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Menu looks forward to returning to his Oulton Park 'back garden'

Friday, May 30 2014

Alain Menu's appearance at Oulton Park next weekend (7/8 June), behind the wheel of a VW Passat will mark his first competitive visit to the circuit since he starred there with two wins whilst guest-driving in the 2004 Porsche Carrera Cup. The Swiss BTCC legend was renowned as a maestro of the Cheshire circuit during his first stint in the series, a period in which he amassed nine wins, two of which came on the full International circuit.

Speaking ahead of the event, the two-time champion enthused about the venue, "I love Oulton Park. I took to that track the very first time I drove it in Formula Ford. Over the years I used to call it 'my back garden'! In the Super Touring years, my wife and kids used to travel with me to every race and going to Oulton Park, and staying in the Rookery Hall was like being at home!"

Menu hasn't quite enjoyed the same level of success as he did in his 90s heyday since his return, though he is optimistic that the car has potential for good results, once he fully gets to grips with the car. "I was very pleased with the pace at Brands Hatch" he remarked about his form at the start of the year, "I am convinced I would have gone quicker still in qualifying had I not had some issues in FP1 and FP2 costing me track time."

The biggest difficulty for Menu has been extracting the last bit of performance from the Passat, a task which is made more difficult by the lack of in-season testing time. "Initially it wasn't a problem at all getting used to and getting familiar with the Passat" Menu commented about his early experiences with the car, however, "Understanding it further is proving to be a little bit more difficult. At times it doesn't give me full confidence in its reactions. Finding out what 'makes it tick' with the limited amount of testing the rules give us is taking time."

The Super Touring era of the 90s, with which Menu is most synonymous, will also be celebrated at this event with a special guest slot on the support bill for the HSCC Super Touring Car Championship. During his initial stay in the series Menu piloted Super Touring BMWs, Renaults and Fords, all of which will be represented on the support category's grid. Menu's former on-track rivals John Cleland and Patrick Watts will take to the track in that event so it's no surprise that he's is going to keep a keen eye on proceedings, "I will visit their paddock, meet some former sparring partners and it will be nice to see those cars again after all those years."

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park are available from £26, with free admission for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click  here.