British Touring Car Championship
Thruxton - Race 1 Report - 8/5/16
Following an exciting qualifying session yesterday when the top of the time sheet changed several times in the closing minutes, it was Speedworks Motorsport's Tom Ingram who secured pole position for the first race of the day from Thruxton in Hampshire. Aiden Moffat also qualified well in 2nd place to join Ingram on the front row of the grid in his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes Benz A-Class. Matt Neal started on row 2 alongside Josh Cook with BTCC rookie Ashley Sutton and Adam Morgan on row 3. Being the fastest circuit on the BTCC calendar, Thruxton is the only venue where Dunlop bring a special tyre in order to cope with the extreme cornering forces. This means that this is the only meeting where is no requirement for the teams to nominate a race in which to run the soft option tyre - all cars run with the special Thruxton tyre in all three races.
The early morning rain soon gave way to bright sunshine as 28 of the capacity 32-car grid lined up for the first race of the day with the shock news than Silverline Subaru BMR Racing had withdrawn all four of their Levorg GTs on safety grounds. After James Cole's incident at Donington Park, re-designed and re-manufactured high pressure fuel rails were installed in the cars, however they were showing signs of fatigue following yesterday's qualifying session and after looking at the available options, the team decided the safest course of action was to withdraw from the Thruxton event.
Despite carrying the maximum 75Kg success ballast as championship leader, Matt Neal got an excellent start in his Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R and took second place after contact with Aiden Moffat's Laser Tools Racing Mercedes Benz A-Class. Moffat lost several places in the incident and ended the first lap in 6th place behind Neal in 1st, Josh Cook 2nd, Tom Ingram 3rd, Adam Morgan 4th and Ashley Sutton 5th. Sutton crashed out on the next lap battling for 4th place after hitting the barriers.
Hampered by the ballast he was carrying, Matt Neal couldn't pull away from the pack. Aiden Moffat on the other hand was on a charge, posting the fastest lap of the race so far. Meanwhile, Adam Morgan had made his way up to 2nd place in his WIX Racing Mercedes Benz A-Class and set about attacking Neal for the lead. Morgan's efforts paid off on lap 5 however Neal hadn't giving up the lead lightly and soon re-took the position from Morgan.
Behind the leaders, Josh Cook was being chased by Aiden Moffat for 3rd place. Matt Neal was starting to struggle and was passed by both Adam Morgan and Aiden Moffat. Neal than started to fall into the clutches of Speedworks Motorsport's Tom Ingram who was in turn defending from Motorbase Performance's Andrew Jordan. At the front, Adam Morgan started to extend a slender lead over Aiden Moffat in 2nd place. At the mid-race distance Matt Neal was 3rd with Tom Ingram 4th, Josh Cook 5th and Andrew Jordan 6th.
On lap 10, Matt Neal attacked Aiden Moffat who ran wide with a puncture. Further punctures were sustained including Mat Jackson's Motorbase Performance Ford Focus. On lap 12, Matt Neal also suffered a puncture and as he pulled across the track to enter the pit lane was hit by Josh Cook who had nowhere to go and spun. Gordon Shedden was also collected in the incident after being hit by Jake Hill. With numerous cars littering the track, the race was ended with Adam Morgan taking the victory ahead of Tom Ingram, Andrew Jordan, Jeff Smith and Martin Depper with Rob Collard completing the top 6 places.
Published 8 May 2016