It was honours shared during rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship held at Donington Park with 3 different race winners. The big story from the day was that 2009 BTCC champion Colin Turkington won race 3, in only his second BTCC meeting since his return in a car that has only raced that long as well.
Up until race 3 it seemed as if the new West Surrey Racing prepared eBay Motors BMW 125i was struggling, with regular drivers Rob Collard and Nick Foster not challenging the top 10. Despite this only being Turkington’s second race meeting since winning his title in 2009, it was the Northern Irish man who was the only BMW driver inside the top 10 all weekend; albeit in the lower places inside the top 10.
However in race 3 the 2009 champion got lucky after sports car driver David Brabham, who was present to watch his son take part in his first ever Formula Ford race, picked out number 10 for the reverse grid meaning Turkington started on the front row of the grid.
With his rear wheel drive power, Turkington was able to make a lightning quick getaway and instantly pulled away to build up a lead no one came close to taking away from him. After the race a delighted Turkington said, “Obviously I’m delighted with the result of the final race. I knew that the start was going to be critical and that if I got into the lead, I could try and break away from the cars behind. That’s exactly what I managed to do, and it was fantastic to get the win. This is a great reward for the guys who have worked so hard over the past six months to get the three cars built and ready for this season and I feel we’ve made a step forward this weekend. Hopefully this victory can be a springboard for us.”
Despite success for Turkington in race 3 it was very much Honda’s day with 7 of the 9 podium places taken up by Honda drivers. Reigning champion Gordon Shedden led home a Honda 1, 2, 3 in race 1 in his works Honda Yuasa Racing Civic, with reigning Independent champion Andrew Jordan claiming victory in race 2 for his Independent team Pirtek Racing in an identical Civic to the works team.
After a disappointing start to the season at Brands Hatch with a non points finish and a disqualification in race 2 at Brands Hatch, Shedden very much got his season underway this time round with a pair of podiums, 3rd in race 2 and 2nd in race 3, moving him up the standings from 9th going into the round to 4th; although still 20 points off the top of the standings.
Shedden though left the day much happier than he did last time out after Brands Hatch and said, “We managed the gap in the first race, kept it sensible and brought the car home for a good win. It was a good victory and overall it was nice to secure a solid point’s haul after a bit of a mixed time at Brands Hatch in the last round.”
After winning the Independent’s last season, Jordan admitted prior to the season that the main title was his goal for 2013 and, based on his early form, this is certainly not out of the question following a 2nd in race 1 and a win in race 2 to back up his pair of seconds last time out at Brands Hatch.
Jordan leaves Donington now just 5 points off of the lead in the overall standings, although it could have been a different story had he not been forced to make a pit stop in race 3 to remove grass from his radiator. Despite this Jordan, who also holds the lead in the Independent points, was delighted with his day’s work at his home circuit and said, “The home crowd gave me a lot of support here this weekend. Matt and Jason obviously won at Brands and then Gordon won the first one here, so I thought it was time I got myself on the top step of the podium. The car has just been fantastic all weekend. Everyone talks about Plato, Neal and Shedden, but we’re not surprised by our pace and we consider ourselves as championship contenders.”
This weekend was clearly a very important for the second Honda Yuasa Racing driver Matt Neal has he chalked up his 500th BTCC start. Although he couldn’t match it with a dream win, the triple champion did get to step on the podium twice for a pair of thirds in races 1 and 3 and said after the weekend, “It has been a special day for me. Of course you always want race wins but I’ve been around long enough to know that you can’t have it all your own way all the time. We scored some good points and to compete in my 500th race at my home circuit was fantastic.”
As for MG KX Momentum Racing and Jason Plato, he still leads the series by 5 points following a best result of 2nd in race 2, his 400th BTCC meeting. Plato’s youngster team mate, Sam Tordoff, looked on course for second in race 3 only to be passed by both Honda’s on the final lap and end up 4th , ending the day 19 points behind Plato and 4th in the current standings.
Other notable performances on the day came from Adam Morgan in his Cicely Racing Toyota Avensis and Tom Onslow-Cole in Tony Gilham’s Team Hard, PPCGB.com/Kraftwork VW Passat.
For Morgan this is his second season in the championship after running last year for Speedworks where, last year he was in my view a bit like the Romain Grosjean of the BTCC, very quick but often got into incidents although not always his fault.
This year he is clearly much more settled being run by his family run team as he finished the day with 3 strong results, three 5th place finishes, and incredibly he already has more points this year than he did in the entire year last year sitting currently 2nd in the Independent points standing and 6th in the overall standings.
As for Onslow-Cole, despite the lack of development with the VW Passat the 25 year old continued to get everything out of the car and following a 10th place finish in race 2, that put him on pole for race 3, raced hard keeping up with the leading contenders all race and even re-passing a couple of them late in the race to claim a hugely encouraging 6th place finish.
Meanwhile in the final championship for the older spec super 2000 cars competing, the Jack Sears trophy, the wins were shared between Lea Wood in his wheel heaven/Houseman Vauxhall Vectra, Joe Girling for M247 Racing with Techspeed Chevrolet Cruze, while victory in race 1 meant that James Kaye now sits level at the top of the championship in his AmD tuning.com Golf with Liam Griffin after he took two wins at Brands Hatch in his Addison Lee Motorbase Ford Focus.