It was another great weekend for the BTCC championship leader, Colin Turkington, in the latest rounds held at Rockingham. Turkington took the chequered flag in the first two races of the day with Rob Austin making a popular climb to the top of the podium for the final race. Turkington’s wins also coincided with a poor weekend for his nearest challenger going into the weekend, Gordon Shedden, so his advantage now stands at 55 points over Jason Plato.
The MG duo of Plato and Sam Tordoff had looked strong all weekend and it was no surprise that Tordoff took his second pole position in a row from Turkington, with full ballast remember, then Plato, Shedden, Andrew Jordan and Adam Morgan.
Race One saw Turkington make a great start when the lights went out and he flew off the line and into the lead with Tordoff and Plato behind him. Matt Neal, having a season to forget, was once again well down the order after the lights went out. Lap 2 saw Tordoff pressurise Turkington, but to no avail, while Morgan made it up to 5th as the queue for the lead increased. A couple of laps later, Morgan and Jordan past Shedden as he went sideways after trying to pass Plato himself. However, one man who didn’t recover from going sideways was Lea Wood as he lost the back end of his Avensis under braking into the Deene Hairpin and his out of control car smacked into the front end of Warren Scott causing a safety car. Both cars suffered substantial damage, Wood’s especially, which was a bit surprising as it didn’t seem to be the worst impact ever seen. (more…)
The time for talking is over, the time for pre-season testing is over, the time for relaxing on a Sunday afternoon is over; the British Touring Car Championship is back for a new campaign. Admittedly, I haven’t been all that interested in the close season, perhaps more due to a young child, but that’s not to say I haven’t been keeping my eye on events. I’d highlight 2 major additions to the 2014 driver-up as being the biggest news from the pre-season build up.
The 1997 and 2000 champion Alain Menu returns to the BTCC for the first time since his one-off appearance at Thruxton in 2007 to help Fabrizio Giovanardi win the title, and for his first full season since his title-winning campaign in 2000. Funnily enough, it’s the man who he helped win the title in 2007 who is also returning. Double champion from 2007 and 2008, Giovanardi also returns with Airwaves Racing and the Ford Focus. Menu has joined the confident CHROME Edition Restart Racing team, driving a Volkswagen CC. The addition of the duo forms a line-up of 7 BTCC champions on the starting grid.
All 7 champions will no doubt be hoping to add another crown to their former glories. Reigning champion Andrew Jordan will be eager to retain his title after fighting so hard to claim his first crown last time out. However, standing in his way will be the Honda duo of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden in their now estate Civic, as well as stalwart Jason Plato and ESM favourite, Colin Turkington. I’m not sure whether the cars of Giovanardi and Menu will be strong enough to sustain a full title challenge, but I’m sure they’ll be somewhere in the mix.
I’ve compiled a few thoughts and predictions about the 31 car strong grid for 2014 below: (more…)