Table-topper Shedden extends advantage at Silverstone
BTCC wins for Mat Jackson, Andy Priaulx and Colin Turkington
Mat Jackson, Andy Priaulx and Colin Turkington took a BTCC victory apiece at Silverstone earlier today (27 September), but it was Gordon Shedden’s points haul that had the biggest impact on the potential destiny of this year’s title.
Shedden extended the advantage in the standings to 23 points over Jason Plato; thanks to a trio of top five finishes – which included a podium in the opening race. Matt Neal, Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan ensured that the title will be fought out between five former champions at Brands Hatch as the trio currently fill third, fourth and fifth positions in the table.
It was Jackson making the headlines in the early part of proceedings at Silverstone as the Motorbase Performance driver scored his second successive pole position on Saturday, which he duly converted into a lights-to-flag win in race one.
Jordan battled his way from fourth on the grid to claim second for MG Triple Eight Racing while Honda Yuasa Racing’s Shedden took third. Plato endured a miserable start to race day as his Volkswagen first suffered with engine trouble before a puncture sent him spiralling out of contention.
Team IHG Rewards Club racer Priaulx claimed victory in the second contest after getting the better of Jack Goff’s MG and pole position man Jackson.
The triple world champion blitzed past Goff’s MG6 off the line and he began reeling in the fast-starting Ford Focus of Jackson over the opening laps.
Priaulx did have to defend again from Goff through Luffield on lap six, however, which pushed the latter back into the clutches of Aron Smith’s Team BMR RCIB Insurance VW. This allowed Guernseyman Priaulx to pull away and focus solely on attacking the Motorbase Performance machine ahead of him.
Priaulx got a run on the exit of Copse on lap eight before storming around the outside of Jackson and eventually making the move stick into Maggotts. The West Surrey Racing-run BMW then pulled away convincingly and Priaulx went on to claim the 50th victory of his motor sport career. Worse was to come for Jackson, however, when a puncture sent him tumbling down the order. Goff held on from Smith to take second.
Team BMR RCIB Insurance racer Turkington produced a fantastic drive to win the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship encounter at a sun-kissed Silverstone.
The last race at the Northamptonshire circuit was the most entertaining of the day, which began with Motorbase Performance’s James Cole wheel-spinning off the line from pole position. This allowed Rob Collard’s BMW to storm into an early lead while Turkington was busy grabbing second as Cole ran wide through Becketts on the opening tour.
Team JCT600 with GardX driver Sam Tordoff was the next competitor to get past Cole but it was the battle for the lead that had the crowd on its feet – Turkington closed on Collard before slicing past the BMW man into Brooklands on lap two.
Tordoff’s slim championship hopes were fading despite being in an impressive third so he threw caution to the wind, trying everything he could to muscle his way by team-mate Collard. There was contact behind too as Plato nudged his VW past Cole’s Ford for fourth, with the latter getting shuffled further down the field as a result.
Collard allowed Tordoff through in an attempt to let his stablemate catch Turkington, but when that didn’t materialise the pair reversed places again before the chequered flag to complete the podium positions – a decision that ruled Tordoff mathematically out of title contention.
A trio of title contenders were next up in the finishing order with Plato, Shedden and Neal taking fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of race one winner Jackson who had stormed through the pack from the back of the grid.
Jordan was another to produce a brilliant drive as he recovered from a race two puncture to claim 12th and keep his admittedly feint championship chances alive.
Aside from the aforementioned Drivers’ standings, Honda extended its lead in the Manufacturers’ order, whilst Team BMR RCIB Insurance edged closer to both the Teams’ and Independent Teams’ titles. Turkington tops the Independent Drivers’ table and Josh Cook holds an unassailable lead in the Jack Sears Trophy.
Round 28, 29 and 30 of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship take place at Brands Hatch on 10/11 October. A huge crowd is expected to descend on the legendary Kent circuit with many more set to watch the action live – exclusively on ITV4.
Gordon Shedden said: “It’s great to come away with such a good points haul from a circuit that we always knew was going to be difficult for us, because it traditionally has been in recent years. Coming to Silverstone, our aim was damage limitation and to try to maintain our championship lead, so to actually extend it is a really positive outcome. We’ve worked really hard on the Type R and we laid the foundations in qualifying with a cracking lap – the car was mega in all three races. It was good to get the podium in the first one, and in the second one we focused on looking after the car with the weight on-board and soft tyres. In the last race, I was trying really hard to find a way past Jason [Plato], but at the same time I knew I had to think about the bigger picture. We’ve seen time and again that this championship can turn on its head in literally the blink of an eye, so we’ll just go to Brands Hatch now, give it our best shot and see what happens.”
Jason Plato said: “We improved the car for race three but didn’t get the rub of the green at the start – I got stuck behind James Cole and the BMWs. It was a strange weekend – we should have been quick on the straights and we weren’t. There’s no getting around it – a 23 point gap is not good – but we all know anything can happen in this game and it can all turn around on a sixpence. We had bad luck in race one with the puncture, and that sort of thing can happen to anyone. I think we’ll have a good car at Brands Hatch but we’ll have to wait and see if it’s enough. Honda is a great team and Gordon [Shedden] is a tasty driver so he’s not going to be far off even if we’re out front winning races. That means if we’re going to win it, he needs to have an incident of some description!”
Matt Neal said: “Flash [Gordon Shedden] is right up there and Honda are right up there in the Manufacturers’ championship. It’s been a great year for the new Type R – it’s back. It was a very solid weekend that definitely exceeded our expectations. We turned the tables on the opposition and really took the fight to them, which was night-and-day compared to previous years at Silverstone. That shocked us a bit, and I think it definitely shocked them! We had strong pace in all three races and the car felt fantastic throughout – now we go to Brands Hatch fully focused on finishing the job off.Jason [Plato] thinks he’s the king of Brands but we like to think otherwise.”
Colin Turkington said: “I wasn’t confident that we’d be able to get a win today. We’ve been struggling with the car a little and haven’t found the sweet spot at the last few meetings, so we decided to take a punt and it worked. We made a true step forward there and I’m not ready to give up on this just yet. I’m really pleased for the guys in my team, they’ve worked so hard and we haven’t had the rewards recently, so it’s great to be winning again. The goal here was to try and close the gap to the front guys and we can now go to Brands Hatch with a shot at the title, with confidence and hopefully with a fast car! I’ve got nothing to lose, attack is the best form of defence in the BTCC and I’m going to put pressure on the guys in front and hopefully force a mistake.”
Andrew Jordan said: “It was a case of what might have been. The puncture in race two ruined our weekend – two more corners and it would have been a cracking result with 66kgs of ballast on-board. That’s the way it goes – I honestly thought we were on for a good weekend because the pace was good. My aim was to be third in the championship and without what happened in race two we’d have been on for that going into Brands Hatch. It was good to come through in race three but we nailed the tyres. We’re still going to try and go for third but it’s going to be tough – we need to have three solid races at Brands and we’ll see where that puts us.”
Mat Jackson said: “It is a great result for us and it has been a great weekend. All the races were good for us for various reasons though. Race one, in particular, was fantastic. To be with the soft tyre and no weight; it was the best combination that we could have wished for. Overall we leave here very happy. I hope that we can be right up there for the next one at Brands. Before this weekend, we were up there at Rockingham and I’m hopeful that we can head into Brands and do much the same. It’s a difficult one with the battle going on for the title. I don’t want to get mixed up in anybody’s championship push – that’s the last thing I want to do. But, we’re there for results. We’ll race hard but we’ll race fair. It’s not my show to go and spoil.”
Andy Priaulx said: “It was fantastic to take my 50th career victory and I’m so delighted it was in a BMW. The start to race two was good. Mat [Jackson] was defending well but he made a mistake through Copse. I had to jink left but I just about made the move stick. Then I knew I couldn’t afford to make a mistake so I just got my head down. That’s what makes the BTCC so great – it’s a fight from start-to-finish.”
2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Silverstone
2. Andrew JORDAN (MG Triple Eight Racing): +2.138s
3. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +2.325s
4. Dave NEWSHAM (Power Maxed Racing): +2.665s
5. Colin TURKINGTON (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): +2.848s
6. Aron SMITH (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): +3.095s
1. Andy PRIAULX (Team IHG Rewards Club): 22 Laps
2. Jack GOFF (MG Triple Eight Racing): +1.802s
3. Aron SMITH (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): +2.791s
4. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +7.547s
5. Matt NEAL (Honda Yuasa Racing): +7.803s
6. Sam TORDOFF (Team JCT600 with GardX): +7.962s
1. Colin TURKINGTON (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): 25 Laps
2. Rob COLLARD (Team JCT600 with GardX): +2.117s
3. Sam TORDOFF (Team JCT600 with GardX): +2.387s
4. Jason PLATO (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): 3.078s
5. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +3.497s
6. Matt NEAL (Honda Yuasa Racing): +3.908s
Click here for the final classification from the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Silverstone.
Honda Yuasa Racing received a £500 fine for contravening technical regulations
Derek Palmer received a verbal warning for an incident involving another competitor. As this was his third penalty strike, he was subsequently demoted to the back of the grid for race two
Josh Cook received a three second penalty for an incident involving Aiden Moffat
Jason Plato received a verbal warning for an incident involving James Cole