Aiden Moffat claims magnificent maiden win
Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat has taken a magnificent and memorable maiden BTCC victory in the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Donington Park.
The youngest driver in the series’ history has been making rapid progress in recent seasons, but this was arguably his finest drive from fourth on the grid. He had already seen off Jack Goff’s Eurotech Honda on the opening tour, before he sliced his way into second with a great move by Rob Austin at the Old Hairpin on the second lap.
He began hounding down early leader Tom Ingram, who had himself made a forceful move into P1 past pole-sitter Rob Austin on the run down to Redgate for the first time, and the two front-runners were soon locked in battle.
Moffat’s moment came on lap five as the Mercedes got the run alongside Ingram’s ballast-laden Speedworks Avensis, which was also running the harder Dunlop SportMaxx option tyre. Ingram had no answer and Moffat was through as the cars ran down the Craner Curves. The Scotsman would never look back.
Ingram would get further shuffled down the order after Austin acted his revenge on the sister-Toyota, whilst Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal and Team BMW’s Colin Turkington also nipped by.
Neal was into second on lap 15 after his own eye-catching pass by Handy Motorsport’s Austin, and as the duo maintained their scrap until the finish it allowed Moffat to cruise home in relative ease. The Laser Tools Racing garage erupted as he crossed the line and the celebrations continued once the BTCC’s newest race-winner emerged from his triumphant Mercedes.
“It’s a very special feeling – I won’t be forgetting this moment anytime soon!” beamed Moffat. “The Laser Tools Racing car was absolutely brilliant. We’ve had a great set-up all weekend, so I was feeling confident and knew we had the pace. It all came together nicely.”
Neal and Austin completed the podium, whilst Turkington will be equally delighted with a solid fourth place.
“After I cleared Rob, I thought ‘I’ll get my head down and try to chase after Aiden [Moffat]’, but he pegged me lap for lap – everything I did, he just seemed to go slightly better,” claimed triple champion Neal. “Fair play to him – he drove a clean, honest race and it was a great result. I’ll gain some weight for race two now which will make it a bit harder, and rain might spice things up, too…”
“I’m so happy for Aiden [Moffat]; he’s such a good lad and it was a brilliant drive from him – he really deserves it,” responded Austin. “As for me, at the start of the race I was on the brakes [going into Redgate] but the car wasn’t stopping. That was quite upsetting, but we got going and then for the first couple of laps we really struggled to get enough heat into the rear tyres and it was a bit lairy at times! We also had a small gear issue, and that was the only opportunity Matt [Neal] needed to get past. I thought we would have a genuine shot at Brands Hatch, but I’m really happy to now be scoring good points and making up for lost ground.”
Ingram hung on to fifth ahead of a hard-charging Rob Collard, the Team BMW driver having expertly disposed of Adam Morgan and Gordon Shedden on the penultimate lap.
Jeff Smith started ninth and ended ninth, although his race was from sedate after a number of moves up and down the order eventually ended with the Eurotech racer back where he began.
Josh Cook grabbed a top ten for Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport after he benefitted from a bizarre incident involving both MGs. Cook was seemingly inbetween Aron Taylor-Smith and Daniel Lloyd on the fast run down the Craners, before inevitable contact sent the MG Racing RCIB Insurance duo spiralling out of contention.
A number of others were in the wars as an opening lap melee put paid to the challenges of Jake Hill, Martin Depper and James Cole, whilst a later collision between Andrew Jordan and Michael Epps speared the latter into the barrier.
The teams now have just over two hours to lick their wounds and mend their cars, as 32 of the country’s best racing drivers do it all again in race two of three at 14:35 – you can catch all of the action live on ITV4.
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 4 – Donington Park
1 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing 16 laps
2 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +1.504s
3 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +2.164s
4 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +2.433s
5 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +14.539s
6 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +14.984s
7 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +15.358s
8 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +15.668s*
9 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +17.996s
10 Josh COOK (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +18.905s
11 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat with Duo +18.330s
12 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing +18.878s
13 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +19.858s
14 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +20.556s
15 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +21.074s
16 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +21.327s
17 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +21.714s
18 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +22.005s
19 Luke DAVENPORT (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +23.791s
20 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +24.829s
21 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +25.278s
22 Josh PRICE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +39.276s
23 Will BURNS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +41.935s
24 Aron TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +1 lap
DNF Daniel LLOYD (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +4 laps
DNF Michael EPPS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +7 laps
DNF Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +12 laps
DNF Tom CHILTON (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +12 laps
DNF Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +13 laps
DNF James COLE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +16 laps
DNF Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +16 laps
DNF Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +16 laps
*Adam Morgan was penalised by addition of 0.5s to his race time for gaining an unfair advantage (whether unfair or not) during a race