BTCC: Ingram, Shedden, Jordan winners at Brands Hatch
Tom Ingram (Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis), Gordon Shedden (Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R) and Andrew Jordan (WSR Pirtek Racing, BMW 125i M Sport) are the winners of three races at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in the season-opening round of the 2017 British Touring Car Championship.
All three races winners are on the top of the championship standings after the opening round. Gordon Shedden leads with 48 points on his account. Tom Ingram has 42, one more than Andrew Jordan. Adam Morgan (39 points) and Rob Collard (36) complete the Top 5.
Maiden pole for Jeff Smith, third win for Tom Ingram
A day before the races, Jeff Smith (Eurotech Racing, Honda Civic Type R) sensationally took his maiden BTCC pole position in a tricky, damp conditions at Brands Hatch. Tom Ingram was the second-fastest with his Toyota Avensis, ahead of two more Honda drivers Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal. Fifth-placed qualifier was Colin Turkington (West Surrey Racing. BMW 125i M Sport).
Ingram took the lead from Smith immediatelly after the start. Shedden was following them. Behind his back, two former champions collided. Matt Neal was defending his fourth place against Colin Turkington but the contact damaged both cars and forced them to retirement. The Safety Car was deployed after that accident.
After a restart, Jeff Smith lost two more position, being overtaken by Gordon Shedden and Adam Morgan. Ingram, Shedden and Morgan stayed in front until the end, climbing to the first podium of the 2017 BTCC season. In the mid-race, the pole sitter Smith was forced to retire with a mechanical issue. Rob Collard and Rob Austin completed the Top 5 in the first 27-lap race.
46th BTCC victory for Gordon Shedden
Defending BTCC champion Gordon Shedden grabbed a victory in the Race 2 at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, marked by several accidents. The first major crash happened at the start-finish line when Jason Plato’s Subaru Levorg hit the pitwall. Badly damaged car blocked the track and the race was red-flagged.
Tom Ingram didn’t manage to defend his lead in the ballast-laden Avensis so Gordon Shedden became the leader on Lap 2 and stayed there until the checkered flag. Behind Ingram’s back, there was a four-car battle between Rob Austin, Andrew Jordan, Rob Collard and Adam Morgan.
Two separate accidents with six cars included forced a Safety Car deployment. After the restart, Rob Collard was in a pursuit after Ingram. The experienced WSR driver finally nudged Ingram through Paddock Hill on lap 20, earning the first podium of the season for BMW factory team.
Rob Austin (Handy Motorsport, Toyota Avensis) finished fourth but he was excluded after the race because of contact with Andrew Jordan’s BMW. That exclusion determined a reverse grid for the Race 3. A lottery draw said that 8th-placed driver would be on pole. First, it was Josh Cook, but after Austin’s exclusion, Tom Chilton became a pole sitter.
Victory for Andrew Jordan after a superb start
Andrew Jordan scored his 17th BTCC win of a career and the first win with BMW after a superb start in Race 3. He was third on the grid, behind Tom Chilton and Josh Cook in he first row, but quick start propelled him into the lead before the first turn. After that, he stayed in front until the end, being under the attacks of WSR teammate Colin Turkington in the last few laps.
After crashing out in Race 1, Turkington made a heroic progress both in Race 2 and Race 3. From the back of the field, he came to 1oth in the second race and then progressed to the podium in the final race of the day. Tom Chilton earned the first podium for Vauxhall after manufacturer’s return to the BTCC.