BTCC

Turkington narrowly closes gap to Sutton at Silverstone

The 2017 British Touring Car Championship title fight will go down to the wire after a chaotic meeting at Silverstone. Championship contender Colin Turkington narrowly closed the gap to leader Ashley Sutton, despite a collision in race three knocking him out of the points.

Tom Ingram, Jack Goff, and Matt Neal all took wins in the penultimate round of the championship.

The opening race ended early after Rob Collard was sent spinning across the track. The BMW was hit by Aron Taylor-Smith and Collard lost control of the steering. He was sent across the track into the path of Will Burns, who was pushed into Andy Jordan.

There was severe damage to Collard’s car, ruling him out of the rest of the weekend, whilst Burns was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs. Jordan’s car was damaged, but Team West Surrey Racing managed to repair it for race two.

Ingram was leading when the safety car came out after passing pole-sitter Jack Goff at the start of the race. The race was not restarted, and Ingram claimed his fourth win of the season. Goff, who was under pressure from Adam Morgan just before the incident, finished second, with the Mercedes completing the podium.

Turkington and Sutton both battled up through the order to finish fourth and fifth, whilst Gordon Shedden could only manage 11th.

Turkington and Sutton continued their battle forward in race two, this time with the Mercedes of Morgan involved. Turkington managed to pass Morgan early in the race, but Sutton found it hard to follow his title rival. Slowly, most of the field joined the back of the fight for third but Turkington was eventually able to pull away to challenge Ingram in second.

Whilst Turkington was trying to take second, Sutton finally found a way past Morgan, leaving the Mercedes to battle with Rob Austin, and he quickly set about chasing the BMW. In the closing stages of the race, he found a way past, pushing Turkington as he moved into the podium position. He was later handed a penalty for the move and would have to start race three from the back of the grid, it being the third incident this season.

Goff claimed the victory, his first this year, ahead of Ingram and Turkington. Austin managed to pass Morgan to take fifth, whilst Shedden took seventh.

It put Shedden third in the reverse grid draw, with only the returning Rob Huff and Dave Newsham ahead of him. But he fell backwards on the opening lap after making contact with Rob Austin and later span to finish outside the points in 21st.

The opening lap was no better for Colin Turkington, who needed to take advantage of Sutton’s penalty to close the championship gap. He moved into fourth before a big slide sent him plummeting down the order and out of the points. Things went from bad to worse when he was wiped out of the race in a multi-car incident involving Jason Plato and Stephen Jelley.

Turkington managed to return to the pits and get back out on track, but he was the final man to cross the line, finishing 22nd.

 

Matt Neal was ninth when the safety car came out, but he quickly worked his way forward in the second part of the race, benefiting from his team-mate’s misfortune. He past Rob Huff – who had led for most of the race – in the closing laps and tried to pull away from the rest of the field. He finished just seven tenths of a second ahead of Huff.

Newsham took the final podium position ahead of the battling Ingram and Austin.

After starting at the back of the grid, a quiet race allowed Sutton to move up to 11th, into the points.

He heads to Brands Hatch just 10 points ahead of Turkington. Shedden is mathematically still in the title fight but is 66 points behind Sutton heading into the final round.

Feature image credit: Caroline Rhea

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