Jordan, Turkington share the wins
Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan scored lights-to-flag victories in the opening two rounds of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch. The reigning champion didn’t have it all his own way, however, as the eBay Motors BMW of Colin Turkington took the honours in the final race.
Two podiums for MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Jason Plato and promising results for Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal on the debut of the Honda Civic Tourer mean just nine points separate five drivers after the opening weekend.
Starting from pole position in races one and two, Jordan fended off separate challenges in each from two former champions. Plato’s MG6 kept the Honda Civic honest in the season opener, whilst Shedden’s Tourer latched on to Jordan’s title-winning Pirtek car in the second contest. Despite growing pressure in each race, Jordan produced mature drives in both to take the wins and put himself in an early lead of the standings. Neal claimed the first ever BTCC podium for an ‘estate’ style car when he hauled his all-new machine to third place in race one, whilst Turkington made the rostrum in the next race with a hard-fought third place.
2009 champion Turkington enjoyed an even better end to the weekend when he passed his BMW team-mates Rob Collard and Nick Foster to a claim popular victory in the final contest. It was a BMW 1-2-3 off the line as the rear-wheel drive cars blasted their way down to Paddock Hill Bend for the first time in race three. Collard led from Foster initially but Turkington eventually put both to the sword with separate moves, the final being a clever manoeuvre through Clearways and down the Brabham Straight. Old adversaries Neal and Plato eventually hustled their respective Honda and MG machines past Turkington’s two team-mates to complete the podium positions, ending an exciting opening day of the tin top season. Plato set the fastest lap of the race along the way, but couldn’t quite manage to pass Neal’s Honda.
Further down the order there were contrasting results for the two returning champions in Alain Menu and Fabrizio Giovanardi. The Swiss closed out the event on a real high as he piloted his VW CC from 16th on the grid to take fifth at the finish. Menu benefitted late on in the contest by being on the standard compound Dunlop tyre whilst most of his rivals were on the faster-degrading soft rubber. Giovanardi could only manage a weekend’s best of ninth place on his debut for the Airwaves Racing Ford Focus team.
BTCC now rolls on to Donington Park where the next three rounds take place over the Easter weekend (19/20 April).