Colin Turkington takes commanding double
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship leader Colin Turkington has secured his second straight victory of the day at Croft and his fourth win from the last five races.
Turkington made another clean getaway from pole position and although Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden kept him honest for much of the race the eBay Motors driver eventually won the contest by more than six seconds.
Shedden took second again as the series’ top two proved to be the class of the field, whilst Matt Neal backed-up the pace of the Civic Tourer by completing the podium positions.
“Gordon was definitely faster that time – it took the first third of the race to shake him off,” said Turkington. “The pressure was on all the way through – but as I’ve said before the hard work by the team is really paying off. As the race goes on you’re obviously losing grip, and I was pressing on to make sure the gap was comfortable. Three wins in a day is very difficult, but anything can happen in race three!”
Despite the steady start at the front of the field there was immediate drama behind when Rob Austin’s Audi A4 made contact with Dave Newsham’s AmD Ford Focus, who had bogged down slightly off the line. Both were forced into retirement, which continues Austin’s wretched weekend so far while Newsham had to endure his own heartbreak in what was his 100th BTCC race.
Neal had passed the Pirtek Honda Civic of Andrew Jordan by lap two and he was up to fourth shortly after thanks to a quite breathtaking manoeuvre by Jason Plato on the run through Barcroft and down to Sunny. The struggling MG of Plato was forced to give way to Jordan one tour later as the reigning champion pulled off an almost identical move to that of Neal.
Triple champion Neal then hounded down the eBay Motors BMW of Rob Collard and eventually made a move stick on lap 11 as the duo approached the Jim Clark Esses. Neal couldn’t make any further ground but his eye-catching performance was well rewarded with a podium position ahead of Collard and Jordan.
“The car was great – through the fast stuff the Tourer was really on fire,” claimed Neal. “Once I got past Rob (Collard) I didn’t push too hard. Getting a double podium for the team was the main thing.”
Plato clung on to sixth but it wasn’t without controversy after a penultimate lap incident involving the VW CC of old rival Alain Menu. The Swiss star got a great run on the MG6 across the start/finish line and looked to have completed a move on the inside at Clervaux, but as Plato turned in to take his line contact was made with the VW alongside him. Menu was fired out of the race leaving the double champ far from happy with the outcome.
Jordan and Plato followed ahead of the Airwaves Racing Ford of Mat Jackson, which has proved to have encouraging race pace. MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Sam Tordoff took a rather anonymous eighth place while Tom Ingram fought his way from 15th up to ninth at the finish.
Hunter Abbott’s impressive run ended when he hit a dislodged tyre stack left by the Ford Focus of Fabrizio Giovanardi, who himself has a race one penalty appeal hanging over him. Ironically the Italian finished tenth and then chose his own number at random in the reverse grid draw, meaning he’ll start on pole for race three. If, however, his earlier penalty for contact with Aron Smith is upheld then he’s likely to be relegated to the back of the field.
There were other great performances throughout the field with Crabbie’s Racing’s Jack Clarke deserving special mention for taking 13th – his best finishing position of his short BTCC career so far.