Aron Smith has claimed his first victory of the season.
Aron Smith took his and the Chrome Edition Restart Racing squad’s second win of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in a dramatic reversed-grid finale at Snetterton.
Smith started from pole and narrowly held the lead from the Airwaves Racing Ford Focuses of former double champion Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson. The top three stayed close during the early laps, but held position while the excitement kicked off behind.
Adam Morgan’s WIX Racing Mercedes A-class initially held fourth, but he was edged wide as Matt Neal’s Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourer came by at Agostini on lap two. Championship leader Colin Turkington’s eBay Motors BMW followed Neal through and then attacked immediately attacked the triple-champion ahead of him.
Neal defended strongly, while his title-contending team-mate Gordon Shedden recovered from a slightly poor first lap, running eighth behind Morgan and double Snetterton winner Jason Plato (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save). Eventually, Turkington touched Neal’s Honda under braking for Agostini and set off after the lead trio. Neal recovered but would finish 11th.
By now, Jackson had also overtaken Giovanardi to make his own attempt at usurping Smith and the constant battling allowed the frontrunners to close up. With just two laps to go just 2.5 seconds covered the top eight, in the order of Smith, Jackson, Giovanardi, Turkington, Plato, Shedden, Sam Tordoff and Rob Collard, who had charged through the field after starting on row nine in his West Surrey Racing BMW.
Morgan, Marc Hynes – in the Quantel Bifold Racing MG6 – and Jack Goff’s VW were also not far behind the lead train.
The fight to the finish
Jackson applied real pressure to Smith, as Turkington did to Giovanardi and Shedden did to Plato, but defensive lines kept the order the same going on to the final lap.
Giovanardi was just three corners from a podium when he slid off at the Bomb Hole. As he recovered he was collected by Collard, who had already overtaken Tordoff, and spun. He eventually crossed the line in 13th.
Up ahead, Smith held off Jackson by just 0.444s, while Giovanardi’s late off gave Turkington his third podium of the day. Plato took fourth, ahead of Shedden, while Collard crossed the line sixth, ahead of Tordoff.
Morgan, Hynes and Goff completed the top ten, as Glynn Geddie added to his points tally with 12th in his United Autosports Toyota Avensis.
Behind Giovanardi, Alain Menu charged from the back to 14th in his Chrome Edition Restart Racing Passat, while AmD Tuning.com’s Ford Focus completed the points scorers in the hands of Dave Newsham.
Turkington’s three podiums have moved him into a 23-point lead over Shedden. Double champion Plato is now third in the championship, another 33 behind.