BTCC: Brands Hatch GP Round-Up

Andrew Jordan overcame a dramatic Finals Day to become British Touring Car champion for the first time. He also clinched the Independents title for a second day in the row. Five drivers went into the weekend with a chance of becoming driver, and they all had their fair share of drama. Jeff Smith sat out the weekend, allowing Pirtek to focus their attentions on Jordan. Shaun Hollamby made a return to the series to give the VW Golf its last outing. Tom Barley made his British Touring Car debut. Here is how the action unfolded at a wet Brands Hatch as the 2013 championship drew to a close.

Race 1

Jason Plato qualified on pole position for the first race of the day, with his team-mate Sam Tordoff alongside him. Andrew Jordan started in third place, with reigning champion Gordon Shedden fourth, Colin Turkington sixth and Matt Neal down in 16th after a qualifying crash. The race was delayed due to the rain but eventually got going, with all drivers on wet tyres. Turkington made another fast start in his rear-wheel drive BMW and was fighting close with his team-mate Rob Collard as they approached Paddock Hill Bend for the first time. The pair were racing in close quarters and a slight tap saw Turkington’s car slide. He could do nothing as he was sent into a spin and there was further drama for the eBay Motors Team when Nick Foster was left with no-where to go but right into the front of his team-mate’s car. This brought Turkington’s race – and title hopes – to an end.

Rob Austin was another driver who had difficulties in the wet conditions as his car went off and into the gravel, leading to a safety car being deployed. By the end of lap four, Neal was already up to eighth place. Racing was resumed on lap six with the race extended to 17 laps. Up at the front, Jordan had a slide and Tom Onslow-Cole took advantage to pass him. By the eighth lap, Neal had progressed to P6 while towards the back,  the Jack Sears Trophy champion Lea Wood had an off after oversteer at the top of the hill. He slid off the track and onto the grass but managed to avoid the barrier. Aiden Moffat was another driver who left the track, and he did make contact with the barrier. At the front, Plato remained unchallenged and took his 81st career win. Shedden finished in second and Tordoff secured the final podium place. Jordan finished in fifth place with Neal just behind him in sixth.

Race one top fifteen

  1. Jason Plato
  2. Gordon Shedden
  3. Sam Tordoff
  4. Tom Onslow-Cole
  5. Andrew Jordan
  6. Matt Neal
  7. Rob Collard
  8. Adam Morgan
  9. Mat Jackson
  10. Aron Smith
  11. Dave Newsham
  12. Jack Goff
  13. Daniel Welch
  14. Jake Hill
  15. Shaun Hollamby

Race 2

Five became four for race 2, with Turkington dropping out of contention. It was still wet when the racing got going. Neal and Shedden were bogged down at the start with Shedden having a dramatic slide – sliding left and right, but he managed to keep his car pointing the right way. Aron Smith, who had a huge crash on Saturday, found a way past Neal early on in the race as he overtook him up the inside. There was drama for the championship on lap three which resulted in retirement for Jordan. Collard went into a spin and as Jordan pulled across to avoid him, he made contact with Neal. This instantly broke his suspension and he started to drop down the order. He continued driving round and eventually brought his car back to the pits. It was Jordan’s first retirement of the year, and what a time to have it.

Elsewhere, Neal was able to continue circulating after a visit to the pits, albeit at the back. BTCC newcomer Tom Barley became the next driver to have an off while Frank Wrathall and Dan Welch fought each other for position. In the middle of the pack Shedden started to gain on Goff, after falling down the order due to his slide and poor start. He momentarily made a move stick on the Team HARD driver, but running wide allowed Goff back through. Goff then wasted no time in overtaking former Team HARD driver Tom Onslow-Cole. Shedden also found a way through. In the closing laps of the race, Austin was shown the mechanical flag and he retired his car. At the front Plato took win number two of the day ahead of Tordoff and Jackson. Neal became the next driver to drop out of contention after his contact with Jordan. To add insult to injury his car caught fire after he crossed the line a lap down. Marshals were on hand to put out the flames.

Race two top fifteen

  1. Jason Plato
  2. Sam Tordoff
  3. Mat Jackson
  4. Dave Newsham
  5. Aron Smith
  6. Jack Goff
  7. Gordon Shedden
  8. Adam Morgan
  9. Tom Onslow-Cole
  10. Frank Wrathall
  11. Jake Hill
  12. Colin Turkington
  13. Ollie Jackson
  14. Rob Collard
  15. Aiden Moffat

Race 3

Andrew Jordan © Matt Roberts
Andrew Jordan on track © Matt Roberts

After 29 races and plenty of thrills and spills, it all came down to race three. Plato and Shedden were very much in contention, but it was Jordan who still had the points advantage. Alan Gow selected Shedden to start on pole. The reigning champion needed a race win to have any chance of beating Jordan, while Plato could finish on the podium and be champion if Jordan wasn’t picking up points. The rain continued to fall leading to another wet race. Plato started from sixth place on the reverse grid. At the start Tordoff went off while Goff made a good start to maintain his second place. Smith progressed to third. Shedden and Goff started to pull away from the rest of the pack while Jordan started overtaking people at the back.

By the fourth lap Jordan was up to 14th place and in the points. Goff was hustling Shedden for the lead – even flashing his lights at the Honda driver. With Shedden leading the race, even with fastest lap, it wouldn’t be enough to win the title with Jordan picking up points. If it had ended with Shedden winning, with two bonus points, and Jordan 14th they would have been tied on points, but Jordan would be champion on countback. Plato dropped down the order, with both MGs apparently struggling in the conditions. The race was relatively uneventful and in the end up Shedden held off Goff to win. Goff got his first British Touring Car podium and Mat Jackson finished in third again. Jordan finished in ninth place, and took fastest lap for good measure.

Race three top fifteen

  1. Gordon Shedden
  2. Jack Goff
  3. Mat Jackson
  4. Colin Turkington
  5. Aron Smith
  6. Dave Newsham
  7. Adam Morgan
  8. Rob Collard
  9. Andrew Jordan
  10. Jason Plato
  11. Ollie Jackson
  12. Sam Tordoff
  13. Tom Onslow-Cole
  14. Matt Neal
  15. Jake Hill

The final standings in the championship:

  1. Andrew Jordan 397
  2. Gordon Shedden 390
  3. Jason Plato 380
  4. Matt Neal 356
  5. Colin Turkington 347
  6. Sam Tordoff 286
  7. Adam Morgan 233
  8. Mat Jackson 225
  9. Aron Smith 201
  10. Dave Newsham 176

Independent Championship:

  1. Andrew Jordan 471 
  2. Colin Turkington 411
  3. Adam Morgan 324
  4. Mat Jackson 308
  5. Aron Smith 288
  6. Dave Newsham 260
  7. Tom Onslow-Cole 243
  8. Rob Collard 214
  9. Rob Austin 200
  10. Jeff Smith 200

Honda Yuasa Racing were victorious in the Teams championship while Pirtek took Independents glory.

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