Mat Jackson has won the second race at Brands Hatch from pole once again but it was anything but dull with action all through the field.
The title battle is now down to two drivers as Matt Neal and Colin Turkington failed to score enough points to keep their title bid alive. The championship battle is now between Shedden and Plato.
Shedden had a nightmare race two, dropping down the order after run ins with various rival and he eventually made it home out of the points in nineteenth place. Plato was battling for third in the early part of the race but fell to sixth in what was a tight battle for the top six spots behind the top two.
There was a long safety car towards the start of the race when several cars went off on the pits straight. Derek Palmer collided with Alain Menu putting Palmer’s Infiniti deep in the gravel and Rob Austin came together with Depper in a high speed off. All drivers were unharmed but it took several laps to recover the cars especially Palmers which took several marshals and two recovery trucks to dig out.
Behind Mat Jackson there was a tight battle for second initially between Aron Smith, Adam Morgan and Tom Ingram but Smith was soon sliding down the order and slipped to eighth leaving Ingram and Morgan to continue their fight. It was Ingram who eventually came out on top and actually caught Mat Jackson in the closing stages. He was unable to find a way past however and took second, his best ever finish in the BTCC.
Adam Morgan was able to comfortably stay in third, his second podium of the day. Behind that the battle for fourth had been very close. Power Maxed Racing’s Dave Newsham came out on top after holding off challenges from Jason Plato and Jack Goff. Goff took fifth with Plato scoring valuable points in sixth although less than he’d hoped for.
Matt Neal was just behind in seventh although that wasn’t enough to keep his title hopes alive. Eighth was Aron Smith , who had held up team mate Jason Plato after the safety car went in. Plato was angered by this and he went on to be very vocal on ITV4 about his team mate. It seems unlikely they will both be in the same team in future! Smith had eventually let Plato through but not quickly enough for Plato.
Andy Priaulx continued a solid if unspectacular day with ninth ahead of team mate RoB Collard in tenth place. Andrew Jordan was eleventh. The Pirtek MG driver is still without a win this season and now has just one race to change that. Despite this, he managed to stay in contention for the championship until nearly the end of the season.
James Cole continued to show his improved pace with twelfth ahead of WSR BMW of Sam Tordoff. Jeff Smith took fourteenth ahead of Alain Menu. Menu recovered from his first lap collision to take the final point.
Josh Cook and Mike Bushell battled for Jack Sears Rookie honours with Josh coming out on top in sixteenth.
The reverse grid draw for the final race was seventh putting Matt Neal on pole alongside Jason Plato. This could potentially cause fireworks as the old rivals have never given each other any room on track and Neal will want to help team mate Shedden to the title. Shedden has a difficult task in race three as he starts twentieth.
Plato has twelve points to make up on Shedden but with twenty for a win, he could easily score that from second on the grid. Matt Neal may have other ideas but any contact between the two would be highly scrutinised and would likely be heavily penalised so it seems unlikely that Neal would attempt any robust tactics. Shedden needs to somehow fight his way up the field to score as many points as possible but with such a close field this could prove tough. He needs to hope that Plato has a nightmare race and somehow fails to score. We’ll find out by the end of the day as one of the the two former champions is crowned 2015 BTCC champion.
Full results are on TSL timing as always. Championship points are also available. By Marc Waller