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O’Neill: ‘I can challenge for a win’

Paul O’Neill heads to Brands Hatch this weekend aiming for a win, following on from his and the team’s best performance of the season last time out at Rockingham.

Having taken a second place in the first race and followed it up with two more points finishes, O’Neill is confident that he can build on his form to push for victory.

“At Rockingham, we showed we can race at the front and we were able to match RML and Jason for pace, so I have to go into this weekend thinking that I can challenge for a win,” said O’Neill, 31. “It’s always in the back of your mind that the turbos are going to be strong, but I just have to give as good as I get and do the best job possible for the team.

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“I’m quite excited going into the weekend. We know that the Cruze is a strong package on the Indy circuit and I think the car will also be strong around the GP loop, even though there are some long straights where we might lose some of the advantage we have over the turbos through the corners. I love the GP circuit and the car went well there last year with Jason [Plato], so we’ve got to be confident about our chances and I think we’re going there better prepared than we were at Rockingham, which was our best weekend of the season.”

With an average qualifying position of 9.5 so far this season, O’Neill is aware of the importance of qualifying strongly. At Rockingham his second place from qualifying resulted in a podium in the opening race, setting the tone for the two races to follow.

“It’s vital to qualify well as we did at Rockingham,” added O’Neill. “I’ll be putting more focus on qualifying to make sure we start from inside the top six as it’ll only help our chances of repeating the form we showed last time out. At the very least, I’ve got to aim to come away from Brands Hatch with another podium finish.”

John George in the second of the purple Chevrolet’s is being realistic about his chances in what will be a record-equalling 29-car grid at the weekend.

“On paper, this should be a good weekend for us,” said George. “The Grand Prix circuit is one that I really like and hopefully we’ll be able to produce the kind of performances we enjoyed at Snetterton and Rockingham, where we were able to really challenge the turbo cars.

“I’ve had some bad luck in recent meetings so I’d be happy this weekend if I could qualify well and then bring the car home inside the top 15 in each of the three races. That’s my aim, and if I can better that and break into the points then it will be a bonus.”

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