BTCC: THRUXTONThruxton is the fastest circuit in the calendar and perceived wisdom is that it suits front wheel drive cars – and in particular the Hondas, so it was no surprise when Matt Neal claimed pole position for the first race of the day – though unbelievably it was Matt’s first pole for five years. Despite carrying maximum ballast, Gordon Shedden completed an unbelievable practice session by claiming second on the grid. The Team Dynamic’s dominance continued in the first race with Neal and Shedden claiming a 1 – 2 in their Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Hondas, with Tom Ingram bringing his Speedworks Toyota home in 4th. It was a faultless lights-to-flag display from pole-sitter Neal, who drew level with Andy Rouse’s tally of 60 BTCC wins – the equal-second most victories in BTCC history.
In the second race, the rear wheel drive cars proved that Thruxton could also be a circuit for them when Rob Collard in his West Surrey Racing BMW 1 Series secured the 99th success for the German marque in the BTCC.
Rob Collard’s first-ever triumph at Thruxton came in a truncated race that included two stoppages and heartache for race one winner Neal.
Collard had already surged from tenth on the grid up to sixth, before the race was red flagged for the first time following a high-speed accident. Local driver Collard blasted his BMW 125i M Sport off the line again at the restart, firing his rear-wheel drive car up to third and immediately harassing the two factory Hondas ahead of him.
It was three-wide for second into the final chicane on the opening lap as Collard emerged, ‘elbows out’, ahead of Shedden.
The drama continued as the Honda Civic Type R of initial race leader Neal crawled into the pits with steering problems one lap later, handing Collard the advantage.
With the race building towards an exciting climax it was cut short following another “big off”. So, as the red flags waved it was Collard claiming a maiden win on home soil at Thruxton from Shedden and Tom Ingram a 1 – 2 – 3 for drivers in Cobra seats.
Then in race 3 Cobra participated in another magic milestone as Colin Turkington – having powered to two BTCC titles in BMW machinery – fittingly secured the memorable century for the German manufacturer.The West Surrey Racing driver produced a commanding getaway from pole position and never looked in danger – the Northern Irishman eventually taking the chequered flag nearly three seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
Speedworks Motorsport’s Ingram took second place to extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
Gordon Shedden finished fourth in the third race of the day – cementing his place as the highest points-scorer over the course of the weekend, keeping pressure on Ingram in the process. Turkington is now third in the standings after his latest success.
Honda closed the gap on BMW in the Manufacturers’ order while Team BMW slightly extended its advantage in the Teams’ standings.
Ingram and his Speedworks squad still hold sway in both Independents’ tables. So, as we look ahead to Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire, drivers using Cobra seats are in the top three positions in the drivers’ championship and also top the manufacturers, team and independents tables.