Proctor wins unbelievable wet/dry race at Brands Hatch
Power Maxed TAG Racing’s Senna Proctor has scored a maiden BTCC victory in one of the most astonishing races in the series’ history at Brands Hatch.
The contest commenced in wet conditions, but the rain had already stopped prior to lights out, and nearly a third of the field decided to gamble on Dunlop SportMaxx dry tyres.
The first half of the race went the way of the Dunlop BluResponse wet runners and Tom Ingram’s Toyota in particular. Andrew Jordan had blasted his BMW past pole-sitter Jack Goff off the line in order to take the lead early on, before the trio enjoyed a fantastic battle for the next ten laps, although it was briefly interrupted by a short safety car period due to Stephen Jelley’s stricken BMW.
Reigning champion Ash Sutton joined the party after the restart as he claimed third from a fading Jordan, but the headline story was going on behind as Team HARD’s Mike Bushell became the first driver to set the fastest lap on dry tyres.
Conditions changed dramatically and on lap 22 of 27 the leaders had Aiden Moffat’s Laser Tools Racing Mercedes and Proctor’s Vauxhall Astra all over the back of them. The cars on wet tyres simply couldn’t hang on, with a clear dry line around the 1.2-mile circuit, so both Moffat and Proctor stormed past the early leaders across the start/finish line
Jake Hill’s Team HARD-run VW and Ollie Jackson’s AmD-run Audi were also flying and quickly nipped into third and fourth respectively, whilst series returnee Tom Boardman moved into fifth.
The action was far from over, however, as new leader Moffat ran wide through Druids and then contact was made between him and Proctor on the run down to Graham Hill Bend. Moffat’s Mercedes hit the barrier as Proctor inherited the lead, with Hill, Jackson and Boardman following him through.
The crowd were on their feet as the quite staggering encounter drew to a close and it was Proctor who took the chequered flag from Hill and Jackson – providing an all-new BTCC podium. Proctor also became the 18th race-winner in the hugely impressive 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship line-up as the PMR squad also grabbed their first ever victory.
To underline the incredible final positions, the lead of Proctor, Hill and Jackson had started the race in 27th, 25th and 12th respectively.
When the dust settled behind the podium runners it was Boardman’s MG in fourth, ahead of the recovering Moffat, whilst Rob Austin scored the first ever top six finish for the new Alfa Romeo.
Matt Simpson (Simpson Racing), Mike Bushell (Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing) and Rory Butcher (AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing) were next up in the incredible final order, whilst race one winner Goff completed the top ten positions.
Senna Proctor said: “I don’t really know what to say – I didn’t have a speech prepared after the way race one went! I’m over the moon – I’ve winded myself jumping up and down celebrating. This is unbelievable, and all credit to the boys at Power Maxed TAG Racing and all of our sponsors – they’re the reason I’m stood here today. I went round on the green flag lap and said to my engineer, ‘there are a few dry patches forming’, so he replied, ‘let’s put slicks on then’. I said, ‘we’re not going to win the race on wets but we just might on slicks, so let’s give it a go’ – and look what we’ve done! When Aiden went a little bit wide on the brakes at Druids, I was able to seize the opportunity. I’m still waiting to wake up from this dream – it’s amazing. Now I just need to resist drinking this champagne on the podium!”
Jake Hill said: “I didn’t think my first BTCC podium would come off the back of such a bad qualifying and race one. What a race! I can’t thank everyone enough for this moment. It’s a huge confidence boost and will hopefully allow us to finish the year, which is not an option at the moment. I trust this car – Geoff [Kingston] and Team HARD have done a fantastic job with it, and what a bit of kit it is! I’m over the moon – what a result!”
Ollie Jackson said: “I’m certainly a bit emotional, and Shaun [Hollamby – team principal] is crying his eyes out, which doesn’t help! It’s a great day. It took the soft tyres a little while to switch on, but on the green flag lap, I already knew I had made the right choice. It was tricky for the first few laps, but once we got the heat into the tyres, we flew! This is for the team, and it’s a pretty special achievement. The lads all do a fantastic job and we have worked for this for so long. Yes, there was a bit of luck involved, but what an amazing result!”
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 2 – Brands Hatch Indy
1 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing 27 laps
2 Jake HILL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +0.568s
3 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +1.761s
4 Tom BOARDMAN (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +2.393s
5 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +3.348s
6 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +9.395s
7 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +16.386s
8 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +17.145s
9 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +17.770s
10 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +22.213s
11 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +24.101s
12 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +25.780s
13 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +27.807s
14 James NASH (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +28.166s
15 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +28.514s
16 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +30.268s
17 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +31.456s
18 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +31.638s
19 James COLE (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +36.923s
20 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +38.708s
21 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +40.609s
22 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +41.774s
23 Josh PRICE (GBR) Autoglym Academy Racing +42.342s
24 Michael CAINE (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +48.575s
25 Sam SMELT (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +1 lap
26 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +1 lap
27 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +1 lap
28 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +1 lap
29 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +3 laps
30 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +5 laps
31 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +9 laps
32 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing