Prized podium on celebratory event for 888
MG Triple Eight Racing’s Jack Goff and Andrew Jordan battled hard throughout Sunday’s trio of action-packed Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races, with the latter claiming a podium on what was a weekend of celebration for the team at Donington Park.
The factory-supported MG squad looked set for a brace of points finishes across the three 16 lap sprints, with Jordan and Goff finishing in the top eight in the opening contests. However, the reverse grid race saw Goff crash out on lap 6 after tangling with Sam Tordoff, while Jordan used all of his car-control ability to claim his first rostrum for the team.
Both MGs went into qualifying for Triple Eight’s 500th BTCC race start looking for a place in the top-ten, but neither could improve their times after a mid-session stoppage to remove the stricken BMW of Andy Priaulx. Jordan and Goff had to settle for fifth and thirteenth respectively.
For Goff, arriving at Donington as joint-leader of the Championship, qualifying was always going to prove a test. Carrying a hefty 66kg of success ballast throughout the sessions, the 2012 Clio Cup GB Champion was unfortunately squeezed down the qualifying order late on.
Overnight changes were made to both MGs to bring them closer to the front of the pack, and it proved to be a worthwhile investment in time. Both drivers sprinted off the line during Sunday’s opening race, which marked the 500th race start for the Greatworth-based squad in the BTCC.
Jordan delivered fourth position in a controlled showing while Goff rose to tenth and never relented.
The second race of the weekend followed in a similar vein, albeit with soft tyres being used by both MG drivers. Starting fifth but with added ballast for his earlier result, Jordan snatched third on the opening lap from Morgan. Following a short safety car period to mop up the clash between Warren Scott and Alex Martin at the Old Hairpin on lap two, the race resumed and Jordan got the jump on Gordon Shedden’s Honda.
While Turkington led unchallenged, behind him it was all going on. Seizing upon a failed move by Morgan on Neal, Jordan briefly got into second place. However, triple BTCC champ Neal replied instantly to grab the position back into Redgate before pulling away to close the gap to the Volkswagen. That left Jordan defending from a resurgent Morgan, with the former saving a lurid sideways slide to secure fourth, much to the appreciation of the spectators watching nearby.
Josh Cook and Jason Plato had relegated the battling Goff to eighth at the flag, but he had still collected a solid points haul from the opening two bouts.
“The first two races were good and we made progress with the car, to the extent that I went quicker in race one than I did on Saturday,” he said.
It all went wrong for the young gun in race three, however, when contact with the BMW of Sam Tordoff fired both cars out of the race.
“For race three, we all bunched up into the chicane and Sam (Tordoff) and I had a bit of rubbing,” concluded Goff. “I then got a hit from behind, which locked us together and that was it, end of the race. I thought I was pretty safe on the inside, and when everyone bunched up I thought it was getting a bit too tight, but I was a total passenger in that accident and I ended up in the gravel. It’s not a good way to end a weekend, but sometimes it happens.”
Embroiled in a big scrap for third during Sunday’s finale, Jordan would eventually go on to claim second. After contact between Neal and Jordan occurred at the Old Hairpin, both set about attacking race leader Rob Collard and the former champions slipped through with two laps to go.
“It was a cracking touring car race,” said Jordan. There were cars everywhere, and you thought something was going to go wrong, but it didn’t really, it just happened around me, rather than involving me too much. With regards to the results, two fourths and a second, hopefully a win, is really good and we’ve made big progress with the car, which is even more pleasing than the results. We’re now going to Thruxton, which is probably my favourite circuit and I’m feeling positive.”
Leaving Donington the MG Triple Eight Racing team remain third in the Team’s championship, but now have both drivers in the top-six of the driver’s standings, with Jordan fourth and Goff sixth. MG drop marginally behind Honda in the manufacturer’s title race, but are comfortably ahead of BMW squad West Surrey Racing.