The BTCC made it’s way to Rockingham for rounds 22,23 and 24 of the 2014 season with Colin Turkington’s Ebay Motors squad very much the team in form.
It was the MG’s of 888 KX Racing that would draw first blood with Sam Tordoff and Jason Plato both taking honours in the free practice sessions.
Tordoff would take his 2nd consecutive pole position but Turkington’s BMW would split the MG duo with Plato – having not received any penalty for his part in the incident that saw Rob Austin retire from the final race at Knockhill.
The Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourerof Gordon Shedden headed reining champion Andrew Jordan in his Pirtek Racing conventional Civic.
Adam Morgan’s Wix Racing A class Mercedes lined up in front of two soft shod cars in Marc Hynes in the Quantum Bifold MG and Alain Menu in his Chrome Edition Restart Racing VW.
Matt Neal in the second Civic Tourer and Mat Jackson in the Airwaves Racing Ford Focus rounded out the top 10 positions on the grid.
Great start by Turkington who breezes past the MG of Tordoff and leads into turn 1 no dramas through the first few corners although Jack Clarke spins his Crabbies Racing Ford Focus at Chapman before rejoining.
Lap 2 Tordoff tries to take Turkington at the Hairpin but Turkington has the inside and holds his position.
Lap 3 Collision between Chris Stockton in the Power Maxed Chevrolet and one of the United Autosports Toyota Avensis. Shedden is hassling Plato for 3rd with Morgan ready to pounce if he’s given a chance.
Lap 4 Big moment for Shedden and Morgan passes the former champ.
Lap 5 Aron Smith takes a trip through the pits following contact with Matt Neal. Huge impact at the hairpin, Lea Wood’s Houseman Racing Toyota gets sideways and collects the Chrome Edition VW of Warren Scott, both drivers thankfully ok, not so much can be said for the cars however.
Safety car deployed.
Lap 6 The order behind the safety car is: Turkington, Tordoff, Plato, Morgan, Jordan, Shedden, Hynes, Jackson, Fabrizio Giovanardi and Alain Menu.
Lap 8 Racing again for 18 laps now, everyone through safely with no change at the front.
Lap 9 Menu passes both Airwaves Focuses in one move at the Tarzan hairpin, great driving by the Swiss on his first visit to Rockingham!
Lap 10 Menu now past Hynes, Simon Belcher in the Handy Motorsports Toyota Avensis pits for a new tyre.
Lap 12 Menu is now battling Shedden for 6th while just behind Giovanardi is side by side with Hynes, Jackson takes the initiative and passes his team mate while up ahead Menu makes the move on Shedden.
Lap 13 Hynes is dropping back now passed by the Ebay Motors BMW of Rob Collard and the Chrome Restart VW of Jack Goff. Slight Contact with the Exocet Racing Audi of Rob Austin, Matt Neal,having a bad time of it lately gets pushed out wide in the confusion and is passed by Austin and Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Toyota.
Lap 15 It’s getting a bit stretched at the front of the pack, still Turkington from the two MGs, Giovnardi takes 6th from Shedden.
Lap 16 Menu passes Jordan for 5th as the pair start the lap and begins chasing down Morgan.
Lap 17 Menu gains another position at Tarzan as he passes Morgan for 4th.
Lap 18 Huge battle for small points, Goff, Collard, Austin and now Ingram all fighting for position.
Flag Turkington takes a fairly unchallenged race win ahead of Tordoff, Plato, Menu, Morgan Jordan, Giovanardi, Shedden,Jackson, Goff, Collard, Austin,Ingram,Hunter Abbot – from the back of the grid in the Alcosense Audi and Nick Foster taking the final point for Ebay Motors.
With no drama or controversy to report, race 2 would line up as race 1 ended, less the unfortunate Lea Wood and Warren Scott following their collision as both cars were not ready for the start. Andrew Jordan had chosen to run the soft tyre in this race.
Turkington makes another fantastic start to lead into the hairpin, Menu passes Tordoff for 3rd as Jordan gets shuffled back. Further back Stockton is in the wars again this time along with the (other) Chevrolet Cruze of Lazer Racing’s Aiden Moffat.
Lap 2 Tordoff passes Menu for third.
Lap 3 Jackson and Giovanardi get very close battling for position, Collard looks to pounce should the chance occur.
Lap 6 Big battle developing for 9th as Morgan Shedden and Collard who has dropped back a little, Jordan is looking for a way around Giovanardi but to no avail, Austin stalks the pair of them.
Lap 7 Morgan very slow, the Mercedes has a terminal problem, Morgan parks the A Class on the inside of turn 1,no need for a safety car this time.
Lap 8 Menu being reeled in by both Jordan and Jackson, this could get interesting, Jordan remember on the soft tyres this time.
Lap 9 Again, it’s a very quite race at the front, Turkington leading from the two MGs, Jordan passes Jackson for 5th at the Tarzan hairpin.
Lap 10 Brilliant racing further down the order between the Toyota of Simon Belcher and Robb Holland’s Rotek Racing Audi S3, side by side, good, hard, fast and clean racing. That’s what we like!
Lap 11 Jordan makes up another place at his favourite corner Tarzan,this time taking 4th from Menu.
Lap 12 Huge battle for 14th with Ingram holding up the Civics of Matt Neal and Martin Depper.
Lap 14 Collard and Giovanardi side by side through the chicane at the end of the lap, that could have ended in tears, both drivers able to continue unmarked.
Lap 15 Ingram gets it all wrong at Tarzan and locks up collecting the BMW of Nick Foster sending both to the pits and retirement. Austin passes Jackson 6th.
Lap 16 Turkington takes his second unchallenged win f the day from Plato, Tordoff, Jordan,Austin (who passes Menu on the final lap) Menu, Jackson, Shedden, Collard and Hunter Abbot the top 10.
Menu’s “gamble” pays off and the Swiss will start race 3 from the pole position from Rob Austin, Jordan, Tordoff, Plato, Turkington and the rest, Nick Foster and Lea Wood would be missing from the grid however Warren Scott does take the start following the race 1 damage.
Great start from Austin who gets the jump on Menu to lead into turn 1, Turkington, for the third time today gets the jump on the MGs.
Carnage further around the lap as contact ends the races of Hynes, Shedden and Abbot. Adam Morgan and Chris Stockton also head for the pits at the end of the lap.
Lap 2 Warren Scott and James Cole also take to the pits, not enough time to get cars fixed today it would seem.
Lap 4 No change at the front but Jordan having to defend hard from the charging Turkington.
Lap 5 Giovanardi passes Tordoff for 8th place the order is Austin, Menu, Jordan, Turkington, Jackson, Plato, Collard, Giovanrdi, Tordoff and Goff top 10.
Lap 6 It’s all a bit quiet at the front, at this stage of the season no one wants to risk the loss of points.
Lap 7 A train developing behind Jordan, it’s almost as if something is slowly brewing.
Lap 9 Austin pulling away slowly from Menu while Jordan slowly closes on the VW.
Lap 10 Aiden Moffatt retires his Chevrolet with what would look like an engine faliure.
Lap 11 Matt Neal who, has had a terrible weekend by his standards passes Jack Goff at Tarzan hairpin.
Lap 12 Action down the grid as Glynn Geddie passes Depper for 15th, at the front though it’s a slow burner.
Lap 13 Collard passes Plato for 6th.
Lap 14 Giovanardi off at Chapmans, contact? Goff was close to the Italian.
Lap 15 Geddie retires his United Autosport Toyota.
Lap 16 Jack Goff retires at the hairpin but, as it was last year Rob Austin takes the win at Rockingham, albeit 1 race later in the day from Menu, Jordan, Turkington, Jackson, Collard, Plato, Tordoff, Neal, Newsham, Ingram, Smith, Clarke and Holland the point scorers!
Race 3 not the sort of race 3 we are used to but a popular victory none the less. In the championship can anyone catch Turkington? we’ll have to wait to Silverstone to see!