Matt Neal maintained his championship lead following an eventful three races at Donington Park.
Team BMR took two out of three victories with the third going to Neal. Reigning champion Colin Turkington – who now lies second in the championship – took pole position on Saturday by just under a tenth of a second from Gordon Shedden. It was team-mate Jason Plato, however, who took the spoils in the opening race, wasting no time in taking the lead from third on the grid.
In race one Aron Smith failed to make the grid due to car issues while Mike Bushell was slow on the parade lap. He failed to complete any laps while Dan Welch, Simon Belcher, and Andy Wilmot retired after just three laps. In the opening laps Shedden took second from Turkington although following a lock-up for the former, the BMR driver took the position back before swiftly losing it again. Elsewhere Rob Collard enjoyed a feisty run, passing both Jack Goff and Adam Morgan in one move. Goff got his own back on the last lap – however – when he got into a drag race with Collard on the pit straight. Goff got seventh position by under a tenth of a second. Up at the front Plato beat Shedden and Turkington.
Shedden set the fastest lap in race one, giving him pole position for the second race of the day. Turkington wasted no time in getting ahead and went on to take an impressive victory by 2.5 seconds from Neal. The safety car was deployed on the second lap due to an incident involving Warren Scott and Alex Morgan. Racing quickly resumed on lap five and the fight for the final two podium spots intensified as Turkington pulled away. Adam Morgan, Neal, and Andrew Jordan were all fighting with Neal making contact with Morgan who then sent Jordan into a slide. It was eventually Neal and Morgan who secured the podium positions with fourth going to Jordan ahead of race one winner Plato.
The reverse grid meant that rookie Josh Cook would be starting on pole position for the first time. He didn’t last long in P1 as Collard made another of the rear wheel drive BMWs fast starts and took the lead. Neal once again found himself in the thick of the action, hitting Jordan as he passed and going on to win the race. MG appealed the decision to allow Neal to keep his win following the contact between the two drivers. That wasn’t the only fighting going on however. A safety car was deployed on lap seven after Goff and Sam Tordoff ended up in the tyre wall and beached in the gravel following the final chicane. This was as a result of a tap from Morgan for Goff who then collected Tordoff. On lap 11 racing resumed and excitement ensued. A. Smith found himself going wheel-to-wheel with Josh Cook who was impressing by sticking with the more experienced BTCC drivers. The pair both went off track and across the grass, narrowly avoiding contact with other cars as they returned. Aiden Moffat also got involved, with the young driver setting the fastest lap on his way to fifth having started right down the order. At the front Collard – who was running the soft tyre – struggled to hold on and dropped to fourth, while Neal and Jordan battled for the lead. Neal held on and took his second win of the season – the first driver to do so this year – with Jordan second and Shedden third. Smith and Cook eventually finished sixth and seventh, separated by just two tenths of a second.
The action continues in two weeks when the championship travels to Thruxton on 9th and 10th of May.