Race one

Motor Sport News - - Btcc Report: Brands Hatch -

Turk­ing­ton’s chances of a third ti­tle were slim com­ing to the meet­ing. The Subaru driver was 37 points adrift rolling into Brands, but made his in­ten­tions clear with a stun­ning pole po­si­tion in the mixed con­di­tions.

“It was very tough out the back of the cir­cuit,” said Turk­ing­ton. “Westfield was dry on the en­try, wet mid-cor­ner and then dry on the exit. It was hard to work it out.”

But he did, and started on the front row along­side Rob Austin’s Handy Mo­tor­sport Toy­ota Aven­sis.

The main cham­pi­onship con­tenders were mired fur­ther down the or­der with Shedden in sev­enth (with 66kg), leader Tordoff 10th (75kg), Neal 11th (57kg) and Collard 12th (48kg).

From the green light, Turk­ing­ton and Austin went toe-to-toe around Paddock Hill Bend, with the Toy­ota inch­ing up as they ex­ited the cor­ner and go­ing into Druids. Even­tu­ally, the Subaru claimed the line, and that left Austin to fend off Ja­son Plato’s Levorg GT and Josh Cook’s MG for the re­main­ing 16 laps.

That scrap, plus Turk­ing­ton’s prow­ess, meant that the fight at the front was over.

“The car was amaz­ing,” said Turk­ing­ton. “The start wasn’t great be­cause I don’t think the sun had got down in the dip [in the el­e­va­tion of the start­line at Brands] where the pole car sits to heat up the track, but I man­aged to hold Rob off. Af­ter that, the car was so strong. I could have just kept go­ing.”

The two-time cham­pion was 4.5s clear at the flag, while Austin had a job on his hands. “In the rush over the first cor­ners, my wing mir­ror got folded in,” said Austin. “That meant I was hav­ing a strug­gle to defend over the rest of the race. I wasn’t sure where peo­ple were, and that af­fected my pace.”

In­deed, the three fight­ing for sec­ond were in a queue through­out, and the ma­jor drama came at the end when Cook lunged for the in­side of Plato at Clear­ways, giv­ing the MG the ver­dict at the fin­ish line.

Plato ex­plained: “Josh got into the back of me go­ing into the cor­ner, and gave me a wob­ble un­der the brakes. That meant I missed the apex and Josh got un­der­neath me. Thanks very much…”

Be­hind them, Shedden man­aged to get in­side the slug­gish fourth-placed starter Hunter Ab­bott (Power Maxed Chevro­let Cruze) away from the line and also sorted out Jack Goff ’s WSR BMW 125i M Sport be­fore the end of the open­ing tour too.

His fifth place was un­trou­bled, de­spite the con­stant shadow of Adam Mor­gan (Cice­ley Rac­ing Mercedes-benz) over the lat­ter stages, and it gave him the ad­van­tage over the fully-bal­lasted Tordoff, who could only lum­ber home in 10th. Shedden cut the gap to six points.

“The weight in that first race was a real is­sue, and that was as much as I could do,” said Shedden, with a glint in his eye. “Now we have a lot of the weight out for race two, and we have soft tyres…”

Shedden’s Hal­fords Yuasa Rac­ing team­mate Neal was also in the thick of things. He was bat­tling for 11th with Collard at the start of lap two, and the pair went sideby-side into Druids. Both braked as late as they dare, but Neal tipped the back of Ab­bott and the Chevro­let driver spun.

“It was just busy out there,” said Neal. “Collard had run wide at Paddock and I got up his in­side, and then we brushed on the way into the cor­ner. That caused me to lock up and I tagged the car in front.”

Neal and Collard es­caped, with the Honda ahead of the BMW, but Ab­bott’s stranded car was head-butted by An­drew Jor­dan’s Mo­tor­base Per­for­mance Ford Fo­cus, break­ing both cars ter­mi­nally.

Neal fin­ished in sev­enth, ahead of Ai­den Moffat (Cice­ley Rac­ing MercedesBenz A-class) and the feisty Ash Sutton (MG), with the lat­ter bat­tling up from 15th po­si­tion on the grid af­ter los­ing his fastest lap in qual­i­fy­ing for a track lim­its in­fringe­ment.

Be­hind Tordoff in 10th, cham­pi­onship out­sider Mat Jack­son kept the dream alive with a charge to 11th, ahead of Collard. When the dust had set­tled, there were seven driv­ers in with a chance of lift­ing the over­all crown, in­clud­ing Jack­son and Jor­dan, but Plato was out of the pic­ture. There was still plenty of rac­ing left in the cham­pi­onship.

CAR Weather: Sunny

Team BMR Subaru Levorg Handy Mo­tor­sport Toy­ota Aven­sis Triple Eight Rac­ing MG6 Team BMR Subaru Levorg Team Dy­nam­ics Honda Civic Type R Cice­ley Rac­ing Mercedes-benz A-class Team Dy­nam­ics Honda Civic Type R Cice­ley Rac­ing Mercedes-benz A-class Triple Eight Rac­ing MG6 WSR BMW 125i M Sport

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