BTCC – Jordan, Shedden and Turkington take race wins at an eventful Thruxton meeting

BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)Although Andrew Jordan only won a single race out of the three at Thruxton, his race day performance was enough to leave the Hampshire circuit leading the championship standings.

Jordan had taken pole position for race 1, the third time in a row he has taken the Thruxton pole but until now he had never won. Of course that changed this time when he took a lights to flag win in race one. Although he didn’t win again during the day, a second and fourth place finish ensured he extended his lead.

It was a good day for Honda’s as it so often is at Thruxton, Neal and Shedden took both of the other podium spots in race one and then for race two, Shedden took the second ever win for the Civic Tourer.

It could have nearly been very different as Shedden ran off the track at the complex in the opening lap and Collard in the Ebay Motors BMW 1 series took up second place behind Jordan. Shedden got back past Collard a bit further into the race as they both went through and out of the quick church corner. The battle was now on between Jordan and Shedden. With the extra ballast from the race one win,Jordan’s car looked less stable on the fast part of the circuit and when Jordan got into a slide at Church, it gave Shedden the run on him as they ran up the hill toward the club chicane on lap eleven. He then stayed in front to win from Jordan and Collard. The Ebay Motors driver was having his best weekend since Knockhill 2013 and was overjoyed to get back on the podium. He got to share the moment with his son Ricky, who was waiting in the assembly area to go out for his Formula Ford race. The two hugged as Rob wished his son good luck. (Ricky would also stand on the podium after finishing third in the Scholarship class.) Collard’s team mate Nick Foster had a big off at Church after colliding with Rob Austin.

His car passed through the tyre wall although fortunately neither Nick or his car had any lasting damage. Austin was later excluded for the incident although he was adamant he was innocent.

For race three, it was the other Ebay Motors drivers who would star as Colin Turkington took the victory. It was an impressive performance as the reverse grid draw had put him fifth on the grid.

Pole was Airwaves racing’s Fabrizio Giovanardi, the Italian having drawn himself out to be on pole, second was Jack Goff and they both looked set for a great end to their day.

BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)But it was Turkington that got the best start and before he completed the first lap he had taken the lead and despite two safety cars (More on that later.) he never lost the lead. Giovanardi hung onto second for most of the race but his team mate, Mat Jackson fought his way up to third just behind the Italian and eventually he found his way through, perhaps with a bit of help from Giovanardi after team boss Bartrum reminded them to “play nicely” over the team radios. This got the Airwaves team, their best points haul of the season so far.

Jack Goff got passed by several cars, some of the passes were claimed to be under yellow flags and Shedden later received a 1 second penalty dropping him behind Goff who ended up in fifth with Shedden sixth. Andrew Jordan fought his way up to fourth despite still having success ballast on the car. The two Honda’s of Shedden and Neal battled with Collard for much of the race. Sometimes a bit too physically as they made contact. It ended badly for Neal and Collard when a collision took them off the track and dropped them down the order, Collard down to tenth by the end and Neal down to twenty third after tyre damage caused him to pit. Jason Plato’s weekend hadn’t been a success and race three proved to be the worst of all after his car was broken on lap one by a recovering Adam Morgan who had been knocked wide. The poor results over the weekend caused both Jason and his team to fall down the standings.

The two safety car periods were down to two big accidents both around the fast Church corner. Ollie Jackson went off first and hit the tyres so hard he went through into a tree causing considerable damage to his car. But worse was to come for Simon Belcher. His car suffered suspension failure heading into church and his car went straight on into the tyres and then barrel rolled into the trees and shrubs beyond the barrier. Fortunately Belcher quickly emerged unscathed but his car had significant damage. In the investigations since the weekend, his team has found that the car is fixable but it will be a tough job to get it done before Oulton Park. Jackson’s car also needs extensive work to get it back to racing condition.

The various accidents at Chruch over the weekend caused much debate among fans over the internet on how much the circuit should be blamed for the severity of the crashes but Thruxton have issued a statement stating that safety is their top priority and that circuit safety will be looked at by both them and the MSA and any improvements deemed to be necessary will be made.

Andrew Jordan was happy with his weekend; “It feels great to finally convert a pole position at Thruxton into a victory. Race three was mega for us too. To come through unscathed and get a decent points haul is brilliant. It’s been a great touring car weekend, and a great weekend for Honda. The main thing is that we’ve got a lot of points on the board and managed to get through Thruxton without any major issues, which can be tricky to do around here!”

Shedden was also mostly positive about his race day; “The first two races today were fantastic although the third one was a bit chaotic! It was important to come through and get good points in race three with weight on-board. The Civic Tourer has done really well here – like I’ve said we learn more every time we get in the car, so it’s onwards and upwards to Oulton Park now.”

Turkington was pleased with his race three drive; “I’m so glad we held on to that one – it’s a bit of redemption for what happened in race three at Donington Park! We started this weekend with a really tricky car to drive, but to be so fast in that race is a big reward for the team. This has been a bit of a bogey track for us – I don’t think a BMW has won here since 2009, so to take that win was really special. I was a little worried with the two safety cars, but because Thruxton works the tyres harder I was able to keep them in the sweet spot and race for the full distance.”

Jackson was clearly happy with how things had gone over the weekend; “It’s been a very, very good weekend for us. It’s been a long time coming, but it really clicked with the Focus – it’s been awesome all weekend, and to be fighting with the championship contenders shows just how quick we can be. Fabrizio is getting to grips with the car too, and to see two Airwaves Racing cars up there in podium positions is great for everyone in the team.”

Giovanardi was still positive despite losing out to his team mate and Turkington in race three: “For a few seconds I thought I might even win race three! In turn two I lost the rear and had a big slide and Turkington was able to get past. I didn’t want to hold Mat up so let him come through, and then in the last few laps everyone else wanted to come past as well! That made it really good fun! I am learning the car all the time – I’m definitely not rusty, I just need to learn how the car works at all the tracks. Hopefully we can get a few more podiums.”

Penalty round up
A number of drivers received penalties relating to driving incidents over the meeting;
Race 1
Warren Scott was given a verbal warning for causing an incident involving James Cole.

Race 2
Warren Scott was given an official reprimand for causing an incident involving Dan Welch. He was given two penalty points on his racing licence. As this was his third offence of the year, he had 3 points deducted from his championship total and was sent to the back of the grid for race three.

Rob Austin was excluded from the race two result and given four penalty points on his racing licence for causing the incident with Nick Foster.

Race 3
Gordon Shedden was given a one second time penalty, and three penalty points on his racing licence for passing Jack Goff under yellow flags.

Rob Collard was given a verbal warning for causing an incident involving Matt Neal.
Top Six race results
Race 1

1. Andrew JORDAN (Pirtek Racing): 16 Laps
2. Matt NEAL (Honda Yuasa Racing): +1.283
3. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +2.760
4. Mat JACKSON (Airwaves Racing): +6.365
5. Rob COLLARD (eBay Motors): +10.467
6. Jason PLATO (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save): +10.623

Race 2

1. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): 13 Laps
2. Andrew JORDAN (Pirtek Racing): +0.319
3. Rob COLLARD (eBay Motors): +2.221
4. Matt NEAL (Honda Yuasa Racing): +5.078
5. Mat JACKSON (Airwaves Racing): +6.107
6. Colin TURKINGTON (eBay Motors): +6.348

Race 3

1. Colin TURKINGTON (eBay Motors): 19 Laps
2. Mat JACKSON (Airwaves Racing): +3.272
3. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Airwaves Racing): +5.649
4. Andrew JORDAN (Pirtek Racing): +5.983
5. Jack GOFF (RCIB Insurance Racing): +6.726
6. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +7.232  By Marc Waller

Written by