BTCC DONINGTON PARK
28 APRIL 2019
Drivers using Cobra seats take top podium position in all three races!
The rain Gods again caused mischief at qualifying for the latest round of the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park, with poor weather and red flags dominating proceedings.
Not that “Cobra driver” Colin Turkington seemed to mind: Despite losing a lap time for exceeding track limits, Colin was still able to register the fastest time and take the 18th pole of his career by a whopping 0.6 of a second, although incredibly it was Turk’s first pole for two years!
While Championship leader Josh Cook proved the pace of the new BTCC Racing Honda by taking second on the grid, Sam Tordoff bounced back from a disappointing weekend at Brands to take 5th to show that the older generation Honda still had some life in it.
On to Race One and there was chaos at the Old Hairpin on lap one as Andrew Jordan was flipped right and then left to be a sitting duck as Adam Morgan slammed in to Andrew’s drivers door without any chance of touching the brakes: A sickening impact that left Jordan bruised and sore but thankful that his Cobra seat had saved him from serious injury.
The inevitable safety car peeled off on lap seven only for Josh Cook to be “savaged” on lap 8 resulting in the safety car making another brief appearance.
When racing resumed Sam Tordoff “decided” to put his Cobra seat to the test when he swapped ends on lap 12 to fall from 3rd to 12th.
Meanwhile Colin Turkington was keeping out of trouble at the front of the race for a pole to flag victory while Tom Oliphant’s WSR BMW moved silently through the ranks to an impressive third.
Also worthy of note was an impeccable drive from Matt Neal who kept a perfect driving line and made no mistakes to take 4th despite relentless pressure from “Cobra boys” Tom Ingram and Dan Cammish.
Drivers using Cobra seats were in the thick of the action in race Two, too.
Again, Colin Turkington led from pole (this time with the maximum 54kg win ballast). Dan Cammish received a drive through penalty for being out of position at the start of the race and a couple of “offs” by other drivers led to (another) safety car: At the resumption of racing a resurgent Tom Oliphant was in a very competitive third but was clipped on one rear wheel before Matt Neal managed to clip him on the other resulting in a not very square BMW starting to fall back through the field.
While Colin Turkington eased to the 48th BTCC win of his career, another safety car gave Matt Neal the chance to close up on 2nd and eventually take the position on lap 16 to ensure “Cobra drivers” took the top two steps on the podium.
Race three was dominated by tyre choice (or lack of it) with Tom Ingram’s Team Toyota Corolla on pole and Josh Cook’s Honda Civic third on the grid both shod in the (preferred) medium Dunlops. Cars on the softer (medium) tyres virtually had their own race with Tom and Josh holding their grid positions to the chequered flag – while Jake Hill put in a tremendous drive to take his hard-optioned Trade Price Audi A3 in to 6th.
For Ingram, it was an emotional first win in the all-new Toyota Corolla cheered on as he was by more than 4,500 employees from the local Toyota plant at Burnaston.
It’s a result that moves Tom up to 6th in the drivers’ Championship – just 6 points ahead of Matt Neal and the same number of points behind Rory Butcher in 5th, while Colin Turkington has shot up he rankings to 3rd (just 5 points off the lead) and Josh Cook is in second place in the table.
With just 12 points separating the top 6 drivers in the table we can’t wait for the next round at Thruxton!