MG KX Momentum have definitely experienced the highs and lows of motorsport at Snetterton during rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, which started so well for the team, after youngster Sam Tordoff lead home an MG 1-2 in race 1. However the rest of the day didn’t go to plan with a double non finish in race 2 while worse was to follow in race 3.
The other two races were won by Honda drivers Andrew Jordan, in his Independent Pirtek Racing Civic, with the final race of the day being won by current BTCC champion Gordon Shedden driving the works Honda Yuasa Racing Civic.
The day started as scripted with Tordoff taking a dominant maiden victory after securing his first ever pole position the previous day with Plato able to hold on to second to take the teams second 1-2 of 2013.
The win was no more than what the 24 year old deserves following his superb start to the season and said after, “The first one is always special. I knew if I got away well I’d have a great chance and thankfully I did. A one-two is great for the team and now I have a maiden win-well I have ticked that box.”
Sadly for MG all was to go downhill following their superb start to the day when in race 2 Plato was forced to retire whilst in the lead and first race winner Tordoff also had to retire, both suffering mechanical issues, eventually finishing in 18th after he had been in another podium position earlier in the race.
This meant both MGs were forced to start near the back for race 3 but things were about to turn up side down very quickly, literally, for Plato. With the midfield incredibly tight heading around the twisty infield section on the opening lap, the pack bunched up and Plato was tagged from the rear pitching his car off at high speed in to the barriers.
As the MG hit the barriers, such was the impact and angle of the hit that this tipped the former double champion into a full barrel roll before the car landed on all 4 wheels. Thankfully Plato was unharmed but now, as a result, trails the championship leader by a massive 50 points leaving his championship aspirations in tatters.
Tordoff at least gave the team something to smile about producing a stunning drive to 5th from 18th just missing out on a podium after closing down the battle for third during the closing laps.
Another disappointed man after Snetterton must surely be eBay Motors driver Colin Turkington. Despite not finishing lower than 6th, the Northern Irishman driving the team’s BMW 125i M Sport found himself in the lead and on course for victory in both races 2 and 3 before contact denied him victory on both occasions.
In race 2 he made contact with Jordan and, after going on to take the race win, Jordan said, “Colin was driving very well, defensively but fair, and then he made a little mistake. I put my car up the inside-he closed me down a little bit and I couldn’t go anywhere else.”
Jordan was judged not to be at fault for the incident and received no penalty, however he did get a penalty for an earlier race incident with Shedden and now, thanks to TOCA’s new 3 strike rule for 2013, becomes the second driver to incur a 6 place grid penalty, which will come into force for race 1 at Knockhill and follows his Pirtek Racing team mate earlier Jeff Smith who received the penalty earlier during the season.
In race 3, after another lightning start where he went from 3rd to 1st before the opening corner, Turkington was nudged into a spin by Shedden who, like Jordan earlier, then went on to take victory in comfortable fashion.
Shedden was allowed to keep the victory but received a £500 fine and some penalty points on his race licence but unlike Jordan does not face a 6 place grid penalty as this was only his first strike of the season.
Despite a mixed afternoon, it was former triple BTCC champion Matt Neal who remains at the top of the standings in his Honda Yuasa Racing Civic albeit at a reduced amount of just 9 points. Neal was always going to struggle in race 1 with maximum ballast and 9th was the best he could manage before a fantastic fight back in race 2 saw Neal take 2nd.
However in race 3 he was tapped into a spin on the opening lap by pole sitter Dave Newsham after the Speedworks driver had made a poor get away in his Toyota Avensis. Neal was at least able to fight back to 8th to gain more valuable points that could become crucial come the end of the season.
Without doubt the happiest team leaving Snetterton will be the Airwaves Racing Motorbase team after they picked up the team’s trophy for the weekend. Much was expected of the Ford Focus this year following its hugely successful half season last year; however the team have struggled with a number of issues.
During the summer break the team have been working tirelessly to improve the Focus and have attended a number of tests to try and improve the car. Now, finally, the team have something to cheer about with their first 2013 podium with Aron Smith, 3rd in race 2, also rewarding the team for their work in fixing his car following his heavy crash in qualifying the day before.
Better was to follow for the team in race 3 with both cars getting on the podium when Mat Jackson finished second and Aron Smith picked up his second third place of the day.
In the Jack Sears Trophy, for the older S2000 cars, it was Lea Wood who dominated the day in his Wheel heaven/Houseman racing Vauxhall Vectra. Wood now has built up a big lead in the series where only the wins count towards the final championship, as he secured a hat trick of wins in the depleted field as his other Jack Sears trophy competitors self destructed around him.