Colin Turkington has maintained his lead of the British Touring Car Championship thanks to two victories at Croft.
The eBay Motors driver, who arrived at the circuit already leading the way, broke his own record on the way to pole position and was never challenged as he led from lights to flag in race one. Nearest rival Gordon Shedden finished in second, albeit seven seconds down, while Jason Plato put in a sterling defensive performance to finish third. He developed a train of cars behind him with Rob Collard desperately trying to find a way past the MG. In the end third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh crossed the line within two seconds of each othe. Behind Plato and Collard were Matt Neal, Andrew Jordan, and Alain Menu. Slightly further back in eighth place was Mat Jackson, with Sam Tordoff and Hunter Abbott rounding out the top ten. It was the first top ten finish for Abbott. Also in the points were Dave Newsham, Fabrizio Giovinardi, Rob Austin, Martin Depper, and Tom Ingram.
Following race one, Jordan was given a one second penalty for contact made with Neal which gave him an unfair advantage. Giovinardi was heavily punished – being fined £500 and given three penalty points – for contact with Aron Smith. The Airwaves Racing Team appealed the decision but it was eventually upheld and means Giovinardi will start from the back at the grid at the next round in Snetterton.
Race two was more of the same for Turkington, pulling away at the head of the flag leaving Shedden languishing in second, six seconds off. Shedden was joined on the podium by team-mate Neal who was later disqualified from the race after his car failed a ride-height test. This promoted Turkington’s eBay Motors team-mate Collard to third place. Behind them it was Jordan who finished fourth with Plato, Mat Jackson, Tordoff, Ingram, Giovinardi and Jack Goff also in the top ten. Plato was given three penalty points and a ten place grid drop for race three following contact he made with Menu. Plato took responsibility, later tweeting: “I misjudged the undercut. My mistake, hands up”. Adam Morgan finished in 11th ahead of Jack Clarke in 12th, his best finish in BTCC so far. Also in the points were Nick Foster, Aron Smith, and Hynes.
For the third and final race of the day, tenth place finisher in race two Giovinardi picked his own number to start on pole from the reverse grid. Due to Neal’s exclusion from the results, however, it was Goff who actually got to start from pole. Goff and Ingram made contact, dropping Ingram out of the race and Goff into third, while Jordan took the lead. He was able to hang on and cross the line first, three seconds ahead of Collard who in turn was a significant distance ahead of Mat Jackson in third. Turkington’s day came to a disappointing end with clutch problems, causing him to retire after seven laps. After the top three, Shedden took another solid haul of points to keep him in close quarters with championship leader Turkington. Morgan, Goff, Foster, Menu, Smith and Plato were also in the top ten. Rounding out the points were Abbott, Tordoff, Depper, Lea Wood and James Cole.
There were a number of penalties applied after the race. Jordan was given three penalty points and a Snetterton grid penalty of ten places, following contact he made with Giovinardi. Pirtek Racing will appeal the decision at Snetterton. Shedden got a four second time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage after contact with Jackson; while Depper received a three second penalty for the same offence, this time with Tordoff. Collard also received a Snetterton grid penalty – this time five places – for contact made with Goff.
Following the weekend at Croft, Turkington is still leading the championship – seven points ahead of Shedden. Jordan is 21 points further back. The BTCC will now enter its summer break, with the next round at Snetterton just over a month away.