Adam Morgan aboard the WIX Racing Mercedes A-Class won a spectacular opening BTCC race at Thruxton after pushing his way through the action to become the first double winner of the 2016 season.

Race one started in a hectic way and that theme was kept throughout the shortened race. Initially the race looked to be going the way of pole sitter Ingram as they got off the line. A battle commenced with multiple drivers fighting for the slipstream into the first chicane.  This left Ingram alongside Matt Neal in his Honda Civic Type R and Aiden Moffat in the Mercedes A-Class. Three into one would never work, there was slight contact and this shuffled Ingram and Moffat down the order.

Josh Cook aboard the MG and Adam Morgan in the Mercedes made the most of the opportunity and managed to get up into second and third. Meanwhile, Ashley Sutton went off on lap two during a battle with Ingram.

Neal was leading the race from Cook followed by Morgan, Moffat and Ingram at the end of lap two. Positions were changing at most corners throughout the circuit. Adam Morgan managed to fight his way past Cook as the pair entered the final chicane, Cook was then demoted down the order after making a mistake.

Morgan chased down and was all over the rear of Neal’s Type R and made a spectacular move on the leader as they crossed the start finish line at the start of lap five. A mix of seven different cars fought for places in front of the crowded banks around the Hampshire circuit.

Aiden Moffat aboard his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes managed to make his way past Neal and was up into second after completing his recovery drive after being shuffled backwards. It was looking very likely to be the first ever Mercedes one-two in the BTCC but it just wasn’t meant to be. Moffat got a puncture from running second and ran wide on lap ten, dropping him right down the order as he was destined for the pit lane.

Mat Jackson in his Motorbase Ford Focus faced the same issue at the same time, although Jackson left debris all over the circuit after his blow out put bodywork from the Focus all over the circuit.

As the leading cars sped through Brooklands and up Woodham Hill it was Neal’s Honda to suffer a puncture. In an attempt to enter the pit lane, he clipped the rear of Josh Cook’s MG, this resulted in Cook spinning and collecting Shedden. Jeff Smith and Jake Hill were also caught up in the accident after having to take avoiding action.

Cars were littered all over the track on the start finish straight, officials made the choice to cut the race short by three laps and put out red flags to let drivers know to return to the pits. The official classification of the race was decided to be at the end of lap eleven, it left Morgan with the win ahead of Ingram after completing a superb recovery drive and Motorbase’s Andrew Jordan rounded out the podium finishers.

Eurotech Racing’s Jeff Smith was classified in fourth despite being caught up in the incident, meanwhile teammate Martin Depper scored a career best of fifth.

West Surrey Racing’s Rob Collard topped a BMW trio followed home by Sam Tordoff and Jack Goff. Collard took sixth, Tordoff took seventh and Goff finished eighth. Rob Collard was disappointed after qualifying in a low eighteenth place but proved his pace is there during the race to finish in sixth.

Dan Welch took ninth to score his first top ten finish since Silverstone back in 2013. Meanwhile, Jake Hill and Michael Epps were next in the order for Team Hard/RCIB Insurance Racing taking tenth and eleventh. Hill scored Team Hard’s first top ten result since Jack Goff got his podium in 2013 at the season finale. Epps finished in eleventh but most importantly took the Jack Sears Trophy honours for the opening race.

The finishing positions of the race is as follows:

  1. Adam Morgan ~ WIX Racing
  2. Tom Ingram ~ Speedworks Motorsport
  3. Andrew Jordan ~ Motorbase Performance
  4. Jeff Smith ~ Eurotech Racing
  5. Martin Depper ~ Eurotech Racing
  6. Rob Collard ~ Team JCT600 with GardX
  7. Sam Tordoff ~ Team JCT600 with GardX
  8. Jack Goff ~ Team IHG Rewards Club
  9. Daniel Welch ~ Goodstone Racing
  10. Jake Hill ~ RCIB Insurance Racing
  11. Michael Epps ~ RCIB Insurance Racing
  12. Daniel Lloyd ~ Eurotech Racing
  13. Matt Simpson ~ Speedworks Motorsport
  14. Rob Austin ~ Handy Motorsport
  15. Hunter Abbott ~ Power Maxed Racing
  16. Alex Martin ~ Dextra Racing
  17. Ollie Jackson ~ AMD
  18. Chris Smiley ~ TLC Racing
  19. Stewart Lines ~ Maximum Motorsport
  20. Aron Smith ~ Team BKR
  21. Mat Jackson ~ Motorbase Performance
  22. Aiden Moffat ~ Laser Tools Racing
  23. DNF ~ Gordon Shedden ~ Halfords Yuasa Racing
  24. DNF ~ Matt Neal ~ Halfords Yuasa Racing
  25. DNF ~ Josh Cook ~ MG Racing RCIB Insurance
  26. DNF ~ Mark Howard ~ Team BKR
  27. DNF ~ Ashley Sutton ~ MG Racing RCIB Insurance
  28. DNF ~ Kelvin Fletcher ~ Power Maxed Racing.

©Fay Tilley 12th May 2016.