This weekend saw the British Touring Car Championship roar into Thruxton Race Circuit, located in Hampshire. Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal, Power Maxed TAG Racing’s Josh Cook and Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan took a win apiece. This sees Morgan move into the lead of the championship standings as the championship heads to Oulton Park next.
Neal dominated the opening race of the day, taking a lights-to-flag victory, keeping Team BMW’s Colin Turkington at bay for sixteen laps. The season so far had been largely in the favour of the young drivers but Neal showed that the experienced drivers are still more than capable when he fought back to take the first pole position in the new Type R. Turkington pulled alongside as the pair accelerated off the line before Neal managed to get ahead and stay there until the end of the race but was kept honest by the BMW driver every corner for the sixteen lap race.
Sam Tordoff chased down Neal’s teammate Dan Cammish aboard his Team GardX Racing with Motorbase run Ford Focus to catch the Honda man in an attempt to take the final podium position. Cammish fought back and took third place with Tordoff taking fourth. The latters stablemate Tom Chilton in one of the Shredded Wheat backed Focus RS’ rounded out the top five.
Josh Cook kept his winning form going as the Power Maxed TAG Racing driver took the victory in race two. Neal started on pole but was unable to hang on as they accelerated off the line, Turkington blasted ahead into the lead on the entrance into the Complex. Cammish bogged down as the race started which allowed Tordoff and BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan to fly past, fighting for third place. The Power Maxed TAG Racing duo of Josh Cook and Senna Proctor soon started to make progress as they slipped past Chilton. Proctor’s progress stopped there but his teammate Cook charged forward, quickly passing Tordoff and Jordan. He then went on to drive around the outside of Neal at the final chicane to take second. By the tenth lap of the race Cook was challenging Turkington for the lead of the race. His moment came at the end of lap eleven as he passed Turkington around the outside, which saw Cook move into the lead. Turkington finished the race in second ahead of Neal in third, Tordoff in fourth, Jordan in fifth and Proctor in sixth.
Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport’ Adam Morgan took his second victory of the season so far in the final race of the day at Thruxton. He led the race from the moment the lights went out until the flag flew at the start line at the wheel of his Mercedes Benz A-Class. Morgan got a blinding start off the line and defended well from a quick starting Senna Proctor. WIX Racing with Eurotech’s Jack Goff was crawling all over the bumper of Proctor’s Astra which allowed Morgan some breathing space. Goff made his move stick on the youngster towards the end of the race but he was unable to chase down or challenge Morgan for the lead. Tordoff enjoyed a strong weekend as he took his third top five result of the race weekend as he finished in fourth. Turkington finished the final race in fifth, which puts himself back into strong championship contention.
Morgan now leads the overall Drivers’ championship by just a single point ahead of Cook in second. Tom Ingram sits third in the championship with ten points splitting second and third after he suffered a rather challenging day, suffering a DNF in the opening race. However, the rapid Toyota driver went on to take a brand new lap record in the final race.
Yvan Muller’s Thruxton lap record was set in 2002 and had been the longest standing lap record on the BTCC calendar but was beaten multiple times during the weekend this year. Ingram now holds the lap record of 1:17.060s.
Vauxhall leave Thruxton in the lead of the Manufacturers’ standings. Power Maxed TAG Racing leave in the lead of the Team’s championship. Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan leads both the Independents Teams’ and Drivers’ championship tables. A trio of top ten finishes sees BTC Norlin Racing’s Chris Smiley now at the head of the Jack Sears Trophy.
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returns in three weeks’ time at Oulton Park.
At the end of racing at Thruxton some drivers were handed penalties, those being;
- Michael Caine – received a verbal warning and two penalty points for an incident involving Tom Boardman during race one.
- Josh Cook – received a verbal warning for gaining an unfair advantage in an incident involving Andrew Jordan in race two.
- James Cole received a verbal warning for an incident involving Tom Oliphant in race two.
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing were deducted 10 points in the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ championship as they exceeded the engine allowance for this season.
© Fay Tilley May 2018
Jack Goff was the ony driver to be penalized in the second race of the weekend after receiving his second strike for an incident with Josh Cook.
Jake Hill currently sits at the top of Dunlop’s #ForeverForward standings as he has been the driver to make the most passes so far this season.
The next round of the season takes place at Thruxton, located in Hampshire on the 19th/20th May.