24 June 2007
Round 14: Turkington holds off Giovanardi - just.
Colin Turkington took his second win of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in round 14 at Oulton Park, but only after fending off Fabrizio Giovanardi in a drag race to the line.
The Team RAC BMW took the flag just 0.046secs ahead of the Vectra as the pair charged out of Deer Leap at the conclusion of a race that had been run heavily behind the Safety Car following two separate incidents in the opening laps - with the wet conditions catching out a number of drivers.
A stunning start from both Turkington and Mat Jackson – making full use of the rear-wheel drive prowess of the BMW - saw them holding first and second going into Old Hall – but behind there was chaos as four cars went off heavily into the tyre wall. A quick starting Dave Pinkney seemed to tag Simon Blanckley, with the result that the Alfa Romeo was turned right into the side of both Erkut and Jason Hughes. Blanckley went off to the left and ended up in the barriers on the side of the pit straight, but the other three went straight on into the tyres, Pinkney's car suffering heavy damage to both front and rear, with Hughes' MG hitting the tyres heavily backwards. Erkut went in head-on but his car seemed – on looks at least – to be better off than the other two.
Before the cars got round to the Safety Car, pole sitter Gordon Shedden was in trouble after contact with Tom Chilton at the hairpin forced him to retire, Chilton pitting with a puncture and dropping to the back of the field, while Tom Onslow-Cole went wide at Cascades but managed to miss the wall this time around and rejoined at the back of the field. Martyn Bell also had a spin at Knickerbrook after being tagged by the Lexus of Chris Stockton but he too was able to continue.
Behind the Safety Car, Turkington led the race from Fabrizio Giovanardi and Matt Neal, with Jackson having dropped back to fourth ahead of Mike Jordan and Jason Plato, with the race not getting back underway until lap eight – although it wasn't for long as the Safety Car was back out straightaway – this time when Gareth Howell ran wide at Old Hall and slammed into the barrier.
Before the field came back around there were some changes in the field, with Stockton making contact with Turner at Knickerbrook and Jordan taking fourth from Jackson at Lodge. The race resumed on lap eleven, but within a lap there was more trouble as Tom Chilton had a wild spin at Cascades and Jackson wide at the Hairpin – with both drivers dropping down the order as a result, Jackson down to sixth and Chilton out of the points. By the end of the lap, Jordan was into third after diving past Neal at Lodge and then set about chasing down the two cars ahead, while Chris Stockton dropped down the order and out of the points.
Giovanardi was doing his best to find a way past Turkington, having a look at Lodge on the penultimate lap, and on the final lap, the Italian looked down the inside into the final corner. Cutting back inside, it became a drag to the finish line – with Turkington crossing the line just 0.046secs ahead of the Vectra for his second win in as many race meetings. Jordan took third ahead of Neal and Jason Plato – the SEAT man seeing the gap to Giovanardi in the title race increase to twelve points as a result. Jackson was sixth ahead of Turner and Adam Jones, with the final points going to a recovering Chilton and Matt Allison, Onslow-Cole slowing on the final lap when the throttle cable on his BMW snapped while dicing with Chilton. The rookie would also slip behind John George and Stockton on the run to the line, with Bell, Fiona Leggate, Rick Kerry and Jim Pocklington completing the finishers.
With the top eight reversed for the final race, Adam Jones in the Team Aircool SEAT will start from pole.
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