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Triple Eight ready for 500th BTCC outing

Triple Eight Racing is hoping to mark its 500th race in the British Touring Car Championship with a strong haul of points, as the series heads to Donington Park for the second round of the season.

The team, a stalwart of the championship since 1997, endured a tricky start to their 2015 campaign at Brands Hatch, with a second place for Jack Goff in race three marking their only podium finish of the weekend.

Expectations have nevertheless been raised ahead of this weekend’s meeting at Donington given the dominance of the team’s pair of MGs at the circuit last season, with Goff and team-mate Andrew Jordan also afforded the opportunity to secure a first win of the season in the team’s landmark race.

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Goff, who shares the lead of the championship with Honda’s Matt Neal, was cautiously optimistic about his hopes, but insisted that his sights remained set on a first victory in the series.

“The MG should suit Donington, however I think we will be up against it, certainly in the first two races due to the ballast we are taking into the weekend,” he said. “Qualifying in the top ten has to be the main objective and race one will be a matter of dragging a result out of the car.

“Then from race two onwards I’ll be aiming to get that top step on the podium. I’m hoping to come away with a good haul of points again for the championship; I would like to lead the points still when we leave the track on Sunday evening.”

Jordan, meanwhile, will be seeking an improvement after a below-par opening meeting at Brands Hatch, and hoped to be able to kick start his title aspirations at his local track, where he has two previous wins to his name.

“My aim for qualifying is to get pole,” insisted the 2013 champion. “I think anything less than the front 2 rows will be a big disappointment.

“Realistically I want 3 top 5/6 finishes, obviously I want wins and podiums but throwing the reverse grid race in there I think 3 top 6 finishes would be a good points haul across the day, that said I think a win would be possible and that is what I will go there aiming for.

“I have won there in the past and love racing at my home event, it’s a real old school circuit which for me really gets me going, I love it when circuits haven’t been changed to meet FIA safety requirements. The Craner Curves is a stand out section for me, I love the elevation change.”

Team Principal Ian Harrison was aware of the team’s favourite status going into the weekend, but was in no doubt that his outfit needed to improve on their performance at Brands if they were to live up to their billing.

“As everyone has noted, the MG was quick at Donington last year,” he said. “We have to learn from Brands Hatch, get on top of the set up quickly, and ensure that we are on the money this weekend with both cars.”

Harrison, who was one of the team’s three founders in 1996, was also excited to be reaching a half-century of races in the championship, but insisted that the team’s attentions had to remain on-track.

“While our 500th race is a landmark achievement, the focus this weekend is most certainly on building our momentum for the current season. You don’t win races by looking backwards. That said, we might have a bit of cake to mark the occasion, or a pastie from Greggs!”

And that focus was shared by his pair of drivers, who hoped to reward the team’s efforts with a strong showing in race one in particular.

“It’s important to keep the boss happy, Andy may have the best chance of a podium in race one, I will be pushing hard no matter what,” said Goff.

“I have a huge amount of respect for H [Harrison] and what he has achieved in the sport, and I am very proud to be part of his team and to represent Triple Eight in its 500th race,” said Jordan. “I would love to get a win for him in race one, even if I did I can’t imagine him being too emotional; he doesn’t strike me as the soppy type!”

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