The second meet of the 2017 Dunlop British Touring Car Championship took place on a grey Easter Sunday, on the long straights and sweeping bends of Donington Park. The race meeting had everything; exciting overtaking, major incidents and extreme weather.
Rob Austin took pole position in the Toyota Avensis, backing up his impressive pace in Free Practice. However he was promoted after the disqualification of Ashley Sutton, who looked to have given an amazing pole for the struggling Subaru team. His turbo boost was later found to have broken the technical regulations and he was thrown to the back of the grid, alongside Jake Hill who was also removed from sixth overall for a rear-wing infringement.
At the start Tom Ingram, second in the championship, made a great start despite having penalty ballast to take the lead, after bumping Austin out of his path. Aiden Moffat took second at the start and slid past Ingram’s heavy Toyota to take the lead. Ingram began to struggle to keep the faster cars behind and dropped three places in one corner. Matt Neal then took second place from Austin and tried to catch Moffat but it was in vain; the 20 year old Scot claimed his debut win in the BTCC. Behind Neal and Austin, Colin Turkington took a good fourth overall. Ingram was suffering with a heavy car and the option tyres but some great defensive driving saw him take fifth. He led a train of cars that comprised of Rob Collard, Adam Morgan and championship leader Gordon Shedden. Jeff Smith finished ninth and the top ten was completed by Josh Cook. The race saw several crashes, the most notable ones coming when team-mates Aron Taylor-Smith and Dan Lloyd collided, sending the latter crashing into the barrier, and also an opening lap incident that put paid to the races of Jake Hill, Martin Depper and James Cole.
Race two saw Ingram make another great start to lead the race, with the BMWs also flying ahead of Austin and Neal. Andrew Jordan and Mat Jackson collided at the start, with the latter flying into the wall. With less success ballast in the car, Ingram was able to hold the lead to become the first two time winner of the 2017 season. Behind him, Sutton, recovering still from being demoted to the back of the grid, was in the battle for second with Collard which he lost on the final lap but still claimed a brilliant podium finish for Subaru. Cook moved through the field to claim fourth ahead of Turkington. Shedden moved past team-mate Neal in the race to beat him to sixth. Dave Newsham took eighth and therefore was on pole for race three after the reverse grid draw. Jack Goff and Tom Chilton, the latter of which recovered from a race one retirement, completed the top ten.
However, before the final race of the day, the heavens opened. At the start it was Neal who took the lead from Newsham but he slid off the road in the treacherous conditions. He wasn’t the only one; Shedden, Ingram and Collard were amongst many to go into the gravel. The race was stopped and restarted when the track was drier, but without those who failed to get out of the gravel, including Neal. At the restart Newsham held the lead despite a charge from the BMWs. Shedden started to move up the order and took first on lap 5. From this point on the Honda driver sped into the distance and took the win from Turkington. Behind them, Newsham, Sutton and Morgan found themselves three abreast into the chicane on the final lap, with Morgan grabbing the final podium place and Sutton and Newsham fourth and fifth. Ingram completed a good weekend with sixth ahead of Goff, Cook, race one winner Moffat and Taylor-Smith.
After Donington Park Gordon Shedden remained at the top of the drivers’ standings, just four points ahead of Tom Ingram. Colin Turkington completes the top three. The next race meeting will be at Thruxton, which will take place between the 6th and the 7th of May.
Drivers’ Standings After Round Six
|1||Gordon Shedden||Halfords Yuasa Racing||89|
|2||Tom Ingram||Speedworks Motorsport||85|
|3||Colin Turkington||Team BMW||68|
|4||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||67|
|5||Rob Collard||Team BMW||66|
|6||Jack Goff||Eurotech Racing||45|
|7||Andrew Jordan||BMW Pirtek Racing||44|
|8||Matt Neal||Halfords Yuasa Racing||44|
|9||Josh Cook||Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport||39|
|10||Tom Chilton||Power Maxed Racing||36|