Shedden extends advantage as Jackson wins
Motorbase Performance celebrated its second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory of the season after Mat Jackson cruised to a lights-to-flag triumph in the Silverstone opener.
Andrew Jordan battled his way from fourth on the grid to claim second for MG Triple Eight Racing while Honda’s Gordon Shedden took third, extending his standings advantage over Jason Plato who retired on the penultimate lap.
Jackson’s Ford Focus flew off the line and surged into a two second lead in the opening laps as those behind squabbled for the remaining podium positions.
Sam Tordoff looked to be in contention for second after getting his own decent getaway but his BMW 125i M Sport ran wide at Maggotts on the first tour, allowing Jordan’s MG6 to nip by. Tordoff’s woes would worsen late on as another off-line moment forced him tumbling down the top ten order.
2013 BTCC Champion Jordan went one better on lap two as he made a great move past Shedden’s Honda into Becketts. Shedden’s ballast-laden Civic Type R came back to the fore in the closing stages as the performance in the Dunlop soft tyre shod machines of Jackson and Jordan faded slightly. It was too late to make a challenge, however, as Shedden ended up fending off a feisty Dave Newsham to take the final podium position.
Such has been the impressive pace of Jackson’s Focus since its mid-season entrance that only Shedden and Plato have led more laps across the entire season. “The Motorbase has car has been flying all weekend,” he beamed. “We were confident but you just never quite know in a race. We’ve got two more races to try and do it all again but now we’ve got the prize of 75kgs success ballast, so we’re going a bit into the unknown.”
Shedden’s joy was further bolstered when his main title rival – Jason Plato – retired with a late puncture. The pace in Plato’s Team BMR RCIB Insurance car wasn’t particularly great throughout as it struggled for top speed with a recurring engine issue. Plato’s contest began by losing an early place to old adversary Matt Neal and although he was able to maintain position until his puncture misfortune, he has now slipped 21 points behind Scotsman Shedden in the overall standings.
“Unfortunately our engine problem came back to bite us and I was losing time down every straight,” said a frustrated Plato. “This car should be quick but we didn’t want to risk an engine change, but we have to do it now. It was a bit unlucky with the puncture too of course.”
Newsham produced his best performance of the season so far with fourth place for Power Maxed Racing. The Chevrolet Cruze showed podium pace late on but Shedden kept his Honda on the racing line and Newsham couldn’t find a way past.
It was an impressive performance from Shedden, but the man himself is remaining cautiously optimistic over his championship chances. “It was great for us,” he said. “I didn’t have the grip early on but it actually helped when Andy Jordan got past as I could cling onto the slipstream. I’m absolutely delighted to grab a podium with all the weight on. Jason [Plato] didn’t score in race one at Rockingham but still came back to win race three so we’ve got to keep pushing
The VWs of Colin Turkington and Aron Smith ran in tandem throughout the 22-lap encounter to finish fifth and sixth respectively, whilst Rob Collard edged his way up the order into seventh for Team JCT600 with GardX. Having started down in 12th position the BMW racer made a number of nice moves but slight contact with Tom Ingram’s Toyota through Luffield was the one that really paid off, as both Collard and Neal got by the Speedworks driver. Ingram hung on to take ninth ahead of the disappointed Tordoff.
1 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance
2 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) MG 888 Racing
3 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing
4 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) Power Maxed Racing
5 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMR RCIB Insurance
6 Aron SMITH (IRL) Team BMR RCIB Insurance
7 Robert COLLARD (GBR) JCT600 Racing with GardX
8 Matt NEAL (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing
9 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport
10 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) JCT600 Racing with GardX
11 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Exocet AlcoSense
12 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing
13 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing
14 Josh COOK (R) (GBR) Power Maxed Racing
15 Mike BUSHELL (R) (GBR) AmD Tuning.com
16 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing
17 James COLE (GBR) Motorbase Performance
18 Daniel WELCH (GBR) Welch Motorsport
19 Alex MARTIN (R) (GBR) Dextra Racing
20 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing
21 Derek P ALMER (R) (GBR) Support Our Paras Racing
22 Stewart LINES (R) (GBR) Houseman Racing
23 Andy PRIAULX (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club
24 Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Exocet AlcoSense
25 Jason PLATO (GBR) Team BMR RCIB Insurance
26 Simon BELCHER (GBR) Handy Motorsport
27 Jack GOFF (GBR) MG 888 Racing
DNF Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) AmD Tuning.com
DNF Tony GILHAM (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing
Click here to view the full classification from race one.