Paul O’Neill to make BTCC return with Speedworks at Croft

Paul O’Neill will be back behind the wheel of of British Touring Car when the series heads to Croft next weekend, replacing Tony Hughes in the Speedworks Toyota Avensis.

The fan favourite will hang up his ITV microphone and fill the vacant Toyota seat that Tony Hughes will leave as he takes a sabatical from the round in North Yorkshire due to other commitments that weekend.

It will be the first time two-time race winner O’Neill has raced in the BTCC since the end of 2011 after running into sponsorship difficulties, finishing 10th in the standings driving a Tech-Speed Chevrolet Cruze last season.

O’Neill had the drive in mind earlier in the season, and hopes to use his BTCC experience to do the best job possible job for the still very young Independent squad.

“I spoke to Tony at one of the events earlier in the year and he asked if I’’d like to drive the car at Croft as he wasn’t able to be there,” said O’Neill.

“It’s a chance for me to return to the grid, but I don’t want to just jump in the car for a weekend of racing, I want to do a good job. Speedworks is a good team, Carlube is going to be playing a big part in the event and I’ll be keeping a video diary for ITV, so hopefully we can have a strong weekend.”

But O’Neill although is still unsure what to expect from the car next weekend, he is still aiming high, and hopes to be fighting his way through the midfield as the day progresses.

“There are more unknowns than knowns for me, as I haven’t driven the Toyota, I haven’t driven an NGTC car and there is the turbo engine, so it will be difficult to start with but I’ll get quicker as the weekend goes on. I’ll be aiming to start steady and then maybe we could push to get into the top 10 in the second race.”

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