It was a weighting game for VX Racing this weekend, with the short, tight Indy circuit at Brands Hatch proving to be a tough challenge for cars carrying success ballast in the BTCC races. Despite this, the BTCC triple-triple championship winning team left the circuit with a podium sweep headlined by Luke Hines celebrating his maiden BTCC victory; a win for Thompson on the eve of his thirtieth birthday and Thompson and Muller leaving as joint leaders of the drivers’ championship.
VX Racing arrived at Brands Hatch weighed down by success ballast on the two lead cars of Muller and Thompson. The effect of the additional kilos was soon evident in practice and qualifying, with the VX Racing drivers having to settle for mid-field grid positions for the first race. With Thompson qualifying third, Muller seventh and Hines tenth, the podium finishes were not taken by the VX Racing team in the event opener. Thompson settled for fourth place, Muller fifth and Hines ninth to collect valuable championship points, but no champagne sprays.
Fortunes were reversed in the second race with the new race format reversing the top ten grid positions from the previous race. This gave Hines a front row slot, Muller lining up sixth and Thompson seventh, but without the amount of ballast that they carried in the earlier race. The result: three trophies, with Hines celebrating his first win, Thompson following him home and Muller joining his team mates on the third step of the podium sweep.
The third race grid reflected the race two finishes which produced an all-VX Racing front row of Hines and Thompson, Muller right behind in third. But the return of success ballast hurt Hines as he struggled to match the speeds of the lighter cars. Thompson took the advantage and, taking the lead from the off, came home with another win for VX Racing. Muller managed to add a third 3rd place finish to his current season tally.
VX Racing leave Brands Hatch as clear leaders in the manufacturers’ and team championships, while Thompson and Muller tie for the drivers’ championship and Hines sits fifth.