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O’Neill pleased with best result of season

Paul O’Neill says that his season starts now after he took a season-best finish of second at Snetterton’s round of the British Touring Car Championship last weekend.

Having qualified in 9th on Saturday and scored points in all three races on Sunday, O’Neill had a weekend to help get his championship back on track.

Starting from 3rd in the final race of the day, as a result of the reverse grid, meant that O’Neill was in contention for the win – although he missed out after being unable to find a way past Dave Newsham until late in the race. Although it was then too late to catch leader Mat Jackson, O’Neill was still very happy with his and the team’s result.

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“It’s been a good weekend,” said O’Neill, who is 10th in the championship. “I spoke to the team before we came here and we agreed that we had a chance to run towards the front if we got things right here because the chassis of the Chevrolet is so strong, and we got a good result in the first race which we were then able to build on in the two that followed.

“The car was exceptional this weekend and I have to give credit to Vic my engineer and to Marvin for that. This is the first weekend where I can say that we’ve really been able to race against the turbo cars and I was actually able to overtake a car with a turbo engine in it.

“It’s not easy by any means as I think I was having to drive to new limits in the same way Jason [Plato] has had to. He came up to me after the final race and said he’d been able to learn a few things when he was behind me, which shows what a good job we’ve done.

“On the grid before the first race, Marvin came on the radio and said ‘Go out there and enjoy it’. That’s exactly what I did and I made sure I never lost my focus behind the wheel and we’ve reaped the benefits. As I said before the weekend, our season starts now.”

Team Principal Marvin Humphries was delighted with the way the team made progress in each race at the weekend – also adding that he believes TOCA have achieved parity between the full S2000 and S2000-NGTC engined runners.

“I think they now have it about right when it comes to parity between the normally-aspirated cars and the turbo cars and we are in the position we should have been in earlier in the season,” he said. “It’s not easy, although it isn’t meant to be, but we’ve been able to fight against them this weekend and have come away with the results.

“We know that we’ve made some mistakes in recent races and that things haven’t always gone our way, but we’ve worked hard this weekend and we got the result in race one that we could build on. We made progress every time we went on track and Paul drove bloody brilliantly to get onto the podium in race three; even Jason Plato admitted he couldn’t match him.”

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