Currently reading: BTCC preview - Sam Tordoff's fast lap of Rockingham
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship moves to Rockingham this weekend. Here's how to master the circuit

Sam Tordoff planted his Triple Eight Racing MG6 GT on pole position for last season’s rounds at Rockingham on his way to two podium finishes. He talks us around the part-banked circuit just outside Corby in Northamptonshire.

“Turn one is flat," says Tordoff "but it certainly is twitchy bum time. It's a corner you build up to through the weekend – you certainly don’t go flat through it the first time you take it in free practice. You have to nail it in qualifying, but the wall on the outside of the track comes up really fast.

“You're on the rev limiter going down to the hairpin. You are right on the right-hand side of the track and it is very wide. You're flat in sixth and you have to pick your spot to bang the gearbox down to second for the hairpin – it's very easy to overshoot here.

“Coming out of the hairpin you approach the right-hander at Yentwood. You'll see that I take a lot of kerb on the exit here because it's followed by an incline, which means you have to keep up as much momentum as possible as you come out of the corner. There are some nice kerbs at Rockingham and I think everyone uses that one.

"After you crest the small incline you're in Chapman corner, another right-hander. I always find this very hard because it's a compromise.

“You have to take as much kerb on the inside as you dare, but you don’t go in quite as hard as you can because you can’t wash out on the exit. You have to haul the car over to the right-hand side of the circuit for the following left-hander, which comes up quickly. There are three left-hand corners in quick succession and they flow in to one corner. It just goes on and on.

"You'll see that there are several apices to hit as you turn and no car I have ever driven feels truly planted around this turn – which I guess makes it a great section of track. Later on in the races, when the tyres have started to wear, it becomes a real struggle and can cause drivers to lose a lot of pace.

“Following on from that you come to Gracelands, which is a very fast left-hander with a nice kerb to use on the exit. Then you get ready for the Tarzan right-handed hairpin. There are two schools of thought about how to tackle the corner. You’ll see that on my qualifying lap, I turned in early and decided to run out wide on the exit, where you can use some of the pit lane entrance of the racing school garages. Some drivers like to go in a bit deeper and then square off the corner to put the power down on the exit a bit earlier.

“After the School Straight you're into the Brook complex, which is a left-right-left sequence. The corners come at you very quickly and you'll see that I got a lot of air on the right-hander – which wasn’t deliberate! On the exit, there are two ideas about what you do. Some cars run up high to the wall on the exit, making the angle shallower, whereas others take the last left-hander a little but slower and then straighten up the exit to power to the line.

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"Last year, in the front-wheel-drive MG, I chose the former. This year I'm driving a rear-wheel-drive BMW and that might not be the best approach.

“It is all about learning in the BTCC, and I will be doing plenty more of that this weekend.”

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