BTCC: Neal, Collard and Turkington winners at Thruxton
Matt Neal (Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic), Rob Collard (West Surrey Racing, BMW 125i M Sport) and Colin Turkington (WSR, BMW) are the winners of three races at the Thruxton Circuit, in the third round of the 2017 British Touring Car Championship.
After starting from pole, Matt Neal won the first race, achieving his 60th BTCC win in a career. The second race was red-flagged two times and only six laps were run effectively before Rob Collard scored his 14th BTCC win in a career. Colin Turkington’s win in the third race is his 43rd in a career but also the 100th BTCC win for BMW.
60th BTCC win for Matt Neal
After being the fastest qualifier on Saturday, Matt Neal showed the faultless performance in the first race on Sunday to score lights-to-flag victory, his 60th in the BTCC career. With sixty BTCC victories Neal steps next to legendary Andy Rouse, who also collected sixty wins in his reach career. Only better than them is Jason Plato with 95 wins.
Halfords Yuasa Racing had multiple reasons to celebrate as Gordon Shedden finished in the second place. After sixteen laps, Eurotech Racing’s Jack Goff crossed the finish line in the third place, making it a dominant 1-2-3 for Honda machinery.
There was lots of wheel-to-wheel duels in the lower half of the top ten. At the end, Tom Ingram was fourth, followed by Adam Morgan, Ash Sutton, Colin Turkington, Mat Jackson, Rob Austin and Rob Collard.
Collard progressed from tenth to win
As the tenth-place finisher in the first race, Rob Collard became a hero in the second race, claiming a victory after two fantastic starts. At the start of the race, he surged from tenth up to sixth before the race had been red flagged, following a high speed accident involving Senna Proctor’s Vauxhall and the two MGs of Aron Taylor-Smith and Daniel Lloyd. Fortunately, the three drivers were unharmed but the the Armco barrier required significant repair.
At the restart, Collard was again quick and he jumped from sixth to third, with two factory Hondas ahead of him. Collard then attacked Shedden for P2. In the same time, Neal suffered a steering problem and dropped down the field, giving a lead to BMW driver.
The new big accident caused another interruption. Team Shredded Wheat Racing’s Ford Focus of Martin Depper ran off at Goodwood and speared across the track into the tyre wall, leaving debris. The race was red-flagged immediately, with Collard claiming his first win of the season and the first ever win at Thruxton.
Turkington cruises to 43rd BTCC win
Colin Turkington converted his pole position into 43rd BTCC victory in a career, cruising for 16 laps around the 2.36-mile circuit and crossing the finish line 2.576 seconds ahead of Tom Ingram. Jack Goff scored one more podium at Thruxton, finishing in the third place.
Behind Turkington’s back, there were many battles inside the top 10. Rob Austin started from P2 but lost three position until the end, finishing in the fifth place behind Gordon Shedden. Ash Sutton finished sixth, followed by Rob Collard, Aiden Moffat and Adam Morgan. Matt Neal made a huge progress, after starting from back of the field, finishing in the tenth place.
After nine races in 2017, Tom Ingram is in the championship lead with 131 points. Defending champion Gordon Shedden is second, with 114 points on his account, two more than Colin Turkington.
The next BTCC round is scheduled for May 20-21 at Oulton Park.