Race three

Motor Sport News - - Rounds -

Jack­son, start­ing with a mere 27kg of bal­last, was al­ways a likely can­di­date for race three vic­tory, and so it proved.

Once he had beaten Moffat to the en­try of Paddock Hill Bend, the Mo­tor­base man blasted off into a lead he was not go­ing to lose, al­though he ad­mit­ted that the race wasn’t as peace­ful as it could have been.

“It might have looked sim­ple,” said the Ford driver. “But, I had Moffat keep­ing me hon­est for the en­tire du­ra­tion and there were two safety car pe­ri­ods to deal with.”

He coped man­fully with both restarts and landed his fifth vic­tory of the sea­son – which made him the joint most suc­cess­ful with Turk­ing­ton in terms of 2016 race tri­umphs.

Moffat, on the other hand, was equally de­lighted with his sec­ond ca­reer podium and his first of the cam­paign. “The car had po­ten­tial at this track, I knew that,” said Moffat. “It was a ques­tion of string­ing it all to­gether.”

While he did that, the cham­pi­onship ac­tion was tak­ing place in his wing mir­rors. From the green light, Tordoff con­sol­i­dated his third place. Shedden, start­ing fifth, was wary of the fast­start­ing Plato off the line as the Subaru man cut in front of him, but re­stored the or­der at Druids a few hun­dred yards later to re­turn to fifth, di­rectly be­hind Cook’s soft-tyred MG.

“It could have been all over so quickly,” said Shedden. “When Ja­son came past off the line, I thought I was go­ing in to the pit wall for a mo­ment…”

He didn’t, and he set off on a ti­tle win­ning charge. Chop­ping in­side Cook as the pair ap­proached Druids on lap four was a strong move for fourth, but it still wasn’t enough for the Honda man.

He needed to un­seat Tordoff from third. But WSR team boss Dick Ben­netts knew that there would be trou­ble ahead.

“I feel like we might have let Sam down a lit­tle bit in race three,” said Ben­netts. “We were strug­gling for set-up all day, and we tried some­thing. In the end, it wasn’t the right thing.”

It wasn’t. With Tordoff third, he was two points ahead of fourth placed Shedden in the ta­ble. The reign­ing cham­pion needed to usurp his ti­tle ri­val on the road to make the sil­ver­ware his, and he did it with a sub­lime move go­ing across the start-fin­ish line at the end of lap six.

“The car was just fan­tas­tic,” said Shedden after­wards. “I could put it any­where I wanted.”

That meant his points to­tal was level with Tordoff, but he would still land the crown by dint of more wins.

In the end, that didn’t mat­ter, be­cause the strug­gling BMW fell vic­tim to Mor­gan’s Mercedes at Druids on lap 13 to fall fur­ther down the or­der. “We have had rea­son­able pace to­day, it is just that the oth­ers were faster,” said the de­jected Tordoff, who missed his first BTCC crown by two points but fin­ished 14 clear of third-placed Jack­son in the fi­nal ta­ble.

Be­hind the main play­ers, In­gram signed off his sea­son with a com­pet­i­tive sixth place hav­ing been booted to the back of the grid for race one for fail­ing a ride height check, from the ham­pered Cook.

Team Hard Toy­ota Aven­sis driver Jake Hill fought im­pres­sively to clinch eighth place ahead of Collard and Plato. Plato, like team-mate Turk­ing­ton, had been strug­gling for pace with the suc­cess bal­last from race two.

Turk­ing­ton, in par­tic­u­lar, was left to drop out of the ti­tle pic­ture with a wim­per, land­ing 12th place. “We had a great car, but the weight just killed us,” he re­flected. “We came close to the ti­tle but just came up short.”

Shedden didn’t come up short, and landed his third crown to match his ab­sent team-mate Neal.

Jack­son nicked third in the points

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