Colin Turkington took the spoils in round 24 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch, as Fabrizio Giovanardi
took further points off championship leader Jason Plato.
Turkington made the most of a coming together between Giovanardi and Mike Jordan
mid-way through the race to secure his third win of the campaign, although fourth for Giovanardi – one place ahead of Plato – means the Italian has closed to within four points of the SEAT man heading to the penultimate meeting of the season at Knockhill in a fortnights time.
When the race kicked off, a fine start from Jordan saw him lead the way into Paddock Hill for the first time, with Giovanardi settling in behind in second place as pole man Adam Jones
failed to get away well. However, while Giovanardi quickly jumped up towards the front, Plato had been hung out to dry on the outside of the first corner and ended lap one down in sixth, behind Jordan, Giovanardi, Turkington, Mat Jackson
and Jones. However, by the end of the opening lap, the Safety Car was on track, with Fiona Leggate going off at Paddock Hill Bend having started from the pit lane.
When the Safety Car period came to an end, positions were quickly changing with Gordon Shedden
moving ahead of Plato – and the points leader then dropping further back when he slipped behind Gavin Smith and Tom Onslow-Cole
on lap seven.
Out front, Jordan was holding a comfortable lead from Giovanardi and Turkington, who were busy fighting for second, but an uncharacteristic mistake from the Italian robbed Jordan of a first win of the season on lap twelve. Busy trying to fend off the challenge of the BMW behind, Giovanardi missed his braking point into Paddock Hill Bend and hit the Honda Integra. For a second it looked like both drivers would escape relatively unscathed but Jordan was unable to control his spin and went off onto the inside of the circuit. Giovanardi however produced the mother of all saves to somehow keep his Vectra going – only slipping to fourth despite a lurid slide across the circuit.
That allowed Turkington through into the lead from Jackson and Shedden, with Giovanardi fourth from Jones and Onslow-Cole – who were embroiled in a frantic battle for fifth place. On lap 14, Onslow-Cole went fifth at Paddock Hill only for Jones to retake the place at Druids. A lap later, Onslow-Cole went for fifth again, this time at Druids, but once again Jones battled back on the run down to Graham Hill Bend.
The constant fighting between the two youngsters had allowed Smith, Plato and Turner to close in, and it meant the three SEATs were well placed should the battle ahead end in tears – and that's what happened on lap 25.
On the previous lap, Onslow-Cole had gone fifth into Surtees but then Jones battled back into fifth going into Paddock Hill. Jones then tried to retake the place at Graham Hill Bend but contact between the BMW and the SEAT saw Jones launched into the air, collecting Turner as he came back to ground. While all that was going on meanwhile, Plato had sneaked through into fifth place, with Onslow-Cole sixth and Smith seventh – both Turner and Jones having retired.
Out front though, Turkington was unchallenged on his run to a third win of the season, with Jackson fading as the race went on to due exhaust fumes leaking into the car, and slipping to third behind Shedden. Jackson was unable to make it onto the podium at the end of the day, being replaced by his dad instead.
Giovanardi took fourth ahead of Plato, with Onslow-Cole competing the top six. Smith, Jordan, Chilton and John George
rounded out the points finishers at the end of a difficult race day, with a number of teams now set to miss the next rounds in Scotland as a result.
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