Colin Turkington revitalised his tilt for the 2015 British Touring Car Championship title with two wins at Snetterton on Sunday, while Jack Goff took a fine debut victory.
Turkington led a Team BMR top three lockout in qualifying, though Aron Smith and Jason Plato were less than 0.1 seconds behind the reigning champion. In fact, the field was so close that the top 17 runners were separated by less than a second.
Race 1 was a relatively quiet affair, Turkington, Smith and Plato running in close formation at the front of the field. There are no team orders at BMR, but everyone was driving with points in mind. Plato in particular, who started the weekend second in the championship and was looking to capitalise on leader Gordon Shedden’s 16th position on the grid, the consequence of power steering issues.
Fourth-placed Andrew Jordan kept Plato busy for some of the race – both the Volkswagen and MG running new liveries, incidentally – and later had to defend from Andy Priaulx. Having managed his BMW’s soft tyres brilliantly, Priaulx was a second a lap quicker than anyone else during the closing stages of the race, after passing Matt Neal for fifth at half distance.
Adam Morgan fought through from 12th on the grid to seventh at the finish, taking Dave Newsham with him. Jack Goff dropped a couple of places to ninth, ahead of Tom Ingram.
Fastest lap secured pole in Race 2 for Colin Turkington, alongside Sam Tordoff’s BMW in second and Adam Morgan in third.
Tordoff made a very slow getaway, which allowed both Morgan and Andy Priaulx through. Behind, all hell broke loose. Rob Collard, Stewart Lines and Barry Horne all went off at the first corner – Horne survived, Lines didn’t, Collard lost three laps to repairs. And later the Eurotech Hondas of Martin Depper and Jeff Smith took each other and BMR’s Warren Scott off.
The biggest casualty, though, was Gordon Shedden. As the pack bunched up in the braking zone for Turn 5, Shedden’s teammate Matt Neal clattered into the back of the Civic, damaging the rear corner heavily. Having failed to score in the first race either, the retirement dealt Shedden’s title hopes a serious blow. Neal himself would retire later, due to the damage sustained in this incident and another involving Rob Austin.
Aron Smith and Dave Newsham took each other out on lap 2, as well.
Despite carrying 75kg of success ballast, Turkington was able to drive away at the front. Meanwhile, Morgan in second had the drive to his life as he defended against Priaulx. Jason Plato and Tordoff were both in mix as well, the pair having swapped positions earlier in proceedings. The group put on a fine display of close-quarters racing, constantly sniffing out an opportunity to pass, but keeping the racing clean. They finished pretty much nose-to-tail.
Jack Goff was a lonely sixth, ahead of Andrew Jordan who had been kept busy by Tom Ingram trying just about everything bar driving over the MG to get past. But Ingram’s challenge was undone on the last lap when he suffered a puncture. That promoted Mat Jackson to eighth for the returning Motorbase squad. Austin was ninth ahead of Mike Bushell, achieving his best result so far in the AmD Tuning.com Ford.
Jack Goff was drawn on pole for the reverse grid third race of day. Sam Tordoff was second again but made another bad start, Andy Priaulx taking the advantage. But it only lasted until lap two, when Jason Plato pulled off a brave move through the Esses.
By that point Goff had built a two-second lead which he managed throughout. Plato closed during the last couple of laps and almost got by when Goff had a huge sideways moment coming into the last corner. But Goff held on and took his first BTCC win, a just reward for the huge amount of effort he puts into getting on the grid – you almost can’t see his car under all the sponsors’ logos!
Priaulx had to defend from Tordoff late on, but took his second podium finish of the day. Andrew Jordan took a another solid finish in fifth, ahead of Mat Jackson and Colin Turkington. A feisty battle for the lower top ten placings saw Rob Austin come out on top in eighth, followed by Tom Ingram and Rob Collard.
Speaking after the race, Goff said: “That’s the strongest the car has felt all season, and it was a great race. I could see Jason [Plato] in my mirrors and was thinking ‘of all the people to have behind me, it would be him!’ It’s finally happened though – I had a little wobble on the last lap where I just switched off for a split second but I managed to hold it together. Hopefully the results will come like London busses now!”
Colin Turkington said: “It’s been a super weekend – two wins and a solid points finish in race three have really brought me into the hunt. I needed a performance like that as I was beginning to feel a little left out!”
Jason Plato now leads the championship by 16 points from Colin Turkington. His terrible weekend drops Gordon Shedden to third.
Next time, the BTCC heads north of the border to Knockhill near Edinburgh. Traditionally the tight, hilly track has been a good hunting ground for the BMWs, but don’t count out the Volkswagens. The MGs have a good record there, too. The races take place on 23 August.
BTCC Snetterton Race 1 top ten finishers
- Colin Turkington — Team BMR/Volkswagen CC — 23:46.381
- Aron Smith — Team BMR/Volkswagen CC — +1.706
- Jason Plato — Team BMR/Volkswagen CC — +2.651
- Andrew Jordan — MG Pirtek Racing/MG6 GT — +3.442
- Andy Priaulx — Team IHG Rewards Club/BMW 125i M Sport — +3.732
- Matt Neal — Honda Yuasa Racing/Honda Civic Type R — +8.340
- Adam Morgan — WIX Racing/Mercedes A-Class — +9.372
- Dave Newsham — Power Maxed Racing/Chevrolet Cruze — +9.848
- Jack Goff — MG 5 Star Cases Racing/MG6 GT — +10.045
- Tom Ingram — Speedworks Motorsport/Toyota Avensis — +11.206
BTCC Snetterton Race 2 top ten finishers
- Colin Turkington — Team BMR/Volkswagen CC — 23:51.149
- Adam Morgan — WIX Racing/Mercedes A-Class — +3.140
- Andy Priaulx — Team IHG Rewards Club/BMW 125i M Sport — +3.320
- Jason Plato — Team BMR/Volkswagen CC — +3.502
- Sam Tordoff — JCT600 Racing w. GardX/BMW 125i M Sport — +3.757
- Jack Goff — MG 5 Star Cases Racing/MG6 GT — +5.280
- Andrew Jordan — MG Pirtek Racing/MG6 GT — +14.236
- Mat Jackson — Motorbase Performance/Ford Focus ST — +21.381
- Rob Austin — Exocet AlcoSense/Audi A4 — +24.378
- Mike Bushell — AmD Tuning.com/Ford Focus ST — +25.172
BTCC Snetterton Race 3 top ten finishers
- Jack Goff — MG 5 Star Cases Racing/MG6 GT — +23:45.511
- Jason Plato — Team BMR/Volkswagen CC — +0.315
- Andy Priaulx — Team IHG Rewards Club/BMW 125i M Sport — +2.064
- Sam Tordoff — JCT600 Racing w. GardX/BMW 125i M Sport — +2.476
- Andrew Jordan — MG Pirtek Racing/MG6 GT — +7.224
- Mat Jackson — Motorbase Performance/Ford Focus ST — +10.200
- Colin Turkington — Team BMR/Volkswagen CC — +11.121
- Rob Austin — Exocet AlcoSense/Audi A4 — +18.191
- Tom Ingram — Speedworks Motorsport/Toyota Avensis — +18.368
- Rob Collard — JCT600 Racing w. GardX/BMW 125i M Sport — +18.661
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By Only Motors