From pole to victory for Colin Turkington in the first of the trio of races on the Croft circuit.
Colin Turkington took a hugely dominating victory in round 13 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft, winning by an unheard of, by Touring Car standards, 9 seconds in his eBay Motors BMW 1 series M SPORT.
Turkington was on pole and led away from the start quickly building up a commanding lead, which no one came close to taking as the 2009 champion benefited from the decision to run on the soft tyres.
After the race Turkington, who now has 7 wins at the North Yorkshire circuit including a double win the last time he raced at the circuit back in 2009, said, “2009 was a similar story, the circuit really is a BMW suited track. This is the first win on true pace and to qualify on pole and win is a great achievement for eBay Motors. The first 6 laps I could see I was fast but it’s not often you’re able to cruise home.”
Turkington then finished off by declaring the reason for running the soft tyre in race 1,” The soft tyre was chosen by the weather as it was meant to rain in race 1, so if it did then we would have put it on when we can in race 2 or 3. It worked well but it’s always a risk on the soft tyre.”
Some 9 seconds behind the BMW were the two Honda Yuasa Racing Civics, with current championship leader Matt Neal leading home Gordon Shedden. After not getting on the podium last time out at Oulton Park the former triple champion admitted, “It was great to be back on the podium” although Turkington was “just too strong” and said, “We knew the BMW would be strong on soft tyres but that was really strong. Flash was on fire and with two laps to go we were told to slow down. I said does that mean he won’t challenge and they replied we told him that 6 laps ago! I probably wouldn’t have kept him behind without the team orders but I’m chuffed to get both cars on the podium.”
Third place Shedden thought he had done “a pretty decent job” after race 1 but rues the opening couple of laps, stuck behind an off the pace Jason Plato in his MG KX Momentum MG 6 before he got past after a little bit of contact and said, “I fell back early doors behind a slow Plato and Colin and Matt had gone. I got alongside Plato and he just squeezed and squeezed until I had nowhere to go.”
The current champion, Shedden, then went on to say how Turkington’s car will now change following his dominant race win, “Colin will find his car changed a little bit for race 2 with more weight on the car and now having to run the harder tyres, so it’s now up to us to get our fingers out and chase him.”
Finishing in a superb 4th and proving how good the BMW now is, again using the softer tyres, was Nick Foster who moved up from 12th to claim one of his best BTCC results. Foster had stunning pace over the race and passed several fancied competitors including Plato who finished 5th, Andrew Jordan in the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic who took 6th and the second MG of local driver Sam Tordoff who, like Plato, just didn’t have the speed in the MG in 7th.
Another major star from race 1 was Michael Caine, competing in his 3rd ever BTCC race and his first since 2011, as he took a superb 8th in during his maiden meeting in his Addison Lee Motorbase Ford Focus. Caine produced a move of the race when he passed the eBay Motors Rob Collard and the Cicely Racing Avensis of Adam Morgan at the same time after the pair had run slightly wide whilst battling out of turn 1.
Collard also did a good job to make it back up to 9th following a superb start from 6th to 3rd , but got spun around by Plato at turn 1 as the pair ran 2 into 1 where the circuit narrowed down, dropping the BMW back to 20th position.
Rounding out the top 10 was Tom Onslow-Cole in his Team Hard, PPCGB/Kraftwerk VW Passat; although he will be disappointed to lose two places to Caine and Collard on the final lap, after Caine dived down the inside pushing the Passat a little wide with a bit of contact.
Winning a depleted S2000 field to take the Jacks Sears trophy and producing a stunning drive in his BTCC debut, was 19 year old Jake Hill as he stands in for Liam Griffin in the Addison Lee Motorbase Ford Focus.
The reason the 6 car field was slightly depleted for the Jack Sears trophy was due to Joe Girling in his M247 Racing with Techspeed Chevrolet Cruze, being unable to run this weekend following his heavy crash yesterday in qualifying. Warren Scott suffered engine failure in his Team BMR Restart Seat Leon and will not be able to race today.
Other drivers to suffer problems in race 1 included the luckless Frank Wrathall in his Dynojet Toyota Avensis after he was hit by Foster on lap 1 dropping him to the back of the field, Mat Jackson in his Airwaves Ford Focus after he ran wide at turn 1 and hit the tyres breaking his rear suspension after trying to correct the slide, while Speedworks also has a race to forget with both Ollie Jackson and Dave Newsham being forced to retire their Toyotas in the pits with mechanical failure and accident damage respectively.