TURKINGTON TAKES WIN IN FINAL THRILLER
Colin Turkington took his first win of the season in the final and thrilling Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch.
Old adversaries Matt Neal and Jason Plato hustled their Honda and MG machines respectively past Turkington’s two BMW team-mates to complete the podium.
It was a BMW 1-2-3 off the line as the rear wheel drive cars blasted their way down to Paddock Hill Bend for the first time. Rob Collard led from Nick Foster initially but Turkington eventually put both to the sword with separate moves, the final being a clever manoeuvre through Clearways and down Brabham Straight. Things worsened for Foster when he was handed a drive through penalty for lining up his car out of position at the start, which immediately ended his challenge to the top order.
The Honda Yuasa Racing duo of Neal and Gordon Shedden set about attacking Collard, before having to turn their attentions behind them as the charging MG of Jason Plato was surging through the order. The two-time champion made a hat-trick of eye catching moves at Paddock Hill Bend, as he relegated team-mate Sam Tordoff, the Mercedes of Adam Morgan and finally Shedden’s Civic Tourer down the order.
Plato attached himself to the rear bumper of Neal, which seemed to inspire the latter to a resurgence in speed. They both dragged themselves towards Collard’s BMW before nipping by together at Paddock on the penultimate lap.
Incredibly it was the returning legend Alain Menu who claimed fifth after a quite frenetic race for the Swiss driver. Starting down in 16th position he made a number of brilliant moves before an unfortunate incident with impressive young rookie Tom Ingram. The VW CC and Toyota Avensis had a coming together on the exit of Graham Hill Bend, which led to Ingram’s car hitting the barrier at high speed.
The safety car was immediately called for to retrieve Ingram’s stricken Avensis, which allowed Menu and others to catch up with the front-runners. Menu never looked back and as the leading car on the Dunlop Sport Maxx medium compound he began to haul himself by a series of cars, which finally included passes by the Ford Focus of Mat Jackson and Shedden’s fading Civic Tourer. There wasn’t enough time for further gains but his performance proved to be one of the highlights of the day to the tens of thousands of fans at the legendary Kent venue.
Jack Goff’s Vauxhall and the Focus of Dave Newsham took eighth and ninth respectively, ahead of the fast starting A-Class of Morgan, which dropped back late on. Rob Austin came from the rear of the grid to take 11th ahead of Tordoff, whilst reigning champion Andrew Jordan had to settle for 13th despite early double glory. James Cole earned United Autosports’ first ever drivers’ points in the BTCC with 14th, whilst debutant Hunter Abbot also chalked up his first score.
Click here for a full classification from race three.