BTCC popularity leaps as championship heats up

The latest ITV viewing figures show that the British Touring Car Championship is storming upwards in the popularity stakes.

Stats from the British Audience Research Board show that ITV's coverage has jumped by 43 percent this season, compared to the viewing figures for the first seven rounds of 2010.
The growth isn't tailing off either: after the first three rounds viewer ratings were up by just over one third.

ITV Sports controller Niall Sloane is, naturally, giddy about the rise, saying: "This is yet more wonderful news for both the BTCC and motor sport enthusiasts watching on mainstream 'free-to-air' television in the UK.

"The championship provides dramatic, exciting racing and the latest viewing figures demonstrate how people are coming to this vibrant sport in increasing numbers."

The BTCC is indeed hotting up ahead of this weekend's round at Brands Hatch, with title chasers Matt Neal and Jason Plato indulging in some epic handbags at Rockingham recently.

Brands Hatch will be the penultimate weekend of racing, before the Silverstone finale scheduled for 15-16 October.

That means Plato has just two weekends to make up the 25 points needed to leapfrog joint leaders Gordon Shedden and rival Matt Neal. But with 104 points up for grabs in total, it's far from an impossible task.
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