Turkington wins the first race of the BTCC finale as eight contenders become seven

Turkington pushes Rob Austin to the edge on the opening lap (Photo by Marc Waller)

Turkington pushes Rob Austin to the edge on the opening lap (Photo by Marc Waller)Colin Turkington has done everything he needed to do to keep his championship hopes alive with a lights to flag victory in the first race f the 2016 BTCC finale.

Rob Austin drew alongside Turkington at the start but he kept the Handy Motorsport driver to his outside and Austin was forced to yield as they went up the hill.

Turkington set fastest lap to further stamp his dominance on the race.

“It’s too early in the day to think about the title but all of these little bonus points definitely help,” he said. “Before the racing today it was thirty seven points, and on any other weekend you’d rule it out but the final at Brands is always quite freaky. My goal was to give myself the best chance I could. Qualifying on pole did that job and so has the race one win. To be an outside contender for the title at this stage is a real credit to the guys.”

Rob Austin managed to hang on to second despite pressure from Jason Plato in the second of the Silverline Subarus. Austin got a break though, when Josh Cook’s MG started challenging the Subaru for third.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace to go with Colin [Turkington] but we had enough to hold off Jason [Plato],” claimed Austin. “I folded my mirror when I was fighting with Colin on the opening lap so I couldn’t tell where JP was for the rest of the race, it made things really difficult. There was a lot of pressure on and it wasn’t my best drive – I was quite tense – but it’s a huge thing for me and for Handy Motorsport to get that second place in the end.”

On the final lap, Cook’s pressure on Plato paid off as he found a way past at Clearways to take the final podium place..

“I kept the pressure on Jason [Plato] throughout, and then he made a mistake into Stirlings, which gave me the run on the outside into Clearways and I managed to stop early to get the cutback on the exit,” said Cook. “A podium certainly isn’t a bad way to start the day – it’s been a real effort from all the team and mechanics today and I’m thrilled for the guys, and for MG.”

That result puts Plato out of contention for the title. Amazingly, despite crashing out of the race, Andrew Jordan still has a tiny chance at the title. Matt Neal’s Honda spun round the luckless Hunter Abbott, yet again losing out despite qualifying an excellent fourth. Abbot’s spun car was then collected head on by Andrew Jordan, the impact putting the car instantly out of the race. Abbott tried to continue but damage from the crash put him out for good later that same lap.

Another driver who deserved better was Eurotech’s Jeff Smith. After starting towards the back of the pack, he fought his way up to fourteenth before an over-heating engine caused him to slow on the final lap, dropping him to nineteenth. The team now face a race against time to fit a new engine to the Civic.

Jackson and Tordoff had to fight their way up from further back (Photo by Marc Waller) Sutton passes two cars at once going up the hill (Photo by Marc Waller) Jordan watches from the sidelines next to his broken car (Photo by Marc Waller) Plato is out of contention for the championship (Photo by Marc Waller) Austin celebrates second (Photo by Marc Waller) The top three (Photo by Marc Waller) Champagne (Photo by Marc Waller)




Shedden has closed on the lead with a strong fifth place finish to reduce Sam Tordoff’s championship lead to just six points.

Adam Morgan found his way past Matt Neal to claim sixth for Wix Racing but Neal still gained ground on Tordoff.

Aiden Moffat took eighth in his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes just ahead of Ashley Sutton. Sutton had fought his way up the pack during the race passing championship contender Mat Jackson and Jack Goff’s IHG Rewards BMW going up the hill into Druids. His final pass was on championship leader Tordoff for tenth place.

Tordoff, carrying maximum success ballast was always going to struggle but eleventh place means he scored some points to stop his rivals from gaining quite so much ground on him in the championship.

The championship is now down to seven drivers now that Plato is out of contention but realistically you can probably also count out Andrew Jordan as he would have to perform miracles with all his rivals hitting trouble to have any chance of the title.

Race One – Brands Hatch GP:

1 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing 25m56.267s (90.06 mph)
2 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +4.570s
3 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +5.314s
4 Jason PLATO (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +5.903s
5 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +10.750s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +11.130s
7 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +11.620s
8 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +17.894s
9 Ash SUTTON (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +18.077s
10 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +19.564s
11 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +20.195s
12 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +21.177s
13 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +25.068s
14 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +29.982s
15 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +31.106s
16 Michael EPPS (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +31.180s
17 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +31.329s
18 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD Tuning.com +31.600s
19 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +33.005s
20 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +33.731s
21 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing +35.181s
22 Dan WELCH (GBR) Goodestone Racing +40.330s
23 James COLE (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +40.845s
24 Kelvin FLETCHER (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +54.660s
25 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +1m00.182s
DNF Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +1 lap
DNF Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +4 laps
DNF Warren SCOTT (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +4 laps
DNF Tony GILHAM (GBR) TLC/RCIB Insurance Racing +14 laps
DNF Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +15 laps
DNF Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance +15 laps  By Marc Waller


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