The eighth race meeting of the season took place at Rockingham, located in Corby in Northamptonshire. This race weekend saw Nick Foster step in for Andy Priaulx.
During the qualifying session Mat Jackson took pole position in his Motorbase Ford Focus followed by Aron Smith in his Team BMR Volkswagen CC in second. Third place was Gordon Shedden in the first of the Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R’s, fourth was Jack Goff in his Triple Eight Racing MG6 and fifth went to Tom Ingram in his Speedworks prepared Toyota Avensis. Sixth was Jason Plato in his Team BMR Volkswagen CC, seventh was Matt Neal in the second Team Dynamics prepared Honda Civic Type R’s and eighth went the way of Aiden Moffat in his Laser Tools sponsored Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Ninth went to Colin Turkington in the third of the Team BMR Volkswagen CC’s and rounding out the top ten of the qualifiers was Andrew Jordan in his Pirtek sponsored MG6.
Mat Jackson got a brilliant start off the line and got a good lead going, half way through he began backing off because he could smell burning rubber. As he crossed the line his front right tyre deflated. Shedden started in seventh on the grid, by the end of the first lap he was up to fourth place. Shedden kept fighting and managed to pass Jack Goff and Aron Smith later in the race to claim second. Aron Smith had to defend from Jack Goff as the pair had a very close race. Tom Ingram started on the second row of the grid but got a bad start and dropped back to seventh, he made a superb move on Josh Cook to jump up to sixth. Andrew Jordan also managed to pass Cook as his tyres were degrading too fast. There was more drama throughout the race as Cook lunged down the inside of Ingram which tipped him into Plato. The contact from Ingram forced Plato to pit as it had broken a rear toe link. After a speedy repair performed by Team BMR Plato rejoined the circuit to go on and set the 12th fastest lap for race two.
Mat Jackson won the opening encounter of the weekend followed by Gordon Shedden in second and rounding out the podium was Aron Smith. Fourth place went to Jack Goff followed by Tom Ingram in fifth and Andrew Jordan in sixth. Seventh went to Colin Turkington and Matt Neal finished eighth after a last lap puncture dropped him down the order. Ninth went to Adam Morgan and Sam Tordoff rounded out the top ten finishers.
Race two was set by the fastest laps set in race one, this saw Gordon Shedden grab pole with Adam Morgan alongside. Third on the grid was Mat Jackson with Jack Goff alongside for company. Fifth was Jeff Smith with Colin Turkington alongside in sixth, seventh was Rob Austin followed by Matt Neal in eighth. Ninth was Hunter Abbott and rounding out the top ten on the grid was Aron Smith.
At the start of the second encounter Shedden launched off the line to lead the race, by the end of lap four he had a 2 second lead. Mat Jackson was being super cautious with his tyres after his earlier scare. Goff was on the dreaded soft dunlops, by lap nine his tyres were going off and he began dropping back. Cook fought up from fourteenth to ninth by the end of lap one. He continued to pick his way through the pack until he reached Goff. On lap nine he got past the troubled MG in fourth and set off chasing down the top three. Cook pulled off a stunning move to pass Adam Morgan and steal his maiden podium finish.
Gordon Shedden took the win in his Honda Civic Type R followed by Mat Jackson in his Ford Focus in second place and for the first time in his BTCC career Josh Cook rounded out the podium in third place in his Chevrolet Cruz. Fourth place went to Adam Morgan in his Mercedes-Benz A-Class, fifth went to Matt Neal in the second of the Honda Civic Type R’s and sixth went to Rob Austin in his Audi A4. Seventh went to Jason Plato in his Volkswagen CC, eighth went the way of Colin Turkington in the second Volkswagen CC. Ninth went to Jack Goff in his MG6 and rounding out the top ten finishers was Tom Ingram in his Toyota Avensis.
The third encounter of the weekend was the reversed grid race. This saw Tom Ingram promoted onto pole position with Jack Goff alongside in second, third was Colin Turkington followed by teammate Jason Plato in fourth. Fifth on the grid was Rob Austin, sixth was Matt Neal, seventh was Adam Morgan and eighth was Josh Cook. Ninth was Mat Jackson and Gordon Shedden rounded out the top ten starters.
Ingram got away and began leading the race with Plato closing in behind him. On lap ten Plato squeezed up the inside on Ingram as they entered the Deene Hairpin. Ingram was determined not to give in that easily and powered up and exited the corner side by side with Plato and managed to get back ahead as the cars got to Yentwood. Two laps later Plato dived up the inside at Deene, Ingram tried to defend but was powerless and couldn’t fend off Plato. Later on during that lap Ingram got a superb run out of Pif-Paf and tightened his apex which put him on the inside of Plato for the triple apex left hander at the far end of the circuit. Ingram inched alongside and managed to get the move done to regain the lead of the race on the entry to Gracelands, the crowd were all on their feet in the grandstands as they watched Ingram complete the move. On lap fourteen Plato dived up the inside of Ingram at Deene for the third time during the race. This time it forced Ingram wide, which meant the move stuck.
Jason Plato took the victory in his Team BMR Volkswagen CC followed closely by Tom Ingram in his Speedworks prepared Toyota Avensis. Third place went to Colin Turkington, fourth was Matt Neal and fifth went to Sam Tordoff. Sixth went the way of Aron Smith, seventh went to Rob Austin and eighth went to Gordon Shedden. Ninth was Andrew Jordan and rounding out the top ten finishers was Josh Cook.
As the trucks left the Corby based circuit Gordon Shedden was in the lead of the Overall Driver’s Championship by 6 points from Jason Plato. Colin Turkington was leading the Independent’s Trophy by 10 points from Jason Plato and Josh Cook was still leading the Jack Sears Trophy by 138 points from Stewart Lines.
© Fay Tilley 14th February 2016