The British Touring Car Championship continues this weekend with the action moving on from Brands Hatch to Donington Park.
The BTCC returned on the Brands Hatch Indy a fortnight ago on a weekend which saw Rob Collard, Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal pick up a win apiece. It was a great start to the year for the Honda Yuasa Racing team who only revealed they would be running a brand new Honda Civic Type R a few weeks before the start of the season. The results saw Neal – along with MG’s Jack Goff – leave the weekend at the top of the championship table.
The 2015 season launch and media day took place at Donington Park in March. On the day it was Team BMR who lead the times – Jason Plato narrowly ahead of new team-mate Colin Turkington. The team put in a strong showing at the season opener, coming away with four podiums, but also encountered some bad luck along the way. Andy Priaulx impressed on his return as he took pole position but an opening race on the soft compound tyres left him vulnerable when they wore out, meaning he failed to convert his pole into a win for West Surrey Racing.
Last year at Donington Park MG took two victories – one each for Plato and Sam Tordoff – while Shedden won race three. Plato took overall pole position during Saturday qualifying.
Donington Park Stats
Circuit Length: 1.96 miles
Number of Corners: 8
Number of Laps: 16
Race Lap Record: Adam Morgan 1:10.573 (100.95mph)
2015 winners: Jason Plato, Sam Tordoff, Gordon Shedden
There is good news for the weekend ahead as the grid is set to be strengthened to 29 cars. Daniel Welch – who broke his foot just ahead of the season opener at Brands Hatch – is set to return this weekend, revealing that he has to “man up and get on with it“. He will partner team-mate Andy Wilmot who had a disappointing weekend at Brands Hatch, unable to race due to engine problems. Elsewhere Richard Hawken will make his BTCC debut after having to sit out the first round while Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing prepared their second car. His team-mate Derek Palmer came away from the opening weekend with two top twenty finishes.
After just one weekend it is close at the top of the table. Neal and Goff are tied on 37 points while Aron Smith has 36. Priaulx, Shedden, and Turkington are all within seven points of the leading pair. MG lead the manufacturers while Team BMR and A. Smith lead the team and Independents championships respectively. In the Independents Team championship it is Speedworks Motorsport at the top of the points.