Hughes shines for MG in BTCC thriller.
RACE 1 Weather: Dry/ cloudy
Car no 4 Anthony Reid D.N.F
5 Colin Turkington 13th
6 Warren Hughes 4th
Warren Hughes drove a feisty race from 9th on the grid to 4th overall at the finish and Anthony Reid started well and was up to 4th place from 7th by lap two, but retired on lap eleven. Amazingly, a plastic bollard thrown up by the car in front speared through the MG's radiator causing it to lose all its water. Anthony retired the car on lap eleven.
Colin Turkington endured even worse fortune when an electrical glitch caused him to pit early in the race, crucially before the pitstop window, meaning he still had to make a scheduled stop to change tyres later in the race. After his second stop he emerged from the pits just in front of race winner Matt Neal and kept in front to the flag.-albeit nearly a lap behind.
Warren Hughes was in the thick of the action for the entire race. Helped by his pit crew who changed his front wheels and tyres in a stunning 4.5 seconds, Hughes caught Paul O'Neill and traded places with him for much of the race. Starting from the back, Yvan Muller was catching both of them. On lap 22 O'Neill, Hughes and Muller arrived at the chicane side by side, Muller exiting in 3rd and Hughes 4th.
RACE 2 Weather dry/ bright
Turkington stars again for MG
Car no 4 Anthony Reid 9th
5 Colin Turkington 2nd
6 Warren Hughes 7th
Fastest lap: Colin Turkington MG ZS
TOCA Radio Driver of the day award: Colin Turkington
Colin Turkington confirmed his place amongst the cream of British touring car racers with a storming drive to 2nd place from the back of the grid and Anthony Reid made a lightning start from fifteenth to be in seventh at the end of lap one.
Anthony Reid said: "No question about the start, it was really good".
The action started at the first corner with Warren Hughes sideways, exiting Redgate in fourth place trailing the MG's rear bumper after a nudge from Matt Neal.
Warren Hughes said: "I made a very good start, but got hit by Matt Neal, which almost spun me at Redgate"
After a brief Safety Car period to clear accident damage, Yvan Muller led Thompson and O'Neill, but Turkington was beginning a charge passing Bennett into 8th place on lap three.. By lap 5 all three MGs were nose to tail-Reid Turkington Hughes in 5th, 6th and 7th places. Turkington put in fastest lap.
Unfortunately Anthony Reid's impressive progress was slowed by a disastrous pit stop.
Anthony Reid said: "I think I was fourth at the stops, but a cross threaded nut cost forty seconds and a podium position".
After all the stops, Turkington was third for MG and closing on James Thompson. The current BTCC Champion is no pushover and Donington is a track he drives well, but Turkington came of age as a race driver by matching his every move, lap after lap. On lap 21 he took second place from Thompson in an audacious move at MacLean's only for Thompson to repeat the move at the same corner on the following lap to regain the place. The pair continued side by side for most of lap 24, right up to the chicane where Turkington kept his nerve to take second place, which he held until the end.
Colin Turkington said: "We really got the car sorted well today and it was a fantastic result for MG and the team. I've had a few close races with James recently; I enjoyed today and I think he enjoyed it too".
This result means the MG team continues its excellent run of results in the second half of the season.
Dick Bennett said: "Colin drove a magnificent race for MG today. The performance of the MG ZS was outstanding in the second race with Colin and Anthony Reid trading fastest laps. We're now looking forward to Oulton Park where the MG's handling should see us up there again".
Next round of BTCC is Oulton Park Sunday 21st September, 2003.