BTCC: DONNINGTON PARK
The second meeting of the 2017 Dunlop British Touring Car Championship may have taken place on a grey Easter Sunday at Donington Park – but the sun shone for drivers using Cobra seats.
Rob Austin took pole position in the first race of the day in his Toyota Avensis, backing up his impressive pace in Free Practice, but it was fellow “Cobra driver” Tom Ingram who made the best start. Despite having penalty ballast, Ingram (who started the day second in the championship), was in the lead by The Old Hairpin after bumping Austin out of his path.
However, Ingram’s extra ballast began to take its toll and he dropped three places in one corner with Matt Neal moving in to second place from a resurgent Austin. Behind Neal and Austin, Colin Turkington took a good fourth overall. Ingram was suffering with a heavy car and the option tyres but some great defensive driving saw him take fifth. He led a train of cars that included Rob Collard and championship leader Gordon Shedden.
Race two saw Ingram make another great start to lead the race, with the BMWs also flying ahead of Austin and Neal. With less success ballast in the car, Ingram was able to hold the lead to become the first two time winner of the 2017 season. Behind him, Rob Collard guided his West Surrey Racing BMW in to second place and Colin Turkington took fifth ahead of Gordon Shedden who moved past team-mate Matt Neal to beat him to sixth.
This was Easter weekend, to it was perhaps inevitable before the final race of the day, the heavens opened! At the start, it was Matt Neal who took the lead but he slid off the road in the treacherous conditions. He wasn’t the only one – Shedden, Ingram and Collard were a trio of Cobra drivers (amongst many others) to go into the gravel. The race was stopped and restarted when the track was drier, but without those who failed to get out of the gravel, including Neal. At the restart ‘Flash’ started to move up the order and took the lead on lap 5. From this point on the Honda driver sped into the distance and took the win from Colin Turkington with Tom Ingram completing a good weekend with a hard fought sixth place.
So, after an Easter meeting memorable for exciting racing, major incidents and extreme weather, drivers using Cobra seats dominate the top three positions in the championship. Gordon Shedden remains at the top of the drivers’ standings, just four points ahead of Tom Ingram with Colin Turkington completing the top three.