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Turkington boosts title chances with race one win

Silverline Subaru BMR Racing driver Colin Turkington kept his championship chances alive by producing a sublime lights-to-flag victory in the BTCC opener at Brands Hatch.

The double champion was in dominant form during qualifying yesterday and he duly backed up that showing with a commanding display from pole position. The Subaru Levorg made a steady getaway off the line and gradually pulled clear of the chasing pack, as Turkington set fastest lap for good measure on his way to a fourth victory of the season.

“It’s too early in the day to think about the title but all of these little bonus points definitely help,” he said. “Before the racing today it was 37 points, and on any other weekend you’d rule it out but the final at Brands is always quite freaky. My goal was to give myself the best chance I could. Qualifying on pole did that job and so has the race one win. To be an outside contender for the title at this stage is a real credit to the guys.”

The best of the rest was led by Handy Motorsport’s Rob Austin, who fended off the attentions from Jason Plato and Josh Cook for the duration of the contest.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace to go with Colin (Turkington) but we had enough to hold off Jason (Plato),” claimed Austin. “I folded my mirror when I was fighting with Colin on the opening lap so I couldn’t tell where JP was for the rest of the race, it made things really difficult. There was a lot of pressure on and it wasn’t my best drive – I was quite tense – but it’s a huge thing for me and for Handy Motorsport to get that second place in the end.”

While Plato’s Subaru hassled Austin’s Toyota throughout he was never close enough to make a move, and worse followed for the BTCC’s most successful driver when he was passed on the last corner of the last lap. MG Racing RCIB Insurance driver Cook eyed his opportunity and nudged his way by through Clearways to claim the final podium position.

“I kept the pressure on Jason (Plato) throughout, and then he made a mistake into Stirlings, which gave me the run on the outside into Clearways and I managed to stop early to get the cutback on the exit,” said Cook. “A podium certainly isn’t a bad way to start the day – it’s been a real effort from all the team and mechanics today and I’m thrilled for the guys, and for MG.”

The shake-up leaves Plato out of title contention, whilst Andrew Jordan’s hopes hang by a thread after he was caught up in an incident on lap two. Matt Neal’s Honda looked to have tapped the slow-starting Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet of Hunter Abbott into a spin at Druids, and the unsighted Jordan had nowhere to go – contact ending his race on the spot.

Reigning champion Gordon Shedden scrapped to a fifth place finish after he saw off Jack Goff’s BMW in an early battle. The Scotsman is now just six points off the standings summit as he clawed into Sam Tordoff’s lead.

Adam Morgan wedged his WIX Racing Mercedes in-between the two Hondas as Matt Neal also made ground in his quest for a record equalling fourth BTCC title.

Aiden Moffat and Ashley Sutton were next in the order, with the latter making a number of eye catching passes. The MG man sliced by Mat Jackson and Jack Goff in one move on the run up to Druids to take tenth on lap seven, and he went one better with a slick pass by Tordoff’s Team JCT600 with GardX BMW.

It was damage limitation for Tordoff, who still produced a good drive carrying maximum ballast. His slender advantage, however, is down to just six points with both Shedden and Neal clipping at his heels. Rob Collard maintained fourth in the standings, but he’s just a point ahead of Turkington, who in turn is two ahead of Jackson. As noted, Jordan’s chances are fading fast while Plato’s hopes have been completely extinguished.

2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Race One – Brands Hatch GP:

Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing 25m56.267s (90.06 mph)
Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +4.570s
Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +5.314s
4 Jason PLATO (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +5.903s
5 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +10.750s
Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +11.130s
7 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +11.620s
Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +17.894s
Ash SUTTON (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +18.077s
10 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +19.564s
11 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +20.195s
12 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +21.177s
13 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +25.068s
14 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +29.982s
15 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +31.106s
16 Michael EPPS (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +31.180s
17 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +31.329s
18 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD Tuning.com +31.600s
19 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +33.005s
20 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +33.731s
21 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing +35.181s
22 Dan WELCH (GBR) Goodestone Racing +40.330s
23 James COLE (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +40.845s
24 Kelvin FLETCHER (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +54.660s
25 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +1m00.182s
DNF Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +1 lap
DNF Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +4 laps
DNF Warren SCOTT (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +4 laps
DNF Tony GILHAM (GBR) TLC/RCIB Insurance Racing +14 laps
DNF Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +15 laps
DNF Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance +15 laps

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