British Touring Car Championship
Brands Hatch (GP) - Race 1 Report - 2/10/16
With Tom Ingram starting from the back of the grid after his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis failed a ride-height check following yesterday's rain-soaked qualifying session, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship prepared for the first of today's three title-deciding races from Kent's Brands Hatch circuit. Current championship leader Sam Tordoff qualified 10th and started on row 5 with his closest rivals Gordon Shedden ahead on row 4 and Matt Neal on row 6 with Rob Collard.
Race 1 got under way with eight drivers mathematically capable of taking the 2016 BTCC Drivers' Championship title. Both Colin Turkington and Rob Austin got good starts with Austin's Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis staying right behind Turkington's Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Levorg GT on the opening lap.
The Safety Car was deployed on lap 2 following an incident between Hunter Abbott and championship contender Andrew Jordan. Abbott managed to recover his Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze to the pits however for Jordan, the race was over.
Racing quickly resumed with Colin Turkington steadily extending his lead over Rob Austin who was having to defend his 2nd place from the advances of Jason Plato in 3rd and Josh Cook in 4th. The battle for 2nd place continued throughout the race with Austin holding on to his positon. With the championship at stake, the main protagonists drove a cautious race leaving Turkington untroubled at the front.
At the chequered flag it was a commanding 4.57 second victory for Colin Turkington with Rob Austin a well-deserved 2nd. Jason Plato looked set for 3rd place however a brave last lap pass by MG Racing RCIB Insurance's Josh Cook denied the former BTCC champion the final podium position and his championship hopes. Gordon Shedden finished 5th behind Plato with Adam Morgan 6th. Matt Neal, Aiden Moffat, Ashley Sutton and Sam Tordoff completed the top 10.
Despite finishing 10th, Sam Tordoff still leads the Drivers' Championship however Gordon Shedden has now closed the gap to just 6 points with Matt Neal another 4 points behind. Rob Collard and Colin Turkington are still in contention, being 19 and 20 points respectively behind Tordoff. With 44 points available from the two remaining races, Mat Jackson and Andrew Jordan are also in with a chance as 7 drivers now vie for the championship.
Published 2 October 2016