Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram, Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden and BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan each took a win during the opening race weekend of the championship at Brands Hatch on Sunday 2nd April.

It was Eurotech Racing’s Jeff Smith who managed to secure pole position in a mixed weather conditions qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately he was unable to hang on to the lead when the lights went out at the start. Tom Ingram also started on the front row and off the start he made his move for the lead before the field reached Paddock Hill. Ingram drove round the outside of Smith, contact further back took out former champions Matt Neal and Colin Turkington. Neal moved across to defend against the charging BMW off the line but unfortunately contact occurred as both moved across the track towards one another. Both the cars were forced into retirement with damage, bringing out the first safety car of the new season.

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Photo Credit; Tilley Photography

Jeff Smith went into being immediately defensive when the race was restarted but was unable to keep Shedden behind. The current champion made a fantastic move as they headed into Graham Hill Bend on lap six of the race. Adam Morgan took his opportunity to follow Shedden through. The top three were now Ingram, Shedden and Morgan – this order remained unchanged until the chequered flag. Ingram drove well to repeat his performance from 2016 with the win during the opening race of the weekend and season.

Shedden took the win in a hectic second race of the weekend after multiple incidents disrupted the race. The organisers aborted the start to begin with due to a problem for the pole sitter – Tom Ingram, followed by an accident at the start of the race. Jason Plato’s Subaru ended up in the pit wall off the start line of the race after contact. The heavy contact left him stranded on the track in a dangerous place, forcing organisers to red flag the race. Eventually when the race was restarted Ingram initially led ahead of Shedden. The ballast filled Toyota Avensis was unable to stay in the lead as Shedden dived past at Paddock Hill Bend on lap two. The Scot looked to be under no pressure leading the pack. Rob Collard pushed his BMW onto the rear of Ingram and managed to pass as they headed through Paddock Hill Bend on lap twenty. There was not enough time left of the race for Collard to catch and pass Shedden.

Andrew Jordan completed the debut BMW had dreamed of on their return to the pinnacle of British Motorsport by taking the win in the final race of the opening weekend. Jordan switched from Ford to BMW at the end of 2016, he got a great start off the line and also held off a late charge from stablemate Colin Turkington to take the final win. Turkington and Jordan touched ever so slightly on the final lap but Jordan held on to take the historic win for the manufacturer returning to the championship.

Tom Chilton took a well deserved podium to mark Vauxhall’s return to the championship, finishing the race in third. Jordan dashed from third on the grid to first by the time they reached Paddock Hill Bend on lap one. Mat Jackson tried to follow through but ran side by side with Chilton before running out of room and into the gravel. Chilton sat in second and maintained it whilst front row starter Josh Cook was shuffled down the pack. Turkington jumped from tenth to third by half way through the race and began closing on Chilton. Chilton had no option but to give up the place on lap seventeen. Turkington the set off after Jordan but was unable to get past the 2013 champion. the podium was filled by Jordan, Turkington and Chilton.

Matt Neal finished the race in fourth ahead of Adam Morgan. Rob Collard finished in sixth ahead of reigning champion Shedden in seventh. Eurotech’s Jack Goff finish the race in eighth. One driver certainly impressing everyone was Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing’s Michael Epps who took three top ten finishes throughout the three races. Tag Racing’s Jake Hill finished in tenth.

Another standout results was a fifth place finish for Rob Austin in race one, although the rapid racer had an up and down day after being excluded from race two for making contact with Andrew Jordan after overtaking under yellow flags.

As the dust settled over the Kent based circuit Shedden leads the Drivers’ championship standings with just six points separating him from Ingram in second. Andrew Jordan sits in third with seven point separating him and Shedden. Morgan currently sits in fourth after taking three top five finishes. Rob Collard is fifth in the drivers’ championship standings.

Adam Morgan and the Ciceley Motorsport team left Brands Hatch in the lead of the Independent Drivers’ and Teams’ championships.

BMW and Halfords Yuasa Racing are currently at the top of the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ championship standings with Vauxhall’s newbie to the championship Senna Proctor holding the advantage in the Jack Sears Championship.

The next round of the British Touring Car Championship takes place at Donington Park, located in Derbyshire on the 15th/16th April.

The top ten finishers from the opening race of the weekend are;

  1. Tom Inrgam
  2. Gordon Shedden
  3. Adam Morgan
  4. Jack Goff
  5. Rob Austin
  6. Andrew Jordan
  7. Rob Collard
  8. Mat Jackson
  9. Michael Epps
  10. Tom Chilton

 

The top ten finishers from race two of the weekend are;

  1. Gordon Shedden
  2. Rob Collard
  3. Tom Ingram
  4. Adam Morgan
  5. Mat Jackson
  6. Andrew Jordan
  7. Josh Cook
  8. Tom Chilton
  9. Colin Turkington
  10. Michael Epps

 

The top ten from the third and final race of the weekend are;

  1. Andrew Jordan
  2. Colin Turkington
  3. Tom Chilton
  4. Matt Neal
  5. Adam Morgan
  6. Rob Collard
  7. Gordon Shedden
  8. Jack Goff
  9. Michael Epps
  10. Jake Hill

After the race weekend had concluded there were a variety of penalties handed out. From race one Josh Cook, Chris Smiley, Ashley Sutton, Jack Goff, Rob Collard and Michael Epps received a verbal warning for gaining an unfair advantage after contact with other competitors.

From race two Rob Austin was excluded from the race and was given four penalty points for driving in a manner that is incompatible with general safety or departing from the standard of a reasonably competent driver during an incident involving Andrew Jordan.

From race three Jeff Smith was handed a verbal warning after gaining an unfair advantage during an incident involving Luke Davenport. Ashley Sutton was officially reprimanded and was handed two penalty points for driving in a manner incompatible with general safety or departing from the standard of a reasonably competent driver during an incident involving Jeff Smith.

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