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BTCC 2014 – Donington Park – Rounds 4, 5 and 6

The second race weekend of the 2014 BTCC calendar produced more dramatic and controversial racing. What did our BTCC Correspondent make of it? Read on for his in-depth analysis. 

A Weekend to Savour for Plato

BTCC 2014 Donington 001

It was a great weekend for title contender Jason Plato in the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park. Plato secured a huge haul of points thanks to a victory, a second and a sixth place which meant he finished the weekend as joint leader of the championship with reigning champion Andrew Jordan.

Saturday qualifying saw Plato take pole from Gordon Shedden, teammate Sam Tordoff, Colin Turkington, Aron Smith and Alain Menu in what was an impressive performance for the two VW drivers. This time last year, I remember complaining about the lack of action at both Brands Hatch and at Donington Park, but the same cannot be said this year. This weekend’s racing was certainly helped by changeable weather conditions.

Race One brought a damp track, leading to some tough decisions between the teams on whether to go with wets or slicks. The main men went wets and the rest followed. The start saw Plato get away cleanly with Turkington coming through from 4th to take 2nd in the, as ever, fast starting BMW. However, Tordoff soon took the position from Turkington with a great move down the Craner Curves and Turkington was soon back to his starting position as Shedden took 3rd from him not long after. Tordoff was working hard to put Plato under pressure and on the second lap he was only 0.2s behind him. Other second lap action saw Rob Collard make great strides from his starting position of 13th as he made his way up to 8th and Dave Newsham went sideways down the Craners after contact with Adam Morgan’s A-Class.

2014 BTCC Donington 004


BTCC Round 9 – Silverstone Review

Plato at the double but Jordan remains in control

MG celebrate a 1-2 in the first race of the day.

MG celebrate a 1-2 in the first race of the day.

The penultimate weekend of the 2013 BTCC season took place at Silverstone and produced some excellent close racing. As I have previously mentioned, I am not a fan of these ridiculous laps that take last than a second to complete, but for once I could get away with it because of the high-speed nature of the National Circuit.

Qualifying on Saturday produced one of the closest sessions that I can remember, but then again, there’s going to be less variance when the lap takes less than a minute to complete! Jason Plato took the honour of pole, ahead of his teammate Sam Tordoff, a fabulous third for Dave Newsham, Colin Turkington, and an impressive fifth and sixth for Frank Wrathall and Jack Goff.

The MG pair were able to get off the line cleanly in Race One, with Tordoff getting the better start and he was able to challenge Plato for the lead. However, after the pair had a small rub of body work, it allowed Turkington to nip through and take second as Plato just held onto the lead. Towards the end of the first lap, as the cars approached Brooklands, Newsham was able to challenge for second – that was until he lost it on cold tyres and went spinning backwards.

The second lap brought a decent sized crash as Will Bratt found the pit wall and it appeared that Nick Foster and Andy Neate took evasive action to avoid him, but could only find the gravel trap, which eventually resulted in the first safety car of the day. However, despite appearing to pass under yellow flags, Tordoff was able to pass Turkington to re-take second and a little further down Rob Collard was able to make a pass on Wrathall. (more…)

2013 BTCC Round 5 – Croft Review

With the sunburn now just about faded, and shoes dried out, here is the full review of the 2013 visit of the British Touring Car Championship at Croft Circuit by our correspondent.

Turkington Dominates at Croft

ESM BTCC Croft 2013 (40)

Colin Turkington achieved, not only his best results since his return to the BTCC, but his best ever points haul in a BTCC weekend, at Croft. However, he wasn’t the only man to leave EngageSportMode’s local circuit smiling, as Matt Neal enjoyed a solid weekend to leave himself with a good gap at the top of the championship as we head into another six-week break.

The eBay Motors BMW 125i M Sport had looked strong from the start of the weekend, with it proving impressive in free practice, allowing Rob Collard to come home first in FP2. Saturday qualifying saw Jason Plato top of the charts heading into the final run, but Turkington produced an outstanding effort to put himself at the top, gaining a qualifying lap record around Croft Circuit in the process.

Race One saw Turkington line up first, ahead of Plato and ‘The Big Three Hondas.’ Despite my admiration for Turkington, I didn’t give him much hope in this race. As the lights went out, Turkington made a clean start heading to the first corner, Clervaux, but the most impressive start was made by Collard. He started sixth on the grid and made the most of the great BMW start and was just about second as the cars went into the first corner. Croft is an extremely tight circuit in places, no more so than in the first couple of corners, and Collard was tapped by Plato sending him into a 360 spin which was enough to send him down the field.  The incident caused a small amount of damage to Plato’s steering and suspension, but it was enough damage to make Plato struggle in the race.