BTCC: BRANDS HATCH
It’s fair to say that drivers using Cobra seats enjoyed a fantastic start to the British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch.
The day got off to a smashing start – in the worst possible way – when Colin Turkington in his West Surrey Racing BMW 1 and Matt Neal in his Team Dynamics Honda collided as they left the grid – resulting in both drivers retirement almost before they reached the start line.
Once the ensuing safety car peeled off on lap 4, “Cobra’s” Tom Ingram, in his Speedwork Toyota, soon established a three second advantage over the field with the challenge led by Gordon Shedden in his Team Dynamics Honda.
So race 1 ended with Cobra drivers taking the first two places on the podium, with Rob Austin’s Handy Motorsport’s Toyota Avensis in 5th and Andrew Jordan and Rob Collard in their WSR BMW’s finishing 6th and 7th.
The second race went even better for the “Cobra Boys” with a 1-2-3: Reigning champion Gordon Shedden opening his 2017 account with an imperious drive, with Rob Collard second and Tom Ingram third.
It wasn’t such a great race for another driver who was more than grateful for the superb protection offered by his Cobra seat: Ant Whorton-Eales managed to almost simultaneously display Cobra logos on both sides and on the rear of his vehicle as he fish-tailed out of the race resulting in the appearance of a safety car.
On a more positive note, Colin Turkington’s very early exit in race one meant he started race two 32nd on the grid, but the kind of spirited drive you would expect from a former BTCC champion saw him achieve a magnificent tenth position – just edging out another Cobra driver Michael Epps (last year’s runner up in the Jack Sears trophy) in his RCIB Insurance/Team Hard VW CC.
Race 3 continued the good news story for Cobra with Andrew Jordan taking his first BTCC victory as a BMW driver after holding off teammate Colin Turkington in a thrilling final race of the day which saw Turkington set a series of sizzling fastest laps.
Cobra’s “longest serving ambassador”, Matt Neal, made a late surge to finish fourth with Rob Collard 6th, Gordon Shedden 7th and the RCIB Insurance/Team Hard pair of Michael Epps and Jake Hill completing the top ten in their VW CC’s. So, after a hectic and thoroughly enjoyable day, watched by over 30,000 spectators at the Kent Circuit, the early standings are looking very promising indeed for the “Cobra stable” with Shedden topping the table on 48 points, Tom Ingram second on 42, Andrew Jordan third on 41 – with Rob Collard 5th, Colin Turkington 7th and Michael Epps completing the top ten.