The temperatures were high at Oulton Park, but did the racing live up to the heat? In truth, the day got progressively better with each race and it culminated in a new leader of the championship come 6pm on Sunday.
Saturday’s qualifying session brought a first ever, and very surprising, pole for Matt Simpson. Considering he was eighteenth in the standings going into the weekend and without even a BTCC podium, it was something of a shock to see him comfortably secure pole from Sam Tordoff, Tom Chilton, Andrew Jordan and Matt Neal. The championship top three after Thruxton struggled with the success ballast and Adam Morgan, Josh Cook and Tom Ingram couldn’t manage higher than seventeenth between them.
Race one: Simpson got away cleanly off the line, while Tordoff bogged down and was soon overtaken by Chilton. However, his position wasn’t secure and there was a good battle for the place with Tordoff and Jordan, which allowed Simpson to make a break for it. Just over the half way point, Jordan took third from Tordoff as Chilton held on, Colin Turkington started to move forward as he made his way to sixth and there was drama for Simpson as smoke started to appear from the front left area of his car. However, the smoke didn’t develop into a problem, despite continuing to appear intermittently, and Simpson secured his first ever BTCC win. Race rating: 5.5/10
Race two: Simpson’s joy didn’t last for too long as an engine issue ruled him out of the remainder of the day, meaning Chilton started on pole. It was an entertaining first lap as Chilton just held on to the lead, Turkington jumped to third and several cars found themselves off the track. A collision between Aiden Moffat and Dan Cammish found them sliding down the grass and Brett Smith was extremely fortunate not to wipe anyone out at the hairpin after being hit from behind before uncontrollably sliding along the grass before coming to rest on the apex of the corner. (more…)
The thrills and excitement of the British Touring Car Championship headed north for the latest rounds at Oulton Park. Tom Ingram had been on top of the standings for the majority of the season so far, but he didn’t leave as a happy driver after a disastrous weekend. This was the major headline from the weekend’s action, but what else did we learn?
Ingram wasn’t the only driver to have a poor weekend, as fellow championship rival, Colin Turkington, hardly had a dream weekend either. Ingram qualified relatively well in 11th, considering the weight, but that meant he was in a dangerous track position as the opening race started around the narrow circuit, and so it proved.
Ingram was collected by Jack Goff and was left on the grass as a result, while the rest of the field filed by. However, later in the race, worse was to happen as his back wheel came loose and he retired accordingly. Like Matt Neal’s rather unexpected 2 pole positions in a row, Ingram suffered two DNFs in a row. Things hardly improved for Ingram in the final race with a spin, although he did pick up a solitary point for his weekend’s efforts with a fastest lap. Where does this leave Ingram’s title chances? Realistically, Ingram would have been delighted to be 3rd in the standings after twelve rounds and he’s still in a great position to challenge for the championship.
Similarly, you can’t write Turkington off, especially with his favourite hunting ground of Croft coming up next. Turkington had suffered from electrical gremlins during Saturday’s qualifying and they appeared to return after he bumped into the back of Aiden Moffat during a great battle at the front. The subsequent problem dropped Turkington to the back of the pack, something he did well to recover in the second race to a low scoring points position, before finishing fifth in the final race of the day.
Following a month’s break, the BTCC returned at Oulton Park as the series added another two winners to this season’s races.Astonishingly, one of those winners was former double champion Colin Turkington, who drove his Subaru home for a first ever BTCC win for the manufacturer. The win came in only their seventh BTCC race after their withdrawal of all of their cars on safety grounds from the previous three rounds at Thruxton. At the top of the championship, there was also a change of leader as Sam Tordoff now holds a single point advantage.
In the previous three or four seasons at least, Oulton Park has largely seen a procession of cars following each other around with very little action to speak of. Luckily, this season was a little different; nobody had told Rob Collard that you can’t overtake around the Cheshire circuit!
Turkington started Subaru’s unbelievable turnaround in fortunes in qualifying on Saturday with an early blistering lap that none of the other thirty-one drivers could beat. It was to be no fluke for Subaru as Jason Plato backed up his teammate’s new found speed with sixth place. An impressive Dan Lloyd joined Turkington on the front row with Tordoff in third, Tom Ingram fourth and reigning champion, Gordon Shedden, fifth.
Race One (1st Turkington, 2nd Tordoff, 3rd Plato)
The opening race of the day was surprisingly entertaining. Turkington made a clean start and retained his lead as Tordoff and Plato both made up places off the line. Lloyd lost a further place on the next lap as Shedden made one of many moves seen at Island Bend over race day. At the end of lap 5 and beginning of 6, Aiden Moffat and Rob Austin had an amazing side by side battle that lasted for nearly half a lap. Oulton Park is hardly the widest of circuits, but strong and respectful driving from both made great viewing. (more…)
ESM’s BTCC Correspondent isn’t one for holding back on his opinions. What did he make of the latest rounds?
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My short review above of the latest British Touring Car Championship rounds may be jovial, but I find it to be highly accurate. Of course, issues were still raised that need to be discussed.
Firstly, it was a great weekend for Jason Plato. A pole position, two race victories, one with full ballast, and a fifth place meant that he has now thrown down the championship gauntlet to the rest of the field, if it needed throwing down in the first place. If he hadn’t suffered a puncture at Brands Hatch on the last lap when set for victory, his lead in the championship would now be sizeable. However, every driver has an ‘if only’ story and luck arguably evens itself out over the course of a season. (more…)
Le Mans might be the big event on everyone’s mind this weekend, but cast your mind back a few days to the British Touring Car Championship’s outing at Oulton Park. Our correspondent brings you his detailed review.
Turkington Takes Charge of the Championship
Colin Turkington enjoyed a fantastic weekend in the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire. The Ulsterman finished the weekend leading the championship for the first time since his title triumph in 2009.
All the drivers and important people from the teams had to pass the mandatory breath test before any action could take place on both Saturday and Sunday. Qualifying on Saturday took place in mixed conditions and on a drying International Circuit, being used in the BTCC for the first time since 1996, Turkington stormed to pole ahead of Jason Plato, Gordon Shedden, Rob Collard, Sam Tordoff and Rob Austin. Championship leader Andrew Jordan qualified in 13th with Matt Neal a place behind him.
The weather had cleared up for Sunday and the first race took place in dry conditions. As the lights went out for the start of Race One, Turkington sped away from the line, making the most of his rear wheel drive power. Turkington’s teammate, Collard, made a similarly good start, charging up to 2nd. Austin, in his rear wheel drive Audi A4, also made a good start by jumping Tordoff for 5th, although Tordoff tried his best to regain the place, but to little avail. First lap action was fairly quiet, but Warren Scott and Hunter Abbott managed to collide at Hislop’s.
A year ago EngageSportMode was at Oulton Park for the British Touring Car Championship. Although we might not have been there in person this time round, ESM’s BTCC correspondent still brings you the lowdown on all the action:
Plato’s on Fire with Double Oulton Park Win
Hot, hot, hot! Plato feels the heat in race three.
A different kind of roast potato.
Jason Plato secured his first victories since the opening two rounds of the season with victories in the first two races at Oulton Park. Plato was largely untroubled in both races and was a dominant winner each time out. He did, however, suffer some bad luck in the third race, a rather large fire under the bonnet meant it was no points third time out.
Race One saw the first ever MG 1-2 starting grid as Sam Tordoff backed up Plato’s dominant qualifying performance. There was drama before the race started as Ollie Jackson’s Speedworks Avensis failed to make the grid due to an issue, but he did later join the race. There was a lively start off the grid as Gordon Shedden did his best to drive past Tordoff, but the Yorkshire man just held his ground.
Frank Wrathall’s Avensis and Warren Scott’s Seat Leon were next to encounter trouble as they were promptly into the pits on lap 2. Island Bend, as ever, provided great overtaking opportunities and also opportunities for plenty of contact over the weekend, with Andrew Jordan particularly finding the backs of other cars easier to help him stop rather than his own brakes. Race One saw notable taps from the aforementioned Jordan on Dave Newsham, James Cole on Lea Wood and Colin Turkington on once again, the unlucky Newsham.
Race One was a bit of a precession to be honest and not a great deal happened. Aron Smith was out on lap 6, with the Airwaves NGTC Focus still struggling to find reliability this season. A point of drama however, was when Jordan’s car started pouring out black smoke on lap 8. It looked inconceivable that he would be able to finish the race, but finish the race he did with the eventual cause being diagnosed as an exhaust issue. (more…)
With the sun burn now slowly (and painfully) turning to a rich golden brown, it’s time for Engage Sport Mode to reflect on just what happened at Oulton Park yesterday.
The 2.26 mile Cheshire Circuit played host to rounds 10, 11 and 12 of this year’s British Touring Car Championship. The Yuasa Hondas of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden look to be the cars to beat this season, with convincing performances in the previous rounds. Admittedly, ESM fell out of love with the BTCC a number of years ago (to be discussed later in the week) and was very much there for a good time, rather than as a die-hard fan.
As a result, the pictures you see below cover a variety of on and off track entertainment, including 2010 champion Jason Plato eating a burger. All the photos below were taken in an amateur style on a iPhone 4. I do not profess to be a professional photographer, nor do I particularly aspire to be one. ESM took along its “roving photographer” for the proper pics, also to be featured later in the week. Enjoy:
Somewhere on the M62
No, your eyes are not deceiving you, that is an orange Audi Q7.
ESM’s fearless roving photographer and driver for the day. Two hands on the wheel of course.
Entering Oulton Park.
Team truck for a certain large nosed racing driver.
6.2 litre V8. Can you tell what it is yet?
Of course, it’s a Vauxhall (Holden) VXR8 (GTS).
The MG stand proving to be rather low rent.
The angled, carbon fibre, goodness of a BMW 320si.
You can tell we’re in Cheshire. The Chrome Edition BMW M3.
The rather lovely, if expensive BMW M5 M Performance Edition
The rather less lovely BMW X6.
Race One; Civics of Shedden and Neal make their way round to the grid.
Followed by the eBay Motors BMWs.
The sprint out of Old Hall on the first lap, heading down towards Cascades.
Safety Car bunches the pack up.
Crowd congratulates the victorious Matt Neal, with second place Andrew Jordan alongside.
Crossing the track is exciting. This is the view back up towards Old Hall.
And this is the view to Cascades. It’s a lot steeper than TV makes out!
Porsche Carrera Cup race one with Daniel Lloyd charging down the start-finish straight.
Forget your big camera; I’ve got an iPhone and some angles!
Porsches coming out of Lodge and heading down the famous Deer Leap
Ginettas under braking into Lodge.
BTCC Race Two; a lonely looking grid girl for Jason Plato, starting from the back after technical issues in the first race.
A panorama of……more grid girls
ESM’s roving photographer getting the snaps that matter most!
Plato arrives at the back, as Dave Newsham sidles past.
Porsche provide both the Safety Car and Medical Car. The Cayenne sounds especially naughty.
A good view of just how STEEP Deer Leap is. Hope JP’s got his handbrake on.
His new found favourite!
Onto the Clio Cup. Whilst one Hamilton was about to embark on a drive to victory in Canada, younger brother Nick was going to be less successful.
MORE Deer Leap action. Imagine coming across here flat out…
Found lurking in the car park, a rather sultry looking Ferrari FF.
The “other” Hamilton at the back of the pack. Note mismatched door.
Clios powering their way out of Knickerbrook and up towards Druids.
Astra VXR, Ferrari California, VW Scirocco, Porsche Boxster, Citroen C4. Which is the odd one out?
Matt Neal and Gordon “Flash” (yes, seriously) Shedden doing some PR stuff.
Hmmm….cannot for the life of me remember why I took this one. Perhaps my finger slipped?
The whole Plato family. King Potato, Mother Potato and JP outside the MG garage.
The KING OF SANDWICHES not eating a sandwich.
Birthday boy Matt Jackson.
It was just after this point that ESM’s iPhone ran out of battery. Which was a shame, as the third and final BTCC race provided lots of action right under our very noses. Luckily our roving photographer got some great shots which will be neatly delivered later in the week.
If you want to know more about who won, who lost and who half of the people above are, then head on over to the offical BTCC website here.
Today ESM spent many hours at the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire. Along with getting sun burnt, ESM also took a rather large number of photos before the iPhone battery cried enough. Yes I could have used a proper camera, but I didn’t.
Here’s a selection of three photos . The rest will be uploaded once the sun burn subsides. Enjoy: