BTCC race report: Silverstone

A good day for all five championship contenders means the British Touring Car Championship will go down to the wire on the Brands Hatch GP circuit a fortnight from now.

Jason Plato took his 79th and 80th wins in the series in a good day for the MG6s at Silverstone yesterday, and a win in the third and last race of the day for defending champion Gordon Sheddon kept him in the chase en route to securing the manufacturer’s title for Honda.

Andrew Jordan’s independently run Civic however will start the final rounds at Brands with a commanding lead still (a win and a third in points terms) after another day there-or-thereabouts as he’s been all season, logging the points with a sixth, a second and a fifth place and making life very hard indeed for Jason Plato in race two.

The MG6s of Plato and Sam Tordoff picked up where they left off at Rockingham, with a one-two in qualifying which Tordoff seemed determined to turn in a two-one at the first corner, just about taking his team-mate out with a lurid slide and leaving the way open for Colin Turkington’s BMW 125i.

Turkington’s little BMW was one of the stars of the day, making flying start after flying start to score a fourth and a fifth before his rear suspension collapsed in the final race of the day leaving him in the gravel. He’ll start the final three races at Brands 48 points adrift of Jordan, just one ahead of Plato. He’d come to Silverstone looking like the man-most-likely to beat Jordan to the title.

In race two, Plato had to work for his landmark win, struggling not only with ballast from his first win of the day, but also the hard starting Turkington and once again team mate Sam Tordoff. But the star of the second race was Jordan who had opted to start on the softer tyres. Helped by the second safety car in two races (and there would be another in race three), Jordan made his way past Matt Neal, Turkington and Tordoff to close down Plato. Classic BTCC stuff followed as the two ripped the stickers off each other’s cars before Plato was able to fully regain control and take the win.

Gordon Sheddon’s drive from seventh to victory in race three (like team-mate Matt Neal’s driven from ninth to third in race one) was one of the highlights of the day and means he goes to Brands just one point behind Neal and thirty five points behind Jordan. On the basis of yesterday, the driver’s championship could just go down to the last race, further proof, as if anyone at Silverstone or watching on ITV needed, that the BTCC formula is working better than it has since the 1990s. Next year don’t forget, Mercedes and Renault are joining the fray.

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