The BTCC landed in Scotland for the 7th round of the 2014 season with Ebay Motors Colin Turkington leading the standings. Most of the support here would be for, among others title challenger Gordon Shedden.
Things would look better for the Honda driver on paper as Shedden would qualify 5th but start 4th for the first race of the day, Turkington in the BMW would post the fastest time in qualifying but due to his clash with Shedden’s Honda team-mate Matt Neal at Snetterton would have a penalty applied and start 8th.
Sam Tordoff in the 888 KX Momentum MG would start from pole ahead of Rob Austin’s Exocet racing Audi A4, a fully fit Andrew Jordan would start 3rd for Pirtek Racing in the Honda Civic while the pair of Yuasa works Tourers came next, Shedden ahead of Neal. Jason Plato in his 888 MG was next ahead of Matt Jackson in the Airwaves Racing Ford Focus with Turkington starting behind the Ford.
Rob Collard should have been next ahead of the 3rd Ebay BMW of Nick Foster however more penalties saw Collard start from the back of the grid.
Both Rob Austin and Matt Neal have opted to run the soft tyre in round one, should be interesting.
Lights out BTCC is go at Knockhill.
Lap 1 Tordoff leads Austin, Jordan and the rest, no dramas thorough the lap, everyone intact, grid order at the front.
Lap 2 Neal looks like he might be playing a team game here keeping Plato off the tail of Shedden, a train of cars beginning to form behind the Honda.
Lap 4 Shedden looking to capitalise on Turkington being down the order takes Jordan for third at the hairpin, Turkington however has moved into 8th.
Lap 5 Contact further down the order Hunter Abbot in the Alcosense Audi tags Fabrizio Giovanardi’s Airwaves Focus, both would appear to continue.
Lap 6 Turkington is now on the tail of Jackson.
Lap 7 Big moment between Robb Holland in the Rotek Racing Audi S3 and Dan Welch’s Welch Motorsport Proton, both drivers limp to the pits and retirement, Chris Stockton in the Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze escaped for his part in the incident.
Lap 9 Shedden and Jordan now set their sights on Austin and 2nd place, meanwhile Abbot has another off in his Audi.
Lap 10 Turkington makes a fantastic move on Matt Jackson to take 7th around the outside at the hairpin and now sets about Plato in 6th
Lap 11 Smoke is coming from the MG of Tordoff, just behind Austin and Shedden touch, Austin goes off across the grass and rejoins back behind Matt Neal in 5th place!
Lap 12 Jackson trying to capitalise on Sheddens moment with Austin but to no avail, just behind however Jackson is doing everything he can to try and repass Turkington. The smoke from the MG of Tordoff would appear to be a tyre rubbing. Behind the Turkington / Jackson battle Foster clips Glyn Geddie’s United Autosports Toyota Avensis into a spin at the hairpin.
Lap 13 Jackson (having repassed Turkington) now attacking the MG of Plato.
Lap 14 Jordan passes Shedden for 3rd, Shedden tries to fight back, contact! Shedden spins, collects Jordan, Shedden rejoins back behind Austin, Jordan rejoins briefly but his race is over with broken rear suspension!
Lap 15 Turkington and Jackson STILL battling behind Plato for what is now 6th side by side down the start / finish straight right behind the MG, this isn’t over yet!
The order now is Tordoff, Neal, Austin, Shedden, Plato, Turkington, Jackson, Foster, Marc Hynes in his Quantum Bifold MG and Adam Morgan in the Cicely Mercedes.
Lap 16 Plato is driving a very wide MG, Turrkington looks to go around the outside at the hairpin, he leads over the line but Plato has the racing line for the first corner, Plato is still ahead.
Lap 17 Turkington gets the run on the outside again and this time makes the move on Plato stick…
Lap 18 Or does he? Turkington runs wide on completeing the move and is tagged by Plato, Turkington spins into the gravel and into retirement. What will this do to the championship? Jackson passes Plato in the confusion.
Lap 19 Neal has caught and is challenging Tordoff and passes the MG with ease on approach to the hairpin. Safety car deployed in order to safely remove Turkingtons BMW.
Lap 20 The order now behind the Safety car is: Neal, Tordoff, Austin, Shedden, Jackson, Plato, Morgan, Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Toyota Avensis, Aron Smith’s Chrome Restart VW and Dave Newsham in the AMD Ford Focus is the top 10.
Lap 23 Tordoff pulls off the circuit! He rejoins, last, an electrical problem, terrible luck while in a great position.
Lap 23 Racing again green for 5 more laps.
Lap 25 Jackson battling hard with Shedden for 3rd, the safety car seems to have sucked the life out of the race.
Lap 27 Last lap, Austin looking racey as he fight sNeal for the lead but he’s too far back to make a serious challenge.
Flag Neal wins his first race of 2014 ahead of Austin, Shedden, Jackson, Plato, Morgan, Ingram, Smith, Newsham and Alain Menu taking 10th, Rob Collard from the back of the grid would finish 17th.
With no penalties this time out the grid lined up as race 1 ended, with Neal on Pole from Austin although both would be wearing the harder tyre this time, Jackson in 4th and Ingram in 7th had chosen to wear the soft tyre in race two, while at the back Tordoff starts 24th, Turkington 27th and Jordan 28th, Turkington is also on on the softer tyre.
Lights out and race 2 is go!
Lap 1 Great start from Austin who gets along side Neal, Austin has to take a small excursion across the grass at turn one, contact! On rejoining Shedden and Austin collide, Austin continues as does Shedden albeit at the very back of the pack, it is not a good day for the title challengers! In the confusion BMR team mates Warren Scott and Jack Goff collide. Safety car out again.
The order behind the safety car is: Neal, Jackson, Plato, Austin, Morgan, Newsham, Ingram, Foster, Smith and Collard, Turkington is up to 20th while Shedden is down in 24th.
Lap 3 Racing again at Knockhill. Drive through penalty for Matt Neal! This will put him right down the order.
Lap 4 Neal takes his penalty, Jackson leads now from Plato, Ingram passes Newsham for what now becomes 5th following Neals trip through the pits. Plato has a little damage on the back of his car.
Lap 7 Both Morgan and Ingram catching Austin for 3rd while Turkington is making great progress and is up to 13th, he is on the soft (right?) tyre.
Lap 9 Contact futher down the order, Hynes and Jack Clarke (Crabbies Racing Focus) tangle a few times allowing Glyn Geddie through while just behind Martin Depper’s Eurotech run Civic is seemingly hit by the recovering Matt Neal and hard into the barriers.
Lap 10 Yuasa Hondas playing the team game as they gang up on young Aiden Moffat in the Laser Tools Chevrolet Cruze, Neal pushing the youngster wide to allow both himself and team-mate Shedden through.
Lap 12 Collard has passed Smith for 7th, Giovanardi and Foster also looking to pass the VW, not too much else happening at the front Jackson still leads Plato and the rest.
Lap 15 Turkington has made his way up to the back of team-mate Foster and passes the BMW with ease (no real surprise there) the championship leader also goes on to pass the Focus of Giovanardi on the same lap, great display of driving from Turkington. Hynes leaves the track following contact with Jordan.
Lap 16 Turkington now up to 8th how far can he progress?
Lap 19 Collard has caught Ingram and makes his move at the hairpin, the move is completed as the pair start lap 20.
Lap 20 Ingram gets a feeling of Deja Vu as Turkington passes the Toyota at the hairpin.
Lap 23 Turkington passes team-mate Collard for 5th and quickly follows it up by taking Morgan for 4th, Collard follows suit and also passes the Mercedes.
Flag Jackson also takes his first win of 2014 – something thats been threatened for a few meetings now ahead of Plato, Austin, Turkington – from 27th on the grid, Collard, Morgan, Newsham, Giovanardi and Foster.
A full top 10 reversal put Nick Foster on the pole for race 3 with Giovanardi alongside him, Jordan just missed out of the top 10 and starts 11th while Shedden and Neal start 12th and 14th respectively, neither Proton nor Warren Scotts VW made the start of race, while Marc Hynes was sent to the back as a result of the Jordan clash in race 2.
Lap 1 Everyone away cleanly, Foster leads from Giovanardi, Collard (on the soft tyres) jumps Morgan and Ingram for 4th and all over Newsham’s Focus ahead, at the back of the pack Chris Stockton retires his Chevrolet Cruze.
Lap 2 Giovanardi looking for the lead from Foster, but Collard passes the Focus and moves to second! Giovandardi was not expecting that!
Lap 3 Giovanardi is dropping as Newsham passes the Italian at the hairpin and Ingram follows at the start of the following lap, Turkington is now all over the back of the Focus.
Lap 4 The order is Foster, Collard, Newsham, Ingram, Giovanardi, Turkington, Morgan, Austin, Plato and Jackson.
Lap 6 Turkington passes Giovanardi but in turn gets passed by Adam Morgan who jumps two places, great driving from the Mercedes driver!
Lap 7 Morgan having to defend against Turkington while up ahead Collard takes the lead from team-mate Foster, soft tyres the ones to run here it would seem!
Lap 8 Newsham and Ingram catching the BMWs in front, Turkington has passed Morgan for 5th and also catching the leaders.
Lap 9 Both Newsham and Ingram pass Foster for 2nd and 3rd place.
Lap 10 Giovanardi has dropped right back and now has contact with the Honda of Neal sending the Ford up on two wheels! A little further ahead Plato and Austin collide at the hairpin sending Plato down the order and Austin out into retirement with a crabbing A4.
Lap 11 Turkington has passed Foster for 4th.
Lap 12 Contact between Turkington and Ingram at the hairpin sees Foster almost retake Turkington.
Lap 13 Both the BMWs pass Ingram for 3rd and 4th
Lap 15 Ingram now passed by Morgan, Jordan and the recovering Shedden follow through.
Lap 17 Jordan and Shedden battling hard together for lower points, Ingram now has mirrors full of Alain Menu.
Lap 20 Turkington amd Foster all over the back of Newsham’s Focus for the podium position, Collard comfortable a few seconds up the road. Jordan and Shedden both manage a pass on Morgan while Menu passes Ingram for 8th.
Lap 22 Newsham is driving the race of his life keeping the BMWs behind him.
Flag A third first winner of 2014 as Collard wins from Newsham, Turkington, Foster, Jordan, Shedden, Morgan, Menu, Ingram and Jason Plato in 10th.
A great days racing, lots of controversy and the title challengers all having their own problems however Turkington still leads Shedden by 23 points with Plato a further 16 behind the Scot, Collard moves to 5th with his win but finds himself 89 points behind his team-mate.
So, are we now looking at a three-horse race for the championship?
Can the BMW / Turkington steamroller be halted? Can reigning champ Andrew Jordan overturn a 92 point deficit to win back to back titles? It won’t be decided at Rockingham but it should still be unmissable!