Ebay Motor’s Colin Turkington has taken a dominant victory in race one at Croft after leading away from pole. Gordon Shedden also pulled clear of the pack in second but couldn’t stay with Turkington who is always extremely quick around Croft.
Jason Plato took third place in his KX Tesco Fuelsave MG and although he was comfortably ahead of the rest of the field, he couldn’t stay with Shedden’s civic Tourer ahead in second. Rob Collard took fourth place, a quarter of a second off Plato. Fifth place was Andrew Jordan, still unable to get back to his pace from earlier in the season. Matt Neal took sixth place after some scuffles with his rivals during the race. Again he was considerably off his team mate’s pace and it seems he hasn’t adjusted as well to the new Tourer as he’s often behind Shedden this season.
Alain Menu took seventh place in his Chrome BMR Restart racing VW CC, managing to stay out of trouble. He seems to be finally adjusting to the different driving style of the current BTCC cars. Behind him was Mat Jackson, again the first of the Ford Focus which still can’t seem to get to the front of the field. Plato’s team mate Sam Tordoff took ninth, just ahead of a charging Hunter Abbott having by far his best race in the BTCC to date. He hassled Tordoff for most of the second half of the race, flashing his lights but he was unable to find away past. Even so he’ll be really pleased with a top ten and will start there for race two giving him the chance of an even better result. Team mate Rob Austin had less luck with early contact dropping him down the field and he finished thirteenth. Dave Newsham of AMD Tuning had his 100th BTCC race but finished just outside the top ten in eleventh place. There were several minor incidents during the race, the worst of which, on lap one put Nick Foster and Adam Morgan out of the race. Morgan had looked set for a good weekend but this will be a big setback. Another driver who looked set to do well was Glyn Geddie. After damaging his car with contact earlier he was forced to return to the pits to fix a flapping bonnet when he was shown the Black and Orange flag. This dropped him well down the field, finishing second to last. Aidan Moffat’s car was smoking heavily in the closing stages but he crossed the line in twentieth place.
Several of the front wheel drive teams and drivers have continued to complain that they think the rear wheel drive cars such as Turkington’s have a huge advantage over them. But the last two circuits (Oulton and here at Croft) have always suited rear wheel drive and future circuits may not. Also seventy percent of the top ten in that race were front wheel drive so it’s clear that things aren’t as clear cut as some think. By Marc Waller Race two is at 3:39pm.