Brands Hatch BTCC penultimate round
The penultimate round in the 2011 BTCC calendar took place at the legendary Brands Hatch GP circuit, the weekends racing was full of tense racing moments with highs and lows for all Scorpion sponsored teams and drivers.
A superb one two in the final race of the day from Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden secured both the Manufacturers/Constructors and the HiQ Teams trophies for The Honda Racing team.
The first race of the day for the Honda's ended in a slight dissappointment with both drivers puncturing tyres and in the second only managing a 7th and 8th place finish. Race 3 was where it all came good for the Honda's, a fantastic race by both Honda drivers saw Matt and Gordon finish on the top 2 steps of the podium. The 6th victory of the season for Neal puts him 5 points clear of team mate shedden who is joint second with Plato going into the final round at Silverstone on 15/16th October.
Despite a difficult weekend for STR the team have shown that they are more than capable of running at the top level of BTCC.
For the first race Tom started in 11th quickly gaining 10th place from the line, but losing it to Collard on the first corner. The second lap saw Tom regain the 10th spot which he held onto for the next 8 laps until the unfortunate retirements of the 2 Honda's gifted him an 8th place. Boardman then defended hard against Collard, until the final lap where a disasterous front left puncture meant he had to retire. A below par qualifying session saw Dave Newsham starting back in 21st for his first race, however an electrifying start saw him up to 18th off the line and up to 16th by the end of lap 2. On lap 9 Dave's fortunes were about to turn, with black smoke pouring from under the bonnet he was foced to pull up and retire from the race the cause of the smoke was found to be a damaged heatshield.
Race 2 saw Tom start from 23rd, another flying start saw him taking 9 places over the first lap and began putting pressure on Caine before taking his 13th spot on lap 4. With Collard pitting and Macdowell retiring on the 10th Tom was up to 11th which is where he would finish the race just missing out on the reverse grid draw. The STR team of mechanics had worked feverishly right up to the last second to get Dave Newsham's car ready for race 2 and Dave did the guys proud. Starting in 26th he passed an astounding 8 cars by the 2nd lap and was now in 16th place. By lap 12 his tyres had worn and he slipped 2 places but managed to rescue 1 and finished 17th.
The 3rd race saw Tom starting 11th, and overtaking Plato on the second and then doing the same to Onslow-Cole. Lap 10 saw Boardmans Seat Leon up into 7th place, then with 3 laps to go his race was very nearly cut short when Andy Neate swerved back on to the track causing Tom to take some evasive action, in doing so he lost 2 places and finished 9th. Dave Newsham was determined to improve things in the 3rd race, scything through the field from the word go, Newsham managed to finish a well respectable 12th.
Airwaves Racing were celebrating a return to form with 2 podiums and a top 10 finish for Mat Jackson. Strong performances across all 3 races see's the Wrotham based outfit back in contention for the drivers title.
Race 1 saw Mat Jackson leap into 5th place from his starting 7th. Jackson continued to battle for places until Matt Neal caused him to take evasive action which actually led to him taking the 3rd place behind Macdowell. A last minute lunge on the Silverline Chevrolet saw Jackson take 2nd spot and a deserved podium finish. BTCC rookie Michael Caine pulled out all the stops and managed to finish in 12th place despite a dreadful start where he dropped back to 22nd after getting his boots caught up in his pedals. Liam Griffin was also able to make up a large amount of places and claw his way to an impressive 16th place finish.
Race 2 found Jackson finish on the 2nd podium step for the 2nd time. Fending off his rival Tom Onslow-Cole he held on to his starting position. Caine and Griffin also put in equally stirling performances finishing in 12th and 19th place respectively. Both showing encouraging pace and skill.
Race 3 found the reverse grid draw going against the Airwaves team and dumping Jackson back into 9th place for the start. The Focus of Jackson produced a flawless start again and he soon found himself in 5th place where he amnaged to stay for the remainder of the race bringing in valuable points to his title bid. Caine and Griffin also managed to avoid the midfield shenanigens and benefitted in part by a number of retirements managed 15th and 18th place finishes.
- Matt Neal - 225pts
- Gordon Shedden - 220pts
- Jason Plato - 220pts
Top of the team championship table is the Scorpion sponsored Honda Racing team:
- Honda Racing - 406pts
- Silverline Chevrolet - 273pts
- Airwaves - 183pts
The next round for all 3 Scorpion sponsored teams is on the 16th October when the BTCC comes to Silverstone.