Racing at Donington Park - British Touring Car Championship
- Credit: Archant
Geoff Ford reports on the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) meeting with an update on local teams
The MGs of Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff dominated the BTCC meeting at Donington Park in April before Gordon Shedden took a thrilling last gasp victory in the final race of the day. With seven BTCC champions in the field of 31 cars, fans flocked to see the action. Plato set a pole position time of 1m 9.4 sec in dry qualifying on Saturday before leading team mate Tordoff home in Sunday’s damp/drying race 1. The MG6s soon opened a sizable gap to the field, but with Plato trying to save his tyres, Tordoff was keen to pass the double champion. They held station to take a convincing 1-2. Reigning champion Andrew Jordan worked his Honda Civic through to third, some six seconds adrift. At the start of race 2 Plato caught his speed limiter button and Tordoff seized the lead into the first turn, again on a wet track after another shower. Two safety car periods kept the field closer, but Tordoff held his nerve at each restart to lead Plato home for another 1-2. Gordon Shedden’s new Honda Civic Tourer was getting better as the day progressed and he passed Jordan for third with four laps remaining.
There was plenty of entertainment with close battles all the way down the field, and returning former champions Alain Menu and Fabrizio Giovanardi are finding that top ten finishes are difficult given the present level of competition. Giovanardi managed a seventh place in race 1 whilst Menu took ninth in the final race.
Colin Turkington was handed pole in the reverse-grid draw for race 3 and made a clean start in his BMW and held a comfortable lead from Matt Neal’s Honda Tourer and then Plato. Shedden, however, made a slow start and fell to sixth before he began to scythe his way back up the order. With two laps remaining Turkington looked odds-on to repeat his win from last year, but Shedden had other ideas. His Honda was flying, now conditions were dry, and Turkington’s tyres were past their best. For the final lap, the Honda was right on the BMW’s tail, although Shedden looked to have blown his chance with two wheels on the grass exiting McLeans, but recovered to draw alongside the leader approaching the final chicane. Both drivers left their braking late and skated across the gravel, Shedden carrying a little more speed to rejoin the track just ahead of Turkington and take the win by half a second. Afterwards Turkington argued that Shedden’s pass was illegal but, with the BMW also off the track, the stewards allowed the result to stand.
It is always exciting to see local talent emerge and former oval racer Rob Hadfield has set up R&J Motorsport for sons Ryan and Jonathan to race in the Ginetta Junior championship. Seventeen-year-old Ryan followed a second place at Brands Hatch, with third in the Donington opener, behind Jack Mitchell and Lando Norris. Jonathan (15) was spun out of the leading group on the first lap of the second race, rejoining at the back before a remarkable comeback drive to seventh. Ryan finished just off the podium, in fourth, as Mitchell completed a double.
Josh Cook also completed a double in the Renault Clio Cup while Jordan Stilp took fastest lap, in race 2, on his way to fifth place for the Little Eaton based 20Ten Racing team. Pepe Massot scored a Ginetta GT4 Supercup victory for Chesterfield’s JHR Developments squad, while Michael Meadows and Josh Webster shared the honours in the Porsche Carrera Cup. Jayde Kruger (twice) and Harrison Scott were the Formula Ford winners.
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