Section: BTCC

BTCC: Colin Turkington crowned champion

eBay Motors star takes his second drivers championship as MG claims manufacturer honours

eBay Motors driver Colin Turkington was crowned the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion after a quite pulsating final day of racing at Brands Hatch.  The Ulsterman came into the weekend with a relatively comfortable points margin, but had to overcome the challenge from MG’s Jason Plato – the most successful BTCC driver in history.  Plato laid down an immediate marker by claiming pole position ahead of his MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save team-mate Sam Tordoff, whilst Turkington could only manage fourth on the grid behind Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden.  An action packed opening race commenced with a huge multi-car accident, as well as providing three different leaders in the opening half lap.  Pole-sitter Plato was jumped off the line by Tordoff, who then immediately had the BMW of Turkington blasting around his outside as the pack roared into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time.  There was drama behind after a coming together between the Airwaves Racing Ford Focus of Fabrizio Giovanardi and Shedden’s Honda Civic Tourer sparked a sequence of incidents in the pack.  Shedden’s machine slid sideways across the track following the contact and was hit heavily by the unsighted Rob Austin.  Jack Goff’s VW was bumped from behind in the melee and briefly became airborne with both Dave Newsham and Alain Menu also involved.  Matt Neal’s Honda was also car collected in the incident, ending the triple-champion’s day as he was flown to hospital for a precautionary X-ray on his ribs.  When the dust eventually settled it was Plato leading from Tordoff, with Turkington in close pursuit. The MG duo held on for an impressive one-two but it wasn’t enough to deny 32-year-old Turkington from claiming his second BTCC title.Turkington’s eBay Motors squad was ready in the pitlane to welcome its man home, as the West Surrey Racing-run team also secured the Teams’ and both Independents’ championships.“I am over the moon,” said the new champion.  “I wanted this more than ever and I was prepared to do whatever it took to win the title.

“I suppose the main feeling is relief.  We were ready to do battle until race three so I really wasn’t expecting to clinch the title so early in the day.  I actually thought I was a point short when I crossed the line so I didn’t want to celebrate until I was absolutely sure.

“To be able to celebrate with the team and my family is a really proud moment.  Lewis [Colin’s son] wasn’t old enough to remember the first one and part of the reason to get back into the BTCC was to do it for him, so I’m delighted.”

Race two was all about MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save securing the Manufacturers’ Championship but the encounter wasn’t without incident.

Plato finished first on the road but was later penalised for his involvement in a race-ending shunt for Turkington.  The eBay Motors BMW led the way in the early running before contact from the MG behind sent Turkington spinning into retirement.

Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson took over the reins but his lead didn’t last long after the multiple race-winner spun it away of the exit of Hawthorns.  Plato baulked up while Jackson was having his moment, allowing the BMW of Rob Collard to nip through.

Changes for top spot were far from finished, however, after Morgan got past Plato before producing a stellar move by leader Collard at Paddock Hill Bend.  Plato made it through too as Collard’s soft compound tyres began to drop in performance.

Morgan then slid wide to seemingly hand victory to Plato before the latter’s post-race penalty gave the Mercedes driver a maiden success.  Incredibly it was also the first overall win for the German marque in the BTCC.

“It’s brilliant,” beamed Morgan. “We’ve been praying for a podium for so long, so to get a win at the last event of the year is just fantastic.”

Shedden produced a master class in treacherous conditions in the season finale, ending a challenging campaign on a high for Honda Yuasa Racing.

Tin-top rookie Jack Clarke scored an incredible second placed finish after seeing off a number of challengers throughout the contest.  The pole-sitter lost out to the fast-starting BMW of Nick Foster off the line but he retook the lead with a great move at Graham Hill Bend.

Shedden made light work of Foster and immediately set about attacking Clarke ahead of him. The 26-year-old held on well for a number of laps before the Scotsman slipped through on the exit of Hawthorns.

Jackson completed the podium, rounding off an excellent season for the multiple race-winner in which he completed all 30 encounters.  It was a hat-trick of accomplishments for Ford drivers as Dave Newsham also collected the Jack Sears Trophy for making up the most places of any Independent driver throughout the campaign.

It was all eyes on Turkington after the final chequered flag of the season, however, as he took to the podium in front of a huge crowd and collected the much coveted BTCC trophy for the second time in his career.

The glittering occasion rounded off a record breaking and hugely successful 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, which saw 31-cars take to the grid, including seven former champions.  Such has been the competitiveness of the burgeoning series that Adam Morgan today became the 11th different race winner in 2014 – a year that has provided more victors than in any other in the history of this illustrious championship.

So many drivers have made the top step of the podium during the season, but of course there can only be one champion, and that richly deserved accolade goes to eBay Motors star Colin Turkington.

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BTCC: Plato’s Silverstone double sets up title decider

MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Jason Plato scored two impressive Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victories at Silverstone, ensuring there will be a title showdown at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.

The home of British motor sport never fails to produce incredible racing, and a crowd of over 30,000 fans descended on the Northamptonshire venue to see the best tin-top drivers in the country battle it out around the National circuit.

For both wins Plato had to get past current championship leader Colin Turkington, making late dives down the inside at Brooklands corner on both occasions to steal some valuable points back from the eBay Motors BMW driver.

Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson completed the podium in the opening race, having jumped fellow second row starter Sam Tordoff off the line. MG’s Tordoff had to fend off the Chrome Edition Restart Racing duo of Alain Menu and Aron Smith to claim fourth.

With Plato leading home Turkington again in race two, it was this time left for Menu to join them on the rostrum after the Swiss star attacked Jackson through Copse before completing the move at Becketts shortly after the mid-distance stage of the contest.

The second race also saw one of the biggest accidents of the season when Rob Collard’s BMW barrel rolled several times before coming to rest upside down. The incident was sparked after he’d made contact with Jack Clarke’s recovering Ford Focus, which was in the midst of a high-speed slide on the exit of Becketts. A shaken and winded Collard was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays but was released later on Sunday evening.

One of the most incredible touring car battles in recent years then played out when no fewer than five former BTCC champions went doorhandle-to-doorhandle in a bid for a podium finish in the final race.The race win went to the impressive Jackson – his second victory of the season – as the Motorbase driver nipped by team-mate Fabrizio Giovanardi in the early stages. Smith followed suit to claim a lonely second place while the epic scrap ensued behind.

Turkington eyed every opportunity to get past Giovanardi before finally making a concrete attempt at the end of lap 19, which launched a sensational sequence of events.

Giovanardi and Turkington touched while running side-by-side across the start/finish line, as the VW of Alain Menu also joined the fray. As the two squabbled over the same piece of asphalt Menu cleverly wedged his VW up the inside of both of them and into third place through Copse.

They were three abreast on the run down to Becketts before Plato made it four former champions in the fight. Plato’s MG then made contact with the rear of Turkington’s BMW at the tight turn, which speared the Ulsterman’s machine into Giovanardi’s Ford Focus. The Italian impressively saved the car from a wild slide but not before he had been bumped down the order.

It was three-wide again down the Wellington Straight with reigning champion Andrew Jordan now looking to join the party. As the cars roared into Brooklands it was Turkington who emerged in third place immediately followed by Plato, Menu and Jordan. The quartet were eventually covered by little more than a second as they finished the race.

The fallout from a fantastic weekend at Silverstone is that Turkington now holds a 50-point advantage in the Drivers’ standings over Plato and the two will now duel it out for the coveted BTCC title at Brands Hatch next month.

MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save is in the driving seat of the Manufacturers’ championship with Plato’s dynamic double extending its lead over Honda Yuasa Racing to 28 points.

Turkington and eBay Motors have now moved into unassailable leads in the Independents’ drivers and teams tables.

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BTCC: Turkington edges closer to title as Austin claims first win of 2014

BTCC leader Colin Turkington extended his advantage at the top of the standings with a double victory at Rockingham.

eBay Motors driver Turkington came into the weekend having never won at the Northamptonshire circuit but immediately banished that record in an exciting opener.

The 2009 champion got the jump on pole-sitter Sam Tordoff off the line and despite coming under intense early pressure from the MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save racer, he eventually pulled clear to win by a comfortable margin. Pole-sitter Tordoff held on to second from team-mate Jason Plato until the finish.

Most of the action was behind the lead trio, with fourth place changing hands several times before the Chrome Edition Restart Racing VW of Alain Menu took the position late on, completing an impressive drive by the Swiss star.

Turkington doubled up with a dominant lights to flag victory in the second bout. MG duo Plato and Tordoff again filled the remaining podium positions but this time it was the double champion who led home his younger stable-mate.

25-year-old Tordoff was gobbled up by Plato initially and then lost out to the fast-starting Menu. He managed to squeeze his way back past the VW man on lap three, however, and went on to score his second podium of the day.

Gordon Shedden put in a solid recovery drive after skipping across the grass early on, but he couldn’t match the pace being shown by the Exocet Racing Audi A4 of Austin and the soft-tyre shod Honda Civic of Andrew Jordan. The reigning champion scythed past both Menu and Mat Jackson’s Airwaves Racing Ford Focus to take fifth before Austin repeated the trick late on to round out the top six.

When the dust settled it was Turkington who won comfortably from a fading Plato and Tordoff, with the latter having to act as the MG rear gunner as Jordan closed in at an alarming rate. Austin took fifth ahead of Menu with both then benefitting from the race three reverse grid draw, which saw them line-up on the front row for the final bout.

Austin made a blistering start and immediately jumped by pole-sitter Menu before the 31 flame-spitting cars were even halfway towards the infamous turn two hairpin.

From there Austin managed the gap back to the VW for the remainder of the contest, scoring his first win of the season while Menu took a first podium since his 2000 championship-winning campaign.

A huge race-long battle ensued for the final place on the podium, which eventually went to Pirtek Racing’s Jordan after he fended off a gaggle of cars for the entire 16 laps.

Honda Yuasa Racing’s Shedden endured a short and rather miserable final race after his Civic Tourer was damaged beyond repair in a first lap collision. The incident has also seriously dented Shedden’s title hopes as the 2012 champion now lies 64 points behind standings leader Turkington and nine back from second placed Plato.

Honda’s difficult day was further compounded as the squad relinquished the lead in the manufacturers’ standings, with MG now holding a 22-point advantage with six races remaining.

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BTCC: Trio of new 2014 winners at Knockhill

The biggest crowd at Knockhill in 15 years witnessed three titanic Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship battles as a trio of drivers took their first wins of the season.

Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal fended off the attentions of front-row starter Rob Austin and home hero Gordon Shedden to claim the honours in the opening contest.

An action-packed 27 laps of racing included myriad of incidents and overtakes throughout the order, but it was the most experienced driver on the grid who managed to keep out of trouble to win his first race for more than a year and a first in the Honda Civic Tourer model.

Mat Jackson took the 20th BTCC victory of his career and the first in nearly two years with a flawless performance in the next bout. The Airwaves Racing driver made a clean getaway when the Honda duo of Neal and Shedden ran into trouble. Neal was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start while Shedden dropped to the rear of the field after early contact with Austin.

MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Jason Plato eventually took second ahead of the recovering Austin.

Race three provided the third different winner of the day, which also completed a hat-trick of victories for the Dunlop Sport Maxx soft compound for the first time in BTCC history.

Pole-sitter Nick Foster produced a good start but he was soon under pressure from his eBay Motors team-mate Rob Collard who had made his way from sixth to second in the early stages. Collard eventually edged his way past and never looked back – taking his first victory since 2012 at the same venue – but there was a frantic scramble behind for the final podium positions.

It was to be an emotional rostrum for Dave Newsham and the first ever for his AmDTuning.com team as the Inverness-based driver hauled his Ford Focus into second, defending well from the BMWs of Turkington and Foster.

Turkington’s own podium capped a remarkable turnaround for the Ulsterman after his day had got off to the worst possible start. Contact with a combination of Plato and Jackson forced him into the gravel and out of race one, but the 2009 champion produced a sensational drive in the second encounter.

Starting at the back of the grid Turkington had scythed his way up to fourth by the finish, producing pass after pass in the flying BMW 125i M Sport. He went one better in the final showdown to ensure that he left the Scottish circuit with the same 23-point advantage that he’d arrived with.

Shedden maintains second in the standings whilst Plato closed the gap in the chase for the championship. Collard is up to fourth; ahead of reigning champion Andrew Jordan and race two winner Jackson, although all three can only be considered outsiders for the title.

To demonstrate the quite staggering racing on show at Knockhill, the total of nine podium positions on offer over the course of the weekend were filled by an unprecedented eight different drivers.

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BTCC : Aron Smith wins enthralling finale

Aron Smith took his and the Chrome Edition Restart Racing squad’s second win of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in a dramatic reversed-grid finale at Snetterton.

Smith started from pole and narrowly held the lead from the Airwaves Racing Ford Focuses of former double champion Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson. The top three stayed close during the early laps, but held position while the excitement kicked off behind.

Adam Morgan’s WIX Racing Mercedes A-class initially held fourth, but he was edged wide as Matt Neal’s Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourer came by at Agostini on lap two. Championship leader Colin Turkington’s eBay Motors BMW followed Neal through and then attacked immediately attacked the triple-champion ahead of him.

Neal defended strongly, while his title-contending team-mate Gordon Shedden recovered from a slightly poor first lap, running eighth behind Morgan and double Snetterton winner Jason Plato (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save). Eventually, Turkington touched Neal’s Honda under braking for Agostini and set off after the lead trio. Neal recovered but would finish 11th.

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BTCC : Plato Out-Duels Turkington to Win Race 2

Jason Plato has scored his second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship win of the day at Snetterton after getting the better of Colin Turkington in a race-long battle.

The eBay Motors BMW of Turkington soared into the lead as the 31 flame-spitting tin tops approached Riches for the first time as Plato tucked his MG6 in behind the championship leader.

The race was neutralised shortly after as Alain Menu’s VW was fired off into the barrier at the exit of turn one, bringing out the safety car. Fabrizio Giovanardi and Andrew Jordan has already continued with their respective progress towards the front by that point, both finding themselves inside the top ten at the restart.

Such delight was short lived for reigning supremo Jordan, however, as he sized up a battle between the BMW of Rob Collard and VW of Jack Goff ahead of him. The duo had already touched earlier in the lap and when two became three on the run through Brundle, something had to give. Unfortunately for Jordan it was his car on the outside of the turn that was forced off the track and into a spin. He later recovered to finish 15th but has since been ruled out of race three by the BTCC medical team (see separate story).

Further incident followed down the order as Jack Clarke’s Ford Focus jinked left to miss Martin Depper’s Pirtek Honda scything down his inside, but in doing so Clarke made contact with Warren Scott’s VW. Rob Holland’s Audi also went off in a separate incident.

Meanwhile up front and Shedden had made his way by Adam Morgan’s Mercedes before all three podium positions changed on the same lap. Plato slipped down the inside of Turkington at Montreal and Shedden was seemingly let through by his ballast laden team-mate Matt Neal at the same corner. Turkington kept Plato honest throughout – often less than half a second behind the MG – but the king of Snetterton held on to complete his double.

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BTCC : Plato Produces Lights-toflag Victory

MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Jason Plato has claimed his second BTCC victory of the season after leading the opening race at Snetterton from start-to-finish.

Championship leader Colin Turkington extended his advantage in the standings by taking second ahead of Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal. Adam Morgan was just over a second away from scoring a maiden podium for the new-for-2014 WIX Racing Mercedes A Class as he closely followed home Neal’s Honda Civic Tourer.

Sam Tordoff’s race day commenced in a rather dramatic and unwanted fashion as the second-row starter suffered with brake failure going into Riches on the opening lap. Contact followed behind as his MG6 slowly rejoined the track, which played its part in a further clash with Dave Newsham’s Ford Focus and the eBay Motors BMW of Nick Foster.

There was one more significant incident before the end of the opening tour when Jack Goff’s VW tagged the MG of Marc Hynes in a battle at the lower end of the top ten. Hynes’ race wouldn’t get any less frenetic as late contact with the Proton of Daniel Welch put paid to the former’s recovery drive through the order, whilst STP Racing’s Welch retired in the pitlane.

Plato and Turkington pulled away at the head of the field as Alain Menu slotted his VW into third during the early running. Meanwhile Neal was busy making his way by the fast-starting Tom Ingram before making relative light work of Menu ahead of him. The three-time champion made his own getaway as a quite bizarre fight for fourth followed him.

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BTCC : MG Grabs The Manufacturer Lead

For the first time since the Donington Park event in 2013, MG/Triple Eight have taken the lead in the Manufacturer/Constructor standings ahead of Honda Team Dynamics.

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It has been an incredibly close battle between the four manufacturer-backed cars so far this year, and now MG have moved ahead by just a single point.

With Honda having taken the past four consecutive Manufacturer’s titles, MG drivers Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff are on a mission in this, the third year of the MG6 racer, to snatch the crown from the new-for-2014 Honda Civic Tourers. The hatchback Civic model is a proven package, but with the switch to the larger Tourer this year there have been some new challenges for Team Dynamics to overcome. It didn’t take long, however, for the car to take its first podium in the hands of Matt Neal in the very first race of the year at Brands Hatch. Podiums soon became wins, as Shedden triumphed in the final race of the day at Donington Park, but the Pershore–based squad hasn’t had things entirely its own way.

Two podiums for Plato at Brands were followed up by a dominant display by Triple Eight three weeks later at Donington. A front-row lockout for Plato and Tordoff followed by 1-2s in both races was mightily impressive, but a strong race three for Honda just kept the Japanese marque in front.

With both Thruxton and Oulton Park balanced between the two works teams, Honda held a slender advantage coming into the BTCC’s sole trip to north Yorkshire. The MG pair had been fast at Croft in 2013 and were confident ahead of the weekend, and while they didn’t quite get the results anticipated, it was still enough to move them ahead in the race for manufacturer honours.

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