L&T Motorsport

BTCC: Thruxton Round Up

Tom Ingram leads the series by 18 points
(Photo from: www.twitter.com/AdamGuthrie65)

Tom Ingram continues to lead the 2017 British Touring Car Championship standings after Rounds 7, 8 and 9 and Thruxton on Sunday. The Speedworks Toyota driver continued his fine start to the season with a fourth, third and second in the three races and finds himself 18 points clear of second placed and reigning Champion, Gordon Shedden.

It was a track that was expected to suit Honda after they dominated the test day previously and this was proven in qualifying as Matt Neal scored his first pole in five years and lead a Honda 1-2-3.

This form was carried over into the first race of the day which saw Matt Neal become the sixth different winner in seven races as he held on from his teammate Shedden and the Eurotech Honda of Jack Goff.

It was not easy for the Honda trio however as the likes of Tom Ingram and Rob Austin were close behind early in the race, with the order at the end of the first lap being Neal from Shedden and Goff followed by Ingram, Austin, Morgan, Sutton, Turkington, Jackson and the other Eurotech Honda of Jeff Smith rounding out the top 10.

All the action was not at the front though as on lap 3 Josh Cook and Jake Hill came together at the end of the complex forcing both to retire. A visibly angry Jake Hill tried to confront Cook, before the marshals dragged him away from the stricken Ford Focus.

Back to the front and as Neal pulled away from the rest, Austin started to fall into the clutches of those behind him and on lap five Adam Morgan made his move, elevating himself into fifth. Two laps later and Austin was losing more places, this time to Ashley Sutton who overtook the Toyota at Noble.

The battling continued behind as Mat Jackson took Turkington for eighth though one lap later, Turkington was back in front of the Ford. As Jackson jostled with Austin, Turkington took full advantage of the pair holding each other up, overtaking them both, and moving into seventh.

This is how the front stayed until the end with Matt Neal winning ahead of Shedden, Goff, Ingram, Morgan, Sutton, Turkington, Jackson, Austin and Rob Collard rounding out the top 10.

Race 2 and with the order determined by the Race 1 finishing order it was Matt Neal who lead them away. However the race was quickly stopped as Daniel Lloyd suffered a huge accident at Church after being tipped into a spin. Thankfully Lloyd was unharmed in the crash however the action was stopped for just under an hour while the barriers had to repaired.

The grid was set up in the order that the cars were in meaning that behind the Honda duo Jack Goff started third with Ashley Sutton alongside. The third row saw Ingram joined by Collard, with Morgan, Turkington, Austin and Moffat completing the top 10. Due to the delays the race was shortened to 10 laps.

As the lights went out for a second time it was Collard who got the best start as he was up to third by the first corner and almost split the Honda duo into the complex. He continued to harass Shedden for throughout the opening lap and at the Chicane he made his move, up the inside for second. Jack Goff also pulled a fantastic move to make it three wide into the braking zone a move which he took third, though this lasted no longer than two corners.

It looked as though no one was going to catch Neal as he already had a healthy advantage over his rivals though at the end of the second lap, he suddenly slowed and pulled into the pits. It later transpired that his power steering had failed and once the car had reset he was able to continue, though this dropped him to 30th and effective last.

With Collard leading the action was all occurring behind the BMW driver as at the beginning of lap 4, Ingram made his way into the podium places, overtaking Goff into Allard and setting his sights on second placed Shedden.

By lap 6 the trio were all together for the lead however this battle was cut short as Martin Depper crashed heavily at Goodwood resulting in a second Red Flag and a race result. It meant that there was another new winner for 2017 in Rob Collard who was followed by Shedden and Ingram. Behind the podium places saw Goff, Austin, Turkington, Morgan, Sutton, Moffat and Jeff Smith.

Onto Race 3 and with the top 6 reversed Colin Turkington found himself on pole with Rob Austin second and Jack Goff third. However sadly for Martin Depper and Daniel Lloyd due to their accidents in the second race neither of them were able to take the start, however Lloyd was able to partake later on in the race.

It was Turkington who got the best start, despite being some distance behind his start marker, and quickly created a gap. At the end of lap one Jack Goff was in second with Austin third, Ingram fourth and Shedden fifth. Race 2 winner Collard, Moffat, Sutton, Morgan and Smith rounded out the top 10.

Lap 3 and Ingram was again on the move, overtaking Austin for third at the complex as Austin fell back and quickly found Shedden’s Honda on his tail. Shedden found it tricky to find a way past, as Austin defended excellently, however on lap 8, again at the Complex, Shedden was through.

The order at the front remained mainly unchanged throughout however behind there were constant changes for position as Matt Neal stormed through the field from 29th on the grid through to tenth by the end of the race. This was aided slightly by a spin at Noble for Jeff Smith who was avoided well by the likes of Chilton and Mat Jackson.

Ashley Sutton made his way past Collard for sixth on lap 13 however other than that the top 10 remained the same until the end which meant Colin Turkington became only the second driver to win two races this season. This victory was also BMW’s 100th in the BTCC. Championship leader Tom Ingram finished second with Jack Goff third and Gordon Shedden fourth. Rob Austin held off Sutton well to finish fifth with the Subaru driver sixth. Collard, Moffat, Morgan and Neal rounded out the top 10.

80 Tom Ingram 131
52 Gordon Shedden   113
4 Colin Turkington   111
5 Rob Collard   103
33 Adam Morgan   96
31 Jack Goff   89
25 Matt Neal   73
116 Ashley Sutton   62
11 Rob Austin 59
16 Aiden Moffat   51
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