could be made, with those improvements then being tested at Brands Hatch last week.With Ollie having also upped his training regime over the break to ensure he is in optimum shape for the resumption of the 2012 campaign, he heads to Oulton Park optimistic about his chances as he aims to add to the five points finishes he has secured already this season.“I’ve shed a few pounds over the break which will help us but the big changes have come on the car after we were able to make use of the rig at Lotus,” he said. “We have to give a lot of thanks to Lotus and the department I work in for letting us use the rig as we found some pretty significant things that were making the car a bit difficult to drive and we’ve now been able to work on those. The balance of the car has changed as a result, so that was something we worked on at Brands Hatch, but we could see there is more speed straight away.“I think we’ve probably done about 75 per cent of the work but already the car is 100 per cent more driveable and it will only get better as we unlock more of the fresh potential there is in the car. Plenty of people have been out testing in the break and have been working to improve their cars, but I see no reason why we shouldn’t be pushing towards the top ten this weekend.”Team boss Shaun Hollamby said he was eager to see how the improvements made to the Golf during the break would translate into on-track performance at Oulton Park, with the chief optimistic about Ollie’s chances of fighting for a place inside the top ten.“We’re heading into Oulton Park in good shape on the back of a strong test at Brands Hatch last week,” he said. “With it being a general test day, the times weren’t too important but we could see on the data that the changes we have made during the break have improved the car.“Through Ollie, we are lucky to have been able to use the shaker rig at Lotus and that is something that we’ve been unable to do in the past as we aren’t a big team with a big budget to spend. We’ve got to thank everyone at Lotus Cars for their help, and for their obvious enthusiasm for the work that was carried out.“That work showed some areas where we could make improvements and we have worked in those areas, which will improve stability under braking and also improve our tyre wear. It will also allow us to go more aggressive on set-up which we haven’t done in the past, so rather than running a race set-up throughout qualifying, we can now go with a set-up that will give us more one-lap pace and allow us to fight higher up the grid.“Ollie has also worked hard in the break to make sure he is leaner and fitter than he already was, so we’ve been working in all areas to improve. Our focus remains the same, which is to fight for top ten finishes as our rivals haven’t stood still in the break and have also been out testing. Given how competitive the championship is, getting into the top ten would be a good result for us.”

Shaun returns to his regular role having spent last weekend working as a co-commentator on the latest rounds of the DTM and F3 Euroseries at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. While there, he was also able to meet up with personnel from Volkswagen Motorsport, which could potentially help open doors for the team as it works to finalise its 2013 racing programme.

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