Plato, Tordoff and Shedden share wins
Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff shared the wins in the opening two races as the MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save squad showed its hand at Donington Park, before Gordon Shedden scored the first ever win for the Honda Civic Tourer in a frenetic finale.
Two-time champion Plato took a phenomenal pole position on Saturday, shaving more than six tenths of a second off the previous lap record, and he duly delivered in the opening race. Young gun Tordoff passed the eBay Motors BMW of Colin Turkington to move into second early on before setting about attacking Plato ahead. There were clearly no team orders in play at the Triple Eight-run outfit as Tordoff hassled and harried his experienced team-mate until the chequered flag. Reigning champion Andrew Jordan claimed third for Pirtek Racing.
It was a role reversal in race two with Tordoff jumping Plato as the 31-cars roared into Redgate corner for the first time. Whilst the front two remained in command of the contest there was complete bedlam behind as two separate incidents had the huge crowd holding its collective breath. BTCC legend Alain Menu, who has returned to the series in 2014 after 13 years away, endured a quite frightening moment on the opening lap. Minor contact with another car left the Swiss driver’s VW out of control at high speed and spinning wildly across the damp grass. The rollercoaster ride didn’t stop there, as his car speared back across the race track with a gaggle of cars approaching. Thankfully everyone was able to take immediate avoiding action and Menu’s car eventually came to rest in the gravel trap. The drama continued after a safety car period when American racer Robb Holland and young Brit James Cole heavily damaged their cars in another spectacular shunt. Both cars made contact on the approach to Craners in avoidance of another spinning car before simultaneously being fired into the barrier, bringing a premature end to their respective day’s racing. Back up at the front and Tordoff held on from Plato by just over a second, with Honda Yuasa Racing’s Shedden completing the podium.
Things would get even better for Scotsman Shedden when he won the final race of the weekend after a sensational last corner pass on Turkington. With tussling taking place throughout the order it had seemed as though Turkington was home and dry after scampering clear in the early stages. Shedden initially made steady progress from fourth on the grid, but after disposing of team-mate Matt Neal and Plato’s MG6 he began to reel in the BMW ahead of him at a phenomenal rate. As the duo began the final lap they were nose-to-tail with Turkington in full defensive mode. They went side-by-side on a number of occasions in the first half of the tour before doing so again on the approach to the final chicane. Both were seemingly late on the brakes and the two machines ran off the circuit, with Shedden returning to the tarmac first to cross the line ahead of the Ulsterman.
Fabrizio Giovanardi received a post-race 30 second time penalty in race three for two separate incidents. He was judged to have exceeded track limits and was also penalised for causing a collision with Aron Smith. Tom Ingram was excluded from the race three result for causing a collision with Rob Austin.
Jordan and Plato now top the drivers’ standings with Shedden just a point further back. Turkington is four points off the championship summit. BTCC now moves on to Thruxton over the weekend of 3-4 May.