For the penultimate race meeting of the season the championship headed to Silverstone, the home of British Motorsport at the end of September.
During Saturday’s qualifying session Mat Jackson took pole position in his Motorbase run Ford Focus followed by Gordon Shedden in his factory backed Honda Civic Type R. Third in the qualifying session was Sam Tordoff in his West Surrey Racing run BMW, fourth went to Andrew Jordan in his factory backed MG6. Fifth went to Dave Newsham in his Power Maxed Racing run Chevrolet Cruze. Sixth on the live timing screens was Colin Turkington in his Team BMR run Volkswagen CC, seventh went to Tom Ingram in his Speedworks Motorsport run Toyota Avensis and eighth went to Aron Smith in the second of the Volkswagen CC’s run by Team BMR. Ninth went to Jack Goff in the second of the factory backed MG’s run by Triple Eight Racing and rounding out the top ten qualifiers was Jason Plato in the third of the Team BMR run Volkswagen CC’s.
With Mat Jackson starting from pole for race one, Shedden’s aim would be to beat the Focus to the first corner. This plan didn’t work and Jackson got to Copse first, Shedden followed but not as close as he’d like to have been as he was having to fend off Sam Tordoff in his BMW. This was a huge relief to Jackson as he was able to take his lines and save his tyres from degrading too fast whilst also breaking the tow between himself and Shedden. Jackson was 1.2 seconds ahead at the end of the opening lap. Tordoff’s battle with Shedden didn’t last long as when they entered Becketts the BMW driver ran wide and dropped himself back to fourth. The wide moment promoted Andrew Jordan to get past Shedden and Tordoff at the same time and he was able to set off hunting Jackson down. Over the later part of the race Jordan had to defend from Shedden as he began closing up on the MG. Mid-race Tordoff began plummeting down the field due to his tyres beginning to go off. Dave Newsham was one of a few drivers to profit from Tordoff’s bad luck giving Newsham his season best finish of fourth. Over the later stages of the busy race he came under threat from Colin Turkington and Aron Smith, who were both reeled in by Rob Collard’s BMW. The main name missing out of the top ten drivers at the flag was Jason Plato, he had started the race from 10th place. From the beginning of the race Plato knew his car was down on power. Throughout the race he was losing two car lengths down the straight to any other car. With one lap of the race to go he also picked up a puncture, this resulted in him going through the gravel trap at Luffield and parking the car up before the flag.
Mat Jackson took the win in his Motorbase prepared Ford Focus followed across the line by Andrew Jordan in his Pirtek backed MG6 with Gordon Shedden on his tail in his Honda Yuasa Racing prepared Honda Civic Type R. Fourth across the line was Dave Newsham in his Coffee Drops backed Chevrolet Cruze, fifth went the way of Colin Turkington in his Team BMR Volkswagen CC. Sixth went to his teammate Aron Smith followed across the line by Rob Collard in his Garde X Protection sponsored BMW in seventh. Eighth went to Matt Neal in the second Honda Civic Type R run by Honda Yuasa Racing. Ninth went the way of Tom Ingram in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis and rounding out the top ten finishers was Sam Tordoff, who was previously running in third before his wide moment and tyres began degrading too fast on his BMW.
For race two, once again it was Mat Jackson on pole position with Jack Goff alongside. Third on the grid was Andy Priaulx, fourth was Aron Smith and fifth was Andrew Jordan. Sixth on the grid was Gordon Shedden, lining up seventh on the grid was James Cole and eighth was Colin Turkington. Ninth on the grid was Sam Tordoff and rounding out the top ten starters was Matt Neal.
During the break between race one and two Jason Plato had an engine change due to loss of power during race one. Jackson got a good start off the line and Priaulx jumped into second off the line. On lap eight Priaulx got the run on Jackson who then had a slide causing Priaulx to have to dive to the left and drive round the outside of the Focus to prevent hitting the rear of the Focus whilst making the pass for the lead of the race. On lap 15 Jackson’s front left tyre exploded, so he was forced to pull into the pit lane to get a new tyre put on the car. This left Priaulx clear in the lead as Goff had a busy time fending off Aron Smith. With two laps to go Goff received an almighty hit to the rear of his MG6 from Aron Smith in his Volkswagen CC, after the race Smith apologized and explained he had suffered a slide which meant that he could not have prevented the contact happening. On the last lap of the race Jordan suffered a puncture which caused his front left tyre to explode causing him to run wide and then limping it round to cross the line. When he crossed the line he took 19th place after running in the top 10 during the majority of the race.
Andy Priaulx took the win followed by Jack Goff in second and rounding out the podium in third was Aron Smith. Fourth place was taken by Gordon Shedden, fifth went to Matt Neal and sixth went to Sam Tordoff. Seventh across the line was Jason Plato, eighth was Colin Turkington and ninth was Rob Collard. Rounding out the top ten finishers of the second encounter was James Cole.
For the third and final encounter of the race weekend James Cole was promoted up onto pole position with Rob Collard alongside for company in second. Third on the grid was Colin Turkington with Jason Plato starting alongside in fourth. Next up on the grid in was Sam Tordoff in fifth with Matt Neal alongside in sixth. Seventh on the grid was Gordon Shedden with Aron Smith next to him in eighth. Jack Goff started the third race from ninth with previous race winner Andy Priaulx alongside. Nobody knew what to expect from this race.
Most people were expecting Rob Collard to get his trademark perfect start and jump ahead into the lead. He did exactly that and was straight in the lead of the race, when Cole slid wide at Becketts on the opening lap Turkington took advantage and darted past. Tordoff followed Turkington to also get past Cole at the same time. Another lap later Turkington lunged up the inside of Collard to take over the lead of the race. Hunter Abbott and Dan Welch had a coming together in the beginning of the race which brought out a safety car to allow the marshals to clean up the mess and move the stricken cars to safer places. After 18 laps of the race Collard let Tordoff get past because he knew Tordoff had more pace and would be more likely to catch the Volkswagen CC of Turkington in the lead of the race. After Tordoff had attempted reeling in Turkington and not being able to he gave Collard back the place as it was fair to in his eyes. There were a lot of place swapping moves going on throughout the race, showing just how competitive each driver can be.
Colin Turkington took the victory in his Team BMR run Volkswagen CC followed by Rob Collard in his Garde X Protection backed BMW with his teammate Sam Tordoff, also sponsored by Garde X Protection, close behind in third. Fourth place went to Jason Plato in the second of the Team BMR run Volkswagen CC’s and fifth went to Gordon Shedden in the first of the Honda Yuasa Racing run Honda Civic Type R’s. In sixth was the second of the Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Type R’s in the hands of Matt Neal. Seventh went to Mat Jackson in his Motorbase run Ford Focus and eighth went to Adam Morgan in his Ciceley run Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Ninth went to James Cole in the second of the Motorbase run Ford Focuses. Rounding out the top ten finishers was Aiden Moffat in his Laser Tools Racing run Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
As the teams and drivers vacated the Northamptonshire circuit Gordon Shedden was in the lead of the overall Driver’s Championship by 23 points from Jason Plato. Colin Turkington was leading the Independents Trophy by 26 points ahead of Jason Plato and Josh Cook was leading the Jack Sears Trophy by 160 points from Stewart Lines.
© Fay Tilley 14th February 2016