Trio of winners at Donington Park

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.

2015: BTCC – Donington Park Results

Names in bold indicate fastest lap

Race 1

  1. Jason Plato
  2. Gordon Shedden
  3. Colin Turkington
  4. Andrew Jordan
  5. Sam Tordoff
  6. Dave Newsham
  7. Jack Goff
  8. Rob Collard
  9. Adam Morgan
  10. Rob Austin
  11. Warren Scott
  12. Andy Priaulx
  13. Josh Cook
  14. Jeff Smith
  15. Martin Depper
  16. Tom Ingram
  17. Matt Neal
  18. Aiden Moffat
  19. Hunter Abbott
  20. Alex Martin
  21. Kieran Gallagher
  22. Derek Palmer
  23. Richard Hawken

Not classified

Andy Wilmot
Simon Belcher
Dan Welch
Mike Bushell

Race 2

  1. Colin Turkington
  2. Matt Neal
  3. Adam Morgan
  4. Andrew Jordan
  5. Jason Plato
  6. Rob Collard
  7. Josh Cook
  8. Jack Goff
  9. Sam Tordoff
  10. Andy Priaulx
  11. Dave Newsham
  12. Aron Smith
  13. Tom Ingram
  14. Gordon Shedden
  15. Jeff Smith
  16. Aiden Moffat
  17. Hunter Abbott
  18. Rob Austin
  19. Martin Depper
  20. Kieran Gallagher
  21. Simon Belcher
  22. Stewart Lines
  23. Alex Martin
  24. Richard Haken

Not Classified

Mike Bushell
Dan Welch
Warren Scott

Race 3

  1. Matt Neal
  2. Andrew Jordan
  3. Gordon Shedden
  4. Rob Collard
  5. Aiden Moffat 
  6. Aron Smith
  7. Josh Cook
  8. Jason Plato
  9. Martin Depper
  10. Tom Ingram
  11. Colin Turkington
  12. Adam Morgan
  13. Jeff Smith
  14. Hunter Abbott
  15. Warren Scott
  16. Simon Belcher
  17. Stewart Lines
  18. Kieran Gallagher
  19. Alex Martin
  20. Richard Hawken

Not classified 

Mike Bushell
Rob Austin
Dave Newsham
Andy Priaulx
Sam Tordoff
Jack Goff

2015: BTCC – Donington Park Grid and Tyre Choices

Here is the grid for race one at Donington Park along with the tyre choices for each driver:

  1. Colin Turkington – 1:09.483 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  2. Gordon Shedden – 1:09.539 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  3. Jason Plato – 1:09.552 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  4. Adam Morgan – 1:10.029 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  5. Andrew Jordan – 1:10.029 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  6. Josh Cook – 1:10.119 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  7. Matt Neal – 1:10.179 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  8. Sam Tordoff – 1:10.193 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  9. Aiden Moffat – 1:10.288 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  10. Dave Newsham – 1:10.337 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  11. Aron Smith – 1:10.365 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  12. Rob Austin – 1:10.378 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  13. Jack Goff – 1:10.378 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  14. Mike Bushell – 1:10.527 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  15. Warren Scott – 1:10.543 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  16. Tom Ingram – 1:10.580 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  17. Jeff Smith – 1:10.614 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  18. Martin Depper – 1:10.652 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  19. Rob Collard – 1:10.823 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  20. Alex Martin – 1:10.978 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  21. Hunter Abbott – 1:11.013 – Medium – Soft – Medium
  22. Simon Belcher – 1:11.374 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  23. Andy Priaulx – 1:11.535 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  24. Derek Palmer – 1:11.930 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  25. Kieran Gallagher – 1:12.065 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  26. Andy Wilmot – 1:12.508 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  27. Stewart Lines – 1:12.896 – Soft – Medium – Medium
  28. Richard Hawken – 1:15.799 – Medium – Medium – Soft
  29. Dan Welch – No Time Set – Soft – Medium – Medium

2015: BTCC – Donington Park Preview

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.

Neal and Goff lead British Touring Car Championship after first weekend

Matt Neal and Jack Goff have taken the early lead in the 2015 British Touring Car Championship. Neal won the third and final race of the day while a string of solid points finishes saw Goff tie with the Honda driver at the top of the championship after the first weekend of action.

Final podium

Aron Smith, Matt Neal and Jack Goff spray champagne following the final race of the day © Matt Roberts

Race one saw returnee Andy Priaulx line up on pole position ahead of Aron Smith, Jason Plato, and Colin Turkington. Rob Collard made one of the now familiar BMW rear wheel drive starts by moving up to second place by the first corner and pressured his team-mate – who was running the soft tyre – for the lead. He eventually took it on lap 14 and held off the Team BMR duo of Smith and Plato who joined him on the podium. Priaulx slipped down the order after his tyres lost grip and eventually finished in ninth place. There was just one retirement from the first race of the year and it was Derek Palmer in the Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing car.

Due to setting the fastest lap of race one, it was Plato who started from pole position for the second race alongside Priaulx. The Honda of Gordon Shedden got himself into second place by the third lap of the race with Prilaux dropping to third. The pair made contact late on in the race as they battled for the second and third podium positions. At the same time race leader Plato – who had a comfortable lead – went off track with a suspected puncture. Martin Depper was unlucky to get caught up in Warren Scott’s incident after the Team BMR driver lost control of his car and slid across the track. It wasn’t the best race for Scott’s team as Smith made contact with Goff and dropped down the order. Shedden took the eventual victory by just four hundredths of a second from Priaulx. 2014 champion Turkington finished the race in third.

After finishing tenth in the second race it was down to Rob Austin to pick the number for the reverse grid. He picked his own number meaning the grid would be reversed from tenth. Austin started from pole alongside Goff with  Neal and Sam Tordoff just behind. Race one winner Collard started from 16th with race two winner Shedden in tenth. Neal got into second in the opening corner while Collard spun off into the gravel. A safety car was instantly deployed while Kieran Gallagher, Palmer, Stewart Lines, and Plato got caught up together at Druids. Gallagher and Lines made contact, sending them both into spins while Palmer and Plato got caught up due to having nowhere else to go. Josh Cook pulled off at the side of the track while the safety car was still out while Scott pitted. Shedden and Aiden Moffat also returned to the pit-lane. The race restarted on lap seven and the race distance was increased to 27 laps. In the last ten laps of the race the top three were separated by very little – Austin leading Neal and Goff. Neal took the lead on the 21st lap with Austin also finding himself under pressure from Goff. Andrew Jordan also joined the battle but the MG driver picked up a puncture, entering the pits after contact with Austin. Goff was flashing his lights at Neal as he tried to find a way past into the lead but it was the Honda driver – in his 25th BTCC season – who eventually won. Goff was second with Smith in third.

Final podium

Aron Smith, Matt Neal and Jack Goff on the podium following race three © Matt Roberts

2015: BTCC – Brands Hatch Indy Results

Race One

  1. Rob Collard
  2. Aron Smith
  3. Jason Plato
  4. Jack Goff
  5. Colin Turkington
  6. Gordon Shedden
  7. Andrew Jordan
  8. Matt Neal
  9. Andy Priaulx
  10. Tom Ingram
  11. Adam Morgan
  12. Aiden Moffat
  13. Josh Cook
  14. Rob Austin
  15. Sam Tordoff
  16. Martin Depper
  17. Dave Newsham
  18. Hunter Abbott
  19. Jeff Smith
  20. Simon Belcher
  21. Mike Bushell
  22. Warren Scott
  23. Alex Martin
  24. Kieran Gallagher
  25. Stewart Lines

Not Classified

Derek Palmer

Race Two

  1. Gordon Shedden
  2. Andy Priaulx
  3. Colin Turkington
  4. Adam Morgan
  5. Andrew Jordan
  6. Tom Ingram
  7. Sam Tordoff
  8. Matt Neal
  9. Jack Goff
  10. Rob Austin
  11. Hunter Abbott
  12. Aron Smith
  13. Aiden Moffat
  14. Josh Cook
  15. Dave Newsham
  16. Rob Collard
  17. Mike Bushell
  18. Alex Martin
  19. Simon Belcher
  20. Derek Palmer
  21. Stewart Lines
  22. Kieran Gallagher
  23. Jeff Smith

Not Classified

Jason Plato
Warren Scott
Martin Depper

Race Three

  1. Matt Neal
  2. Jack Goff
  3. Aron Smith
  4. Sam Tordoff
  5. Rob Austin
  6. Tom Ingram
  7. Adam Morgan
  8. Andy Priaulx
  9. Dave Newsham
  10. Hunter Abbott
  11. Mike Bushell
  12. Colin Turkington
  13. Martin Depper
  14. Jeff Smith
  15. Simon Belcher
  16. Jason Plato
  17. Stewart Lines
  18. Derek Palmer
  19. Andrew Jordan
  20. Kieran Gallagher

Not Classified

Alex Martin
Gordon Shedden
Aiden Moffat
Warren Scott
Josh Cook
Rob Collard

Bold name indicates fastest lap

Andy Priaulx marks BTCC return with pole position

Andy Priaulx will start the first race of the 2015 British Touring Car Championship from pole position.

The West Surrey Racing driver – whose last pole position in the series was also his last appearance back in 2002 – ended the qualifying session just six hundredths faster than lead Team BMR driver Aron Smith.

It was a positive session for Team BMR with new recruits Jason Plato and Colin Turkington lining up on the second row of the grid. They were separated by just one thousandth of a second continuing the close pace they showed at media day. It wasn’t just the team-mates who were close as the top twenty on the grid were separated by just over a second.

Rob Collard and Jack Goff will start tomorrow’s first race from the third row, ahead of Gordon Shedden, Sam Tordoff, Tom Ingram, and Andrew Jordan. Next up will be Matt Neal, Adam Morgan, Rob Austin, Dave Newsham, Aiden Moffat, and Hunter Abbott. Returning driver Jeff Smith will start alongside leading rookie Mike Bushell, who in turn is ahead of Martin Depper, Josh Cook, Alex Martin, Simon Belcher, Stewart Lines, Derek Palmer, Kieran Gallagher and Andy Wilmot.

Richard Hawken is missing from the action this weekend due to Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing running into technical problems with their second car. Palmer will be their sole representative in the opening weekend of running. Joining Hawken on the sidelines is Dan Welch who broke his foot on Wednesday while preparing the team truck.

Three races will take place tomorrow with the grid for race two decided by race one fastest laps. The grid for race one:

  1. Andy Priaulx – 48.411 – 32 laps
  2. Aron Smith – 48.480 – 28 laps
  3. Jason Plato – 48.534 – 25 laps
  4. Colin Turkington – 48.535 – 25 laps
  5. Rob Collard – 48.562 – 32 laps
  6. Jack Goff – 48.599 – 26 laps
  7. Gordon Shedden – 48.608 – 27 laps
  8. Sam Tordoff – 48.631 – 31 laps
  9. Tom Ingram – 48.643 – 23 laps
  10. Andrew Jordan – 48.656 – 27 laps
  11. Matt Neal – 48.694 – 29 laps
  12. Adam Morgan – 48.717 – 26 laps
  13. Rob Austin – 48.895 – 31 laps
  14. Dave Newsham – 48.911 – 27 laps
  15. Aiden Moffat – 48.931 – 28 laps
  16. Hunter Abbott – 48.964 – 31 laps
  17. Jeff Smith – 49.101 – 28 laps
  18. Mike Bushell – 49.367 – 28 laps
  19. Martin Depper – 49.492 – 15 laps
  20. Josh Cook – 49.517 – 18 laps
  21. Alex Martin – 49.575 – 29 laps
  22. Simon Belcher – 49.633 – 32 laps
  23. Stewart Lines – 50.596 – 29 laps
  24. Derek Palmer – 50.609 – 23 laps
  25. Kieran Gallagher – 50.762 – 25 laps
  26. Andy Wilmot – 52.665 – 14 laps